San Francisco: A Map of Perceptions

In San Francisco: A Map of Perceptions, the architect Andrea Ponsi unravels the multifaceted beauty of our city, introducing even those who have lived there for years to details many of us may have missed. Ponsi, a native of Florence who resided in San Francisco in quieter days, lyrically describes everyday life here as it still exists.

The small sketches and water colors are marvelous, but the writing is wonderful, too.  A series of epigrams characterize this enchanting work.

Here’s Ponsi’s concluding observation on “Foghorn”:

A repeated, slow cry, almost the lament of a desperate animal, a dark, dene, deep, dragged-out sound. Then silence. The cry once again. It is an immense ship crossing through the fog on the bay. A giant that goes its way unseen, after the ocean, heading for port.

The author also praises two of our favorite North Beach bookstores: City Lights and William Stout.

There is no bitterness or rancor in the book, but Ponsi does strikes a sad note when discussing the proliferation of high rises South of Market, and the explosive commercial growth transforming all of the city’s neighborhoods.