De Young Museum 2007

Architect's Statement

Dante Bini's Statement

Art, in all its forms, is the highest expression of man's immortal intellect and culture. I wish to portray Art as dramatically rising above Materialism not to defeat it, but to complement it.

Since the purpose of the new museum will be to showcase American Art, I am going to dramatically express two different powerful coexisting forces: The American Art and the American Materialism.

Art, Culture and, in essence, Humanity will be Architecturally represented by a shining, simple, pure, and symbolic dome. Just like Athena, goddess of Wisdom and Arts who rises from the Head of Zeus, this symbol is dynamically erupting through the ground, to challenge materialism as represented by the crust of the earth in the middle of the seductive beauty of the Golden Gate Park.

I believe in truly innovative Contemporary Architecture, naturally blended in the surrounding environment. I believe that contemporary architecture should reflect modern technology and envision a design that potentially integrates CAD (Computer Aided Design), CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing), CIC (Computer Integrated Construction) and CAAC (Computer Aided Automation Construction) systems to achieve the best of all possible results.

As I have done with the modern visions represented by such projects as "Tower City" or "Kyoto for the XXIst Century", I visualize new shapes such as double-curvatures structures mathematically defined by finite elements and developed by well proven multi-integrated design systems.

I visualize Architecture automatically forged by construction technologies of the coming millennium, but already developed at the end of the XX century. These would include construction automation technique that use robotics to automatically produce efficient self shaping structures while minimizing waste.

I wish to utilize advanced material already proven efficient yet biologically "friendly" to the environment. I will simply adopt and adapt creative building systems which will capitalize on the technology and materials we have at our disposal today, avoiding unwarranted monstrosities built with technologies developed in and representative of previous centuries.

In envisioning a new architectural philosophy. In conceiving a new approach to the New De Young Museum, we must be genuinely original, innovative and bold. We must seek new interpretation of natural shapes. We must implement ecological policies and energy saving construction processes.

I believe that we should incorporate in our extraordinary project, new developments in construction automation; site robotics; demountable, modular, and flexible building systems.

We must consider creative solutions for automatic personal transportation systems.

We should investigate innovative service networks with management and maintenance computer-aided and robotically controlled.

Not only will such an approach bring international attention to the project, but it can also generate significant financial windfalls for firms eager to showcase their products in this very high profile project in one of the most popular Tourist attraction in the United States: San Francisco.

I have been on the cutting edge of construction technology since the beginning of my career. Because of my ongoing involvement in this field, both professionally and academically, I feel very qualified to select and utilize the technologies of the 21st Century for this project.

Further, because the 21st century is likely to present a general, continuous improvement in economic and social well being, together with an unprecedented lengthening of leisure time, for an aging population the project will necessitate a totally new style and approach to Art and to its portrayal. We must offer a gentle and easy environment, rich in serenity and happiness with simple mental access to rational, cultural, intellectual, psychological and spiritual images and symbols.

Concurrently we should attract to the Museum young people and students by creating a challenging, stimulant approach that de-emphasize the mundane or materialistic aspects of life and reinforces spiritualism and diversity in its multiple interactive expressions.

Searching for innovative solutions to current problems and creating breakthrough technologic leaps, is a recurring theme in architecture.

In 1417 the "Signoria di Firenze", the Municipal Government of Florence, launched the most challenging and financially rewarding Competition of the Renaissance. Their aim was to obtain the best possible ideas in "State of the Art Construction Technology" for one of the greatest project of history: The construction of the dome for the church of Santa Maria del Fiore. It was won by the celebrated Italian Master, Filippo Brunelleschi.

After having carefully studied the up-to-then unsurpassed dome of the masterpiece Pantheon built by "The Romans" 1500 years before his time, Brunelleschi dared to propose an un precedent, audacious, yet brilliant double-layered cupola. This gradually self-supporting structure was completed in a very short time without any scaffolding (a veritable technical revolution in construction).

Not only was "La Signoria" unprecedented in granting the biggest Competition of the year 1420 to a single architect, Filippo Brunelleschi but, after 500 years his fantastic dome, with its 38 m. in diameter, remains majestically standing as the second largest free-span structure produced in history and still represents "the Symbol of Florence". Such an artistic and technical achievement will for ever be a jewel in the history of architecture, in engineering design and in construction methods. With great cultural and practical benefit for the city of Florence, the dome of "Santa Maria del Fiore" is admired by millions and millions of visitors every year as one of the greatest marvels of the world.

Dante Bini's philosophical approach to architecture is very much the same of the one of Filippo Brunelleschi, but projected into the next millennium: Real innovation in Architectural Design, Engineering Science and Construction Methods, COMBINED!

Historical Comment (translation by by D.B.)

From : "The 10 Books of Architecture, book 1" by Marcus Vitruvius Pollionis

"In Ephesus, large and celebrated city in Greece, they say that the Ancients imposed a law which was hard, but not altogether unfair: an architect, appointed to design and construct a public building, at the very time of his official appointment, was requested by such a law, to guarantee in advance its cost and its ability to perform all functions for which he was designated and selected.

In order to fulfill his personal commitment, such an architect was requested to give all his assets to the city magistrate who would control and manage them up to the conclusion of the works. Only after the building was complete within the accepted budget, within the time limit and with total satisfaction of the city officials, would the responsible architect be granted back his assets, and would be generously awarded with money and honors"

And Marcus Vitruvius Pollionis, continues:

"Oh, if the immortal gods would have made such a law applicable to the Roman architects as well".