San Francisco

Pat Patterson

Norton residence, La Honda

Pat Patterson’s Giant Steps, 1978–80, nestles in a bowl-shaped hillside at the Norton residence in La Honda, 40 or 50 miles south of San Francisco. Just below the crest of a mountain ridge between the San Francisco Bay to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west, the architectural sculpture faces south, toward a panoramic view of the ocean. The site is breathtaking, and continuously in motion—winds at the top of the ridge sometimes reach a velocity of a hundred miles an hour. For an encore to spectacular sunsets, the valley below fills with cotton-candy puffs of fog. With the natural setting itself so completely overwhelming, it is rather an audacious act for an artist to place a sculpture here.

Since Patterson worked on the patrons’ nearby house, he had the time to become intimately familiar with the terrain. Decisions regarding the location, orientation, configuration, and materials of

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