March 3, 2009
Breaking Free Of The "San Francisco" Design
"San Francisco's architecture in the past has been defined by bay windows and Victorian woodwork. These days, the best work shares an attention to detail and an ability to triumph over the limits imposed by the real-world constraints of budget and bureaucracy."
∙ New faces start a welcome trend [SFGate]
∙ 1018-1020 Pine Street: Eight Contemporary
Condos Apartments [SocketSite]
∙ JustQuotes: What's/Who’s To Blame For “Bad” Building Design In SF? [SocketSite]
First Published: March 3, 2009 9:00 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
Having lived in several old victorians with lots of wood and bay windows I'd say 'mold' is the appropriate word.
Posted by: Rillion at March 3, 2009 9:36 AM
Posted by: Oceangoer at March 3, 2009 9:36 AM
Amen, I'm so sick of the unwarranted Victorian worship! While some historic designs are timeless, Victorians do not fall into this category. Onward and upward folks.
Posted by: scurvy at March 3, 2009 9:40 AM
I think it's Chic Looking...SF is full of BAD Victorians if anyone wants to live in one.
Posted by: samsoma at March 3, 2009 9:43 AM
this building is fugly. This is an example of good architecture? Yikes.
Posted by: anono at March 3, 2009 9:45 AM
I kind of like this building and think the direction it's going in blends in well with Edwardians and Victorians. I'd much rather have a modern building with wood, glass, and cement or stone instead of a Celebration, Florida style faux old-timey look. Those never quite look right and make it more, not less, like what people don't like about places like Los Angeles and Orlando.
On the flip side, I think the weird angled front of this building takes what could have been simple and neat into the land of fug.
Posted by: kthnxybe at March 3, 2009 9:47 AM
the craigslist posting:
Posted by: saylor at March 3, 2009 9:56 AM
This is on a pretty nasty section of Pine / no mans land.
Posted by: eddy at March 3, 2009 10:02 AM
It was cool in the seventies to tear down historic properties (in the name of progress) and build a bunch of grey, modern concrete boxes. This building looks like it could have been built in the seventies. Glad to see that "progress" means recycling bad ideas from thirty years ago...
Posted by: "Dave" at March 3, 2009 10:06 AM
It seems like most of the buildings mentioned in the article are metal mesh covered industrial buildings converted into office space. Some of them are kind of interesting, but it seems unfortunate that new construction is being forced to resemble the old when it could bring exciting new forms into the City.
Posted by: Mole Man at March 3, 2009 10:16 AM
The windows have a great rhythm, and the angled surface adds visual interest. I like it.
Posted by: flaneur at March 3, 2009 10:18 AM
The interior is far nicer than the exterior.
Posted by: Paul Hwang at March 3, 2009 10:55 AM
The ugliest buildings in the city are the ones built in the 70's. This building is so 70's that it will be a blight just like those. Shame on the city for approving this design. It's probably the same people who think the new Federal building is attrative.
Posted by: Money Man at March 3, 2009 11:18 AM
Yes, shame on the city for approving a modern green design like the Federal building.
Shame on the city for trying to move past the Summer of Love and all those great memories every resident has of living in a run down victorian getting high with Grateful Dead.
Shame on the city for look forward instead of always to the past.
Shame on the city for not freezing San Francisco in amber.
Shame Shame Shame
Posted by: badlydrawnbear at March 3, 2009 11:26 AM
LOL! Hey Money Man...I like the New Federal building too...And with building codes today we can't keep building the Ol'Victorians that buckeled and burn in the Big Quake! I don't think this looks 70's I believe it will age nicely. I'd love to see how some of you people live. I'm sure we'd all be SCARED!
Posted by: samsoma at March 3, 2009 11:27 AM
This is anything but the 70's. So much better than the usual design by pushy nimby/'pollute-cal' active committee members. The pattern of glass and the metal siding area great. The only thing Seventies is the concrete. I for one have had enough beige stucco building in San Francisco.
