160 San Marcos: Rendering
The price ($695,000) is simply for the lot and plans (and perhaps the dream), but no approvals or permits. Design by Craig Steely (think 306 Mullen if you haven’t already).
160 San Marcos: Elevation
And if nothing else, it’s food for thought and fodder for conversation.
∙ Listing: 160 San Marcos Street (Lot) – $695,000 [MLS]
Modern Architecture Hits The Market Up On Mullen (306 Mullen) [SocketSite]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by sf

    I find it quite inspiring. It’s time for planning officials to start walking the talk and approve this and others like it. Phony victorian and bay window design is an insult to the classic architecture here, not a compliment.

  2. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Holy Sky Shoebox Batman ! Let the bashing begin …
    Actually I like it quite a lot, but wish I could come up with a snarky sci-fi movie reference to go with this one as well.
    How ’bout :
    “Are you the furniture ?”
    “No, I’m just staging.”

  3. Posted by missionite

    The garage looks like a San Jose office building.
    Other then that I love the creativity.
    But, never going to happen. Not this decade at least.

  4. Posted by vox


  5. Posted by location

    I like the angles and the general WTF factor. I was going to say that sun hitting the garage of mirrors will blind drivers and potentially the neighbors, but apparently it is in the avenues, so shouldn’t be an issue.

  6. Posted by WOTP

    Funny. Forest Hill is decidedly not part of the ‘Avenues’.
    Have any of you ever been to this part of the city ? Here is some history …
    Eyesore does not begin to describe what this place would do to the neighborhood.
    Can you tell I live in Forest Hill ? 🙂

  7. Posted by sparky

    I looked at this place when it first came up for sale. They have pulled it a bunch of times and keep dropping the price. Also, the permit is cancelled at the Building Department. So what are you buying?

  8. Posted by location

    I have not been to Forest Hill. In all seriousness, I was thinking about how annoying it would be to have a mirrored house across the street. When I quickly glanced at the map and saw it was near Taraval I decided to make a silly joke.
    Thanks for the link. It is interesting reading.

  9. Posted by sparky

    This is a big slope, no one looks at it from accross the street.

  10. Posted by San FronziScheme

    I can perfectly picture George Jetson pulling his Aerocar on the top of the garage.

  11. Posted by noearch

    as an architect I have to say..this is pretty lame. it’s the kind of design that just screams “look at me, I’m different and trendy…”
    I really hate this kind of Dwell crap that basically serves to feed the ego of the designer. don’t get me wrong..I’m not saying this building has to completely imitate and copy the neighborhood context, but geezzz man. a mirrored angled garage?
    what was he thinking?

  12. Posted by leisuresuit

    It looks like something I would have drawn up in 6th grade for myself to live in.

  13. Posted by Mole Man

    Cute, but this building seems wildly impractical. The huge window is going to have to be cleaned often because birds will fly into it constantly. Much of the building mass is way up above the garage and the street. To go this far and yet still be so boring. If someone wants this, then more power to them, but the plans seem more like some kind of design exercise than a great place to live.

  14. Posted by sanfrantim

    looks like one of those old polaroid cameras.

  15. Posted by bird_man

    mirrors or solar panels?

  16. Posted by Michael

    I find the current retaining wall and pink nightmare next door to be more of an eyesore than this!
    Did 200 San Marcos ever sell? Bet it was considered way too “modern” and out of context with the neighborhood when it was built as well.

  17. Posted by NoeNeighbor

    Well I am certainly glad I will never need to look at this. It seems to me that it should be possible to be modern and in context. This is just a weird shiny thing and not particularly practical.

  18. Posted by Spencer

    i like the design. anything would look better than that hideous pink building beside it

  19. Posted by fred

    200 San Marcos did sell recently for $1,250,000. I think it was originally listed at 1.6. Not a bad buy.

  20. Posted by ab

    Hey all,
    How do you feel about this area of SF? What district is it btw? (I don’t currently live in SF).
    If you could rank the neighborhoods in which you would live in, which would they be?

  21. Posted by hugh

    the lens flare on the garage… it’s perfectly in tune with my first thought: sun reflection. otherwise, bizarro. charmingly so. why don’t any new buildings have anything other than tiny windows that open?

  22. Posted by Jim

    Another excellent design by an excellent architect – this time in a fine neighborhood (other than the weather). For those people who love the drivel that usually gets built in this the most conservative of cites architecturally, please know it is possible to live in a house with comfortable spaces, fabulous light, and spatial excitement. If you have never been in one of Craig Steely’s houses, maybe you’re forgiven. But given the typical quality of so many San Francisco houses (rabbits’ warrens of small boxy rooms, dark dreary interior spaces, no connection with our magnificent environment) its time to open your eyes and open your minds. Conventional does not equal good; unconventional does not equal bad. The criticisms above are basically expressing a fear of the unconventional, not any real analysis of the environment created. Visit the site; study the plan; understand the spaces. It is the crap like the aforementioned pink-trimmed drivel next door that you should be railing against, not this house which stands up among the best in the neighborhood. BTW, I have no connection to the project, the seller, the architect.

