Vaillancourt Fountain at Justin Herman Plaza and Four Embarcadero
Center has been widely reviled since it was built in 1971 by French-Canadian
sculptor Francois Vaillancourt. The late Herb
Caen said it looked like a pile of poop while others are content to
call it a mere eyesore. So harsh was public criticism that its embittered
creator was ridiculed out of town. Built on land cleared for the Embarcadero
Freeway and BART, the fountain is built on the site of former hotels and
bars in an area once well populated by seamen. When it's working, the fountain
releases thousands of gallons from its apertures, as seen in the inset photo.
Large square stepping stones allow a walk through the cluster of cubic plumbing,
enveloping the visitor in its roaring presence. An upper catwalk is equally
fun. Clearly Mister SF endorses the Vaillancourt Fountain in spite of its
industrial design. We can't put Corinthian columns on everything!
The inset photo also depicts the
fountain before the Embarcadero
Freeway behind it was razed following the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake.
Mister SF invites you to reconsider the Vaillancourt Fountain