Posted by: sf-la at March 3, 2009 11:37 AM
What's so bad about the 70's? There was some good design going on then. I think this place is great, especially the concrete base, and the first thing that came to my mind were some of my favorite 70's buildings in Brazil and Paris.
Posted by: Jeff at March 3, 2009 12:03 PM
A very clever technique to distract focus from the two ugly buildings it is between.
Posted by: dogboy at March 3, 2009 12:07 PM
@ SamSOMA - they all live here w/ the Money Man - bleh!
Posted by: Sparks at March 3, 2009 12:48 PM
The entitlement and design of the Federal Building wasn't under the City's jurisdiction(thank God), it was under GSA, which is a federal agency.
Posted by: saylor at March 3, 2009 1:15 PM
@ dogboy- LOL!!!!!!!!!!anyone with a handle like Money Man...remeber what Halston said: "Wouldn't it be nice if one day we woke up and everyone with Taste had Money and everyone with Money had Taste!"
Posted by: samsoma at March 3, 2009 1:22 PM
@ Sparks; sorry that last post was directed to you. And I can't believe that anyone doesn't liket he way the Fed Building changes colors @ night...very cool! And Touche saylor!!!
Posted by: samsoma at March 3, 2009 1:42 PM
I must say the inside is much nice than the outside. I like the angle on the side of the bay windows from the living area.
My opinion of the whole modern architecture, which I like to call IKEA Architecture (I should trade mark the phrase), is that it's alright, although not incredibly visually appealing. My fear is that in 20 or 30 years, we will be looking at it (today’s modern architecture) in just the same way we look at 70’s and 60 architecture today.
I like historical architecture, it has staying power. I grew up in the East Coast and would take a Colonial or Victorian over a modern any day, because I know it 10 years it won't be out of style.
Posted by: Poor in Pac Heights at March 3, 2009 1:59 PM
So are folks arguing that *today* they'd build something that looked exactly like a Victorian? That just seems too conservative to me. I can see restoring what was already there, but if what was there was generally agreed upon as a poorly done version of whatever era of that time, then I'm all for trying something new.
Which leads me to this: I'm curious of examples of (wish a blog would show this) 'poorly done / poorly built' Victorians still around. For example, I've seen folks point to both good and bad 60s/70s design...but I don't hear the same when it comes to Victorians? But it can't be that every Victorian is 'well designed', right?
Posted by: DanRH at March 3, 2009 2:59 PM
Mondrian lives! The building exterior could be worse, much worse.
and now for the rant: Would it kill SF to incorporate the occasional curve in new construction? An arch, a parabola, or perhaps a wave form in a facade, window enclosure, or doorway?
Posted by: Delancey at March 3, 2009 2:59 PM
Posted by: Eric in SF at March 3, 2009 3:22 PM
You must be new to this site:
Posted by: flaneur at March 3, 2009 3:57 PM
And, not shown in the above link, there are even wave forms on the facade above the ground floor windows.
Posted by: flaneur at March 3, 2009 4:00 PM
Obviously, not everyone has the same opinions when it comes to architecture. However, some buildings are designed to be trendy and some are designed to be timeless. That black and blue glass and steel condo building has a life span of about 10 years and then it's an eyesore. I honestly belive that the Federal Building looks like a construction site with a big tarp pulled over it. Green can and should be beautiful.
Posted by: MoneyMan at March 3, 2009 6:04 PM
That photo is so photoshopped it is not even funny. I was by there today.
Posted by: alex at March 3, 2009 6:39 PM
I stumbled across this building while it was nearly finished being built and had to stop and look... it's really beautiful. it definitely has some'70s (poured concrete) and a victorian proportion (high ceilings). it's done so well. it's so rare that new buildings/designs in the city don't look cheap and thrown together... this one is great. (and i love victorians too). i don't know if the 70s were particularly a bad era for design... it's just that since maybe the 60s, the majority of buildings are pretty bad...
Posted by: hugh at March 3, 2009 6:51 PM
The interior is far nicer than the exterior.
Ummm, that should be easily achieved....
Posted by: Debtpocalypse at March 4, 2009 10:28 AM