185 Post (www.SocketSite.com)
“One of four honor awards for excellence in architecture handed out by the [American Institute of Architects] San Francisco chapter went to 185 Post St., a six-story box from 1955 that’s been turned from nondescript to knockout by Brand + Allen Architects. The firm’s design kept the masonry shell but wrapped it in a layer of fritted glass. From afar, the glass is an opaque screen; up close, it’s a skin-tight, see-through blouse.”
“[H]onor awards also went to the San Francisco Federal Building, by Morphosis with SmithGroup (maybe our next president will finally follow through on promises to make the upper-floor terrace open to the public), and two residential buildings: Tehama Grasshopper, a warehouse conversion, by Fougeron Architecture, topped by a chic glass penthouse; and Bridge House, by Stanley Saitowitz/Natoma Architects.”
Place: 185 Post St. among winning buildings [SFGate]
The Modern Makeover And Façade Of 185 Post [SocketSite]
Just Quotes: Let’s Hear It For (Or Against) The Feds [SocketSite]
San Francisco Living: Home Tours (A Chance To Comment In General) [SocketSite]
From JustQuotes To JustPhotos: The Aforementioned Bridge House [SocketSite]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by LP

    its a nice conservative well done renovation. takes no chances and makes a good background building.
    it is really to bad the city palnners chickened out as usual and pushed away the rem koolhass design for something innocous and safe.
    san francisco has the dullest new architecture of any city that has the “globel” statue everyone here prides themselves on.

  2. Posted by anon

    Breathtaking.

  3. Posted by ex SF-er

    I like this building. I can’t recall ever seeing a building like it before (masonry encased in glass).
    it’s original… what more can you want?

  4. Posted by zzzzzz

    I’m just happy to finally see this building put to productive use. It’s been sitting vacant and blighted for as long as I can remember even though it’s sitting on one of the most prominent retail corridors in the city.

  5. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    How will they clean the dust and residue that will form on the inside of the glass over the years ?

  6. Posted by Roy

    a magificent building. like a see through, opaque jewel. even more beutiful in person.

  7. Posted by Rudolf Lightcap

    Sure it is a beautiful building, but would you want to be a tenant in it? Given all the fuss about operable windows and reducing your dependency on HVAC, this glass-encased building seems to go the other way. But it is nice to see from the street.

  8. Posted by tipster

    Milkshake: it looks like the hole at the top right side of the front allows window washers to wash both sides of the glass. I assume they can lift off the panels and drop down and clean the inside.
    Adds 2X to the cost of window washing, and the while building needs to be washed instead of just the part of the building with windows on a normal building. but it’s a very pretty building at night. They have it lit up and it looks great.
    I heard that they are going to fill it with water and bring in sharks for Christmas to outdo the puppies at Macy’s.

  9. Posted by Mole Man

    Nifty! If done right a double skin can make building heating and cooling very efficient. Maybe they can take advantage of that later.

    Oddly enough my first reaction to this keeps coming back to me: The I Magnin building in Oakland is prettier. Maybe it is next? It might look good with a glass coat, or maybe some other modern renewal.

  10. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    tipster – with the caveat of not having seen this building in person, it looks to me as if the gap between the glass and original facade is just a few inches in most places : too narrow to clean by workers dropping in from the top.
    My guess is that the most practical way to clean the inside is to remove each panel one by one. That’s gotta be at least 20X as expensive as the normal window washing. Maybe they have some clever tools and jigs to make the work flow more efficiently.
    Even if cleaning the inside is very expensive, I’d guess that the inside surface only needs cleaning once every 5 years as opposed to the normal annual cleaning for the outside. So the net effect is a 4X cost of cleaning the exterior.

  11. Posted by The Malt of Happiness

    Milkshake and Tipster,
    The plan is not actually for sharks, but rather Chinese algae eaters and catfish, which will keep the windows nice and sparkling.

  12. Posted by sf

    Get out of your pajamas and take a walk and figure out for yourself how the building works and stop taking up my time with such asinine posts. You know who you are.

  13. Posted by flaneur

    I think the space between the masonry walls and the glass skin is sealed in all the solid wall areas: If you look carefully, you can see glass sticking out of the masonry window openings and touching the outer glass skin. Dirt should not be able to enter the sealed space anymore than it can enter the insulating layer in a double pane window. On the other hand, this limits the environmental advantage of the double skin…

  14. Posted by Serge

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this building. Probably one of the most gorgeous looking modern-esque buildings in FiDi.

  15. Posted by anon

    I love this building! It’s one of my favorite buildings in this (or any other) city. Well done, original, simple. Beautiful!

  16. Posted by Debtpocalypse

    I’d advise future tenants not to throw stones…..

  17. Posted by Geno Endicott

    I do love this building, but am still sad the OMA designed Prada store was never built.

  18. Posted by foo

    Come on now, this bldg is a bad copy of the dior store by SANAA in tokyo

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