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Reader Rants: Sounding Off On Saitowitz's Synagogue

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Curbed SF readers had a lot to say about Stanley Saitowitz's new synagogue in the Richmond, Temple Beth Shalom (a.k.a. "the inverse half pipe," a.k.a. "the bowl," a.k.a. ...) Your comments were both kind and optimistic: Some consider the design "urbane" and and "interesting addition to an otherwise boring-as-hell nabe." (Don't blame that "nabe" on us, people.) Others weren't so kind: " [The design is] inappropriate. To the insane members that were involved in tearing down a perfectly good temple with history and designing and building this horrible structure; you may consider seeking some professional help." Internet anonymity brings out the critic in all of us! It appears that Chron readers were just as passionate in their critiques— John "cheese grater" King comes to the defense of the building, which his readers have likened to a wheel of cheese" and, bizarrely, a "watermelon slice on top of a dish rack," citing the passionate arguments as proof of a successful design.

He backs his claim, successfully we think, with comparisons to the Transamerica Pyramid and a quote from well-known architectural theorists Charles Jencks' most recent book, Iconic Building: "A successful iconic building will always elicit a flurry of bizarre comparisons, a veritable blizzard of idiotic similes, an absolute snowstorm of ridiculous conceit." It's a resounding success then for the Richmond's newest skatepark house of worship, as long as you're willing to take the words of Mr. Jencks to heart. So what then, does that say about Don Fisher's CAMP proposal? We're guessing "glass box" isn't exactly evocative enough to earn the designation of "iconic building."
· Strong reactions indicate building's success [SF Gate]
· Rendering vs. Realty: Saitowitz's Temple Beth Shalom [Curbed SF]