cover image No Way to Build a Ballpark

No Way to Build a Ballpark

Chronicle Books, Allan Temko. Chronicle Books, $14.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-0296-3

With a colloquial voice and ethical sense, Pulitzer Prize-winning San Francisco Chronicle architecture critic Temko has offered careful, wide-ranging observations of Northern California for the past 30 years. Covering jails and churches, malls and hotels, museums and ballparks, this collection is a worthy, entertaining resource for architecture buffs and fans of the region. Temko's magazine essays are often elegant, while his newspaper columns suffer slightly from a profusion of one-sentence paragraphs. Still, Temko has engaged himself in ``this most insouciant of American cities'' and a great, growing region. He praises the John Hancock Building as ``a romantic creation for a romantic city,'' finds beauty in General Motors' ``megamachine'' factory and celebrates the Golden Gate Bridge as ``perhaps the most exhilarating architectural experience ordinary people will ever enjoy.'' He also links the aesthetic shortcomings of the Bay Area Rapid Transit stations to the system's technical failures, and laments the vulgar additions that have marred Stanford University's Olmsted-designed campus. Photos not seen by PW. (May)