Palace of Fine Arts : Michelin's recommendations
Ranking among San Francisco's best-known landmarks, this grand rotunda and peristyle were replicated from structures designed by renowned architect Bernard Maybeck to house art exhibits for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. The original building, designed to be impermanent, was framed in lath and chicken wire and covered with a plaster and burlap-fiber mixture called staff, its surface sprayed to resemble travertine. When the buildings of the fair were torn down to make way for residential development, aesthetically minded citizens lobbied to spare the Palace of Fine Arts. No efforts were made to strengthen the building, however, and it slowly disintegrated until a plan for restoration was made in 1962. Workers made casts of the columns, statuary and artistic details, and the building was entirely reconstructed in concrete and steel between 1964 and 1967.Maybeck's design was purely romantic in concept, inspired largely by the work of 18C engraver Giovanni Piranesi and The Isle of the Dead, a 19C painting depicting a royal tomb. The rotunda, 110ft high and 135ft across, is decorated with eight large panels carved in low relief. Angels look down from the interior of the dome; two of the original 14ft angels are preserved inside the Exploratorium. On clear, calm days, the large duck pond spreading from the foot of the rotunda reflects mirror images.