May 25, 2010

The Era Of Their Ways…

A reader’s random (i.e., way off topic) question of the day:

Is there a specific era regarded as especially poor for condominium construction? I often hear "early 1980s, late 1970s", but is that really true across the board? And conversely, is there an era of nicer condominium construction?

Yes, any answer is likely to be painted with broad brush strokes and subjectivity. And no, no answer will ring true across the board with respect to quality.

Now if we were talking errors eras of aesthetics…

First Published: May 25, 2010 2:30 PM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

I'd like expand the term "condo" to "multi-unit-housing" (because I cannot tell by looking at a building whether it is rented apartments or owned condos).

Given that definition then for California I liked what was produced in the 1920s and 30s : those stucco vaguely Spanish styled buildings. The low point seems to have occurred in the late 60s through the 1970s when blank cheap boxes were somehow allowed. They even popped up in historic 1900s-ish neighborhoods to replace crumbling Victorians that fell into disrepair. You can see this today in many Victorian neighborhoods : 90% nicely detailed period single family houses, 10% 1970s era dumpy 2-4 unit apartment buildings.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at May 25, 2010 3:06 PM

Richmond [District] Specials.

Posted by: passerby at May 25, 2010 3:27 PM

I'd say the "box" era of the 60's and 70's. I guess back then such "architecture" was considered "the thing", but it's stood the test of time very very poorly in comparison to a lot of pre-wwii stuff.

Posted by: Amen Corner at May 25, 2010 3:31 PM

Stanley Saitowitz 1960s high rise on Green Street(this bldg created hts limit laws in SF)
The Richmond McTorians of the 1980's
the many central richmond remodels with excessive granite interior stairwells of the 1990's
Stucco exterior mclofts of the late 1990's
cell block H aka YBL on Folsom

Posted by: kathleen at May 25, 2010 4:06 PM

I agree completely with the comment re good quality structures in the 1920's; the cheapest structures (in my experience), are early post-WWII (late 40's, early 50's), as materials were scarce and expensive, and demand was great. I have lived in two buildings constructed during that era, and there was scarce use of insulation and limited structural material.

Posted by: Ken at May 25, 2010 6:25 PM

Since we're talking structural quality here... I've noticed that a lot of condos/townhouses that were built in the late 80s in Pac Heights have a host of problems: mold, dry rot, cheap plumbing that leaks... It seems like everything built from 85-90 is falling apart.

Posted by: Denis at May 25, 2010 7:06 PM

That's an easy one - anything completed in 2009 or 2010 was rushed like you wouldn't believe. No way in hell I'd buy a condo finished in the last year or two. Talk about cutting corners while you desperately try to get to market...

Posted by: Max Frost at May 25, 2010 7:57 PM

Dear Kathleen: You're probably referring to 999 Green Street aka The Summit, which was designed by Claude Oakland and built by Eichler in 1964- when Stanley Saitowitz was a mere boy in Johannesburg.


Posted by: Rocco at May 25, 2010 8:04 PM

The Summit was by built by Eichler! Thank you.I was wondering how old Stanley must be to still lbe cranking out his signature boxes with horizontal lines..

Posted by: kathleen at May 26, 2010 6:15 PM

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