Allan Bernard Temko
(1924-January 25, 2006) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning architectural critic
and writer based in San
City and raised in Weehawken, New
Jersey, Temko served as a U.S. Navy officer in
World War II, graduated from Columbia University in 1947, and
continued his graduate studies at the University of
California, Berkeley, and at the Sorbonne in Paris, France. He taught for several years in France and
produced a landmark book about the Cathedral of Notre
Dame, Notre Dame of Paris, in 1955.
wrote architectural criticism for the San Francisco Chronicle
1961 to 1993. He also taught city
planning and the social sciences at the University of
California, Berkeley and California State University,
Finnish-born architect Eero Saarinen's
untimely death in 1961, Temko published Eero Saarinen (1962), a critical
examination of Saarinen's most famous works from the General Motors
Technical Center to the Jefferson
National Expansion Memorial and its Gateway Arch (still in the planning stages at the time), as a
volume in George Braziller's
Makers of Contemporary Architecture series.
Temko was an activist critic who defended the urban character and
texture of San Francisco from, in his words, "a variety of
villains: real estate sharks, the construction industry and its
unions, venal politicians, bureaucrats, brutal highway engineers,
the automobile lobby, and -- in some ways worst of all --
incompetent architects and invertebrate planners who were wrecking
the Bay Area before our eyes." One of these villains, an architect named
Sandy Walker, famously sued Temko over
his 1978 description of Walker's Pier 39 project
which began, "Corn.
Kitsch. Schlock. Honky-tonk. Dreck.
Temko was instrumental in the removal of the Embarcadero Freeway
described the 1971 Armand
Fountain on the Embarcadero as a thing "deposited
by a concrete dog with square intestines."
He also made a comment about the Hayward City Center
in the early 1970s,
calling it a "toaster" (due to its appearance) and in a tone for
everyone to hate it.
Temko appears in Jack Kerouac
On the Road
as the character
"Roland Major". Temko also appeared in Kerouac's Book of Dreams
as Irving Minko and in
Visions of Cody
Temko was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism
died of apparent congestive heart failure at the Orinda
Convalescent Hospital in Orinda, California,