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Face Off: Presidio Preservationists Challenge CAMP

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We've felt this one coming on since the first mention of Don Fisher's planned Contemporary Art Museum of the Presidio, or CAMP (Still whimpering in pain over the acronym. You?) An army of historians and conservationists are suiting up for battle against the proposed 10 100,000 square foot building, to be designed by serious heavy-hitters Gluckman Mayner Architects— serious as in the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Dia Center for the Arts, and the Andy Warhol museum. That kind of serious (regardless of those buildings' respective critical receptions— ahem, Whitney). Preservationists' counter-proposal? The self-explanatory History Center at Golden Gate.

With more money than God and Paris Hilton's love child, Don Fisher wields much more power than the Presidio Historical Association, the underdog whose slog through a municipal and/or private funding process simply can't compete with the check Daddy Don will dash off. By law, The Presidio Trust is required to hold an "open" competition (please) between proposals before awarding the space; those opposing the project claim that the competition isn't— shocker— as democratic as it may seem.

A series of (token) hearings will be held over the next few weeks in order to arrive at a decision. Both sides provide compelling arguments: A potentially world class building statement could do service to San Francisco's perpetually ridiculed architectural scene (we have hope on that front, incidentally). It's footprint is huge though—5K more square feet than SFMOMA, actually—whereas the other project will occupy less real estate. Fisher's homage to his own ego collection is another post for a different blog, unfortunately, but preservationists also make a tight case for a need to honor our city's history.

Disclosure: we're a few days behind on this news— embarassingly so, as we've been following CAMP both locally and in the art world since it first crashed onto the news scene in August. However, Chron readers have gone bananas over this one; that comment box is well worth a visit; many have suggested other geographic points throughout the city. Contest: over. Curbed SF SWL 337 Planning Challenge: solved
· Presidio leaders consider art museum or history center [SF Gate]