I thought about this again this afternoon after instapapering up this interview with Renzo Piano about the museum projects he has worked on, and particularly this comment
All the buildings you mentioned—they “fly.” They are rooted, but they lift up, above the ground and that lets light to come under and inside and allow the ritual of the city life to merge with the ritual of the building life. By lifting the building, the ground floor becomes almost a continuation of the public realm. You leave space beneath it for life to happen.It reminded me of hearing, years ago, Dan Hill talk about the State Library of Queensland. Of course, the clemency of your climate plays a significant role in your ability to embrace the world, but there's a generosity there that I think is incredibly important.
(See also Dan Hill's follow-up work with SLQ and the way the environment was used, particularly in relation to the wi-fi availability.)