  23. Posted by anong

    eerily reminicent of a Lawrence Scarpa design: http://www.pugh-scarpa.com/projects/vail.grant.residence
    i.e., the “floating boxes on a hill” look
    sorry Mr. Steely! I like yours too!

  24. Posted by noearch

    as a counterpoint comment: modernism can be good, it can be liveable, it can be sensitive to neighborhood context.
    I don’t feel this project achieves any of that. Steely’s houses are trendy looking Dwell Magazine clones..screaming for attention. they often have awkward interior spaces, disconnected from other spaces, narrow un-workable kitchens, and boxy rooms lacking human scale and detailing. the open space above the garage is more suited to LA or Palm Springs weather than ours. the glass covered garage wall is merely decoration, calling for attention.
    one more thing: since it appears this was designed for speculation only and not for “real” clients, it lacks the subtleties and real function that a house with clients would demand.

  25. Posted by wayne

    This is a totally impractical design and will neither be approved or built. FYI…. the garage door is oriented in the wrong direction and this garage would be impossible to enter as presently configured.

  26. Posted by wayne

    and another thing……Steelys own home at Beaver & Noe which has been published extensively lately is not weathering well and in fact is starting to look like crap.

  27. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    Forest Hill is a great neighborhood ab. It is one of the few in The City with trees and it has detached homes and (for San Francisco) large lots with uniquely architectural homes, mostly built in the 20’s. There is also a Muni station at the edge of the neighborhood, so it is a very quick commute downtown, and the West Portal neighborhood, with shops and restaurants, is within walking distance.
    I would live there, but I it is far too foggy for my wife. I honestly would probably get sick of the fog, too.

  28. Posted by Alex

    As an architect I find the blend of materials and especially proportions unfortunate.

  29. Posted by Salarywoman

    The angled garage does make an interesting sort of forecourt for the entry. I’m not familiar with the site so I can’t comment on how practical it is, but with a wide enough garage door it should be no different from a wall parallel to the street.
    The floating box is a nifty idea – but it has to really appear to float. This one has obvious ungainly supports that totally ruin the effect.
    The choice of materials can only be described as unfortunate. They add nothing to the project and actually detract from its considerable spatial interest.
    All in all it’s only half designed. It’s like the first version of a student project at the first crit. But it could be a nice project if some care and attention were put into it.

  30. Posted by resp

    “Included with this lot are plans for a stunning 2800 sq.ft. (approx.)4-BR/3.5-BA/2-car pkg contemporary home w/ elevator designed by renowned SF-based architect, Craig Steely. Sellers and Listing Agents do not guarantee approval of the plans.”
    – value? zero.

  31. Posted by sparky

    The fog of Forest Hill, West Portal is consistently exaggerated compared to other neibs. Then again every nice day someone tells you to enjoy the only nice day we’ll have all year throughout the city.
    You cannot drive into the driveway at this property it is a one way down hill the other direction. The car in the “photo” would be ticketed.

  32. Posted by missionite

    Thanks for the Scarpa link. I like those concepts a thousand times more then this one. Make that a million. Crap. Make it a billion.

  33. Posted by WOTP

    We moved to Forest Hill from Noe, so this nabe definitely has more fog.
    But what you do get here : clean roads, detached homes, a suburban feel within SF city limits, and incredible access via public transport to downtown – when the MUNI is on time, that is. 🙂

  34. Posted by Jim

    RE: the angle of the garage. Lets face it, unless you have one of those rare old houses with turntables in the garage, you have to either back in or back out. This garage has been designed to allow you to back in, and drive out into traffic. That’s what I do – its much safer. Especially on this lightly traveled street, you can control when you back into the garage and your front end swings out; and going out of the garage, you can see oncoming cars before 2/3 of your car is in the traffic lane.

  35. Posted by Tripp Knightly

    The pink surf shack can just get painted into anonymity plus it’s already there so it’s not really relevant.
    NFW this or anything remotely like it gets built here so no reason to get bent out of shape over some cheesy sketches.
    Forest Hill is as enchanted as the name implies. You have to drive around and get lost in it to appreciate it. Better yet, walk. And include the many very steep and long vintage hillside staircases interspersed throughout the neighborhood. You won’t believe this is in San Francisco… or that you didn’t know it existed. You’ll understand then that bizarre things like this really don’t belong in Forest Hill if they belong anywhere.

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