Calif. Academy of Sciences: False Entrance

The California Academy of Sciences building in San Francisco has two entrances. There’s the public entrance on northwest side, fronting on the museum concourse and facing the De Young Museum:

Academy entrance


On the opposite, southeast side, fronting Middle Drive, there’s another entrance, which is reached by crossing a pedestrian bridge:

academy staff entrance 1

A casual passerby — or someone who remembers the old Academy of Sciences building — might well assume that this is a public entrance as well. Everything about it says, “come in here.” 

Wrong. It’s for employees only. 

academy staff entrance closeup

I’m sure it’s pleasant for the staff to have a well-designed (hopefully), light-filled space in which to work, but to me this off-limits entry seems like a wasted opportunity to create another means for visitors to get into the museum. On busy days, when the lines snake around the front of the building, a second entrance would relieve congestion considerably. And this entrance is deceptive in its visual attractiveness: we pass by here frequently and observe visitors start down the pedestrian bridge and then turn back. 

You could enter the old Academy from both sides, so why not the new one?


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