A Missed Opportunity

Thank you for the article on the County Courthouse remodel project. Unfortunately, it underscores how Santa Barbara (this time the county) misses opportunities to live up to its once-deserved reputation for architectural and artistic innovation.

This years-long project will deface one of the city and county’s most photographed buildings. It is beautiful, historic architecture and is often contrasted with the nearby County Administration Building. The Administration Building claims all the attributes of our Andalusian-inspired style — white stucco, arches, red tile roof, iron window grilles, integrated sandstone, bracketed eaves — while the 1929 Courthouse truly defines the style with uncommon grace.

So, what is missing from the scaffolding and shrouding as it will cover parts of our iconic courthouse, perhaps until 2029? Many innovative and art-conscious cities — such as Venice, Amsterdam, Berlin, Vancouver BC, Noto IT, and Manchester UK — have chosen to wrap construction project scaffolding with murals that reflect the covered building or its surroundings. In those cities, the remarkable scaffold wraps become tourist attractions in themselves. Why not here in Santa Barbara? It could be a wonderful example of being bold while preserving the old.


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