Monday, August 31, 2009

San Diego's Santa Fe Depot

Public architecture performs a high-wire act on our nerves. When a public building is beautiful, it can lift our mood on a bad day. When I lived in Philadelphia, I walked through its magnificent City Hall almost every day. The building's grace and grandeur helped me feel wealthy. Sadly, when a public building is ugly, it can drive one to despair. 

While riding the coaster train with my son Max, we enjoyed snacks at the lovely Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego, California. Its architecture is influence by Spanish missions and the Mediterranean climate of San Diego. You can find out about the history of the building here

The interior looks very much like a church, and this association is reinforced by the Santa Fe Railroad's logo, a cross inside a circle. This symbol is repeated often in the details and the light fixtures.

The building retains a calm atmosphere, and also traces of history. I like to imagine the people who passed through this room in the early 20th Century. 

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