January 27, 2012

Sorry Cardinal, But Let’s Hear It For The Blue And Gold...

Hallidie Building Historic

As we first reported in 2010, a structural observation of the Willis Polk designed Hallidie Building at 130 Sutter Street determined it was "just a matter of time before portions of the façade supported by [deteriorating steel brackets] will fall off of the building."

Hallidie Building Deterioration

A plan to rehabilitate the façade of the Hallidie Building and prevent its character-defining curtain wall from falling was approved eight months later, which includes a repainting.

While previous analysis and historic accounts had identified the original colors of the building to be Cal Blue and Gold, the Historic Preservation Commission requested additional investigation to determine the original scheme.

While the investigation determined that all decorative metals and balconies were originally gold leaf and only the curtain wall and ladders were blue, the proposed scheme differs slightly with blue for cornices and at the bottom of the balconies that were originally gold.

Hallidie Building Proposed Color Scheme

The proposed scheme "addresses current tastes and is similar to the scheme that has been associated with the building in recent history." And no, gold leaf will not be used.

Heads-Up Near The Hallidie Building (130 Sutter) [SocketSite]
Hallidie Building Color Investigation Report And Proposal [sfplanning.org]

First Published: January 27, 2012 4:45 PM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

The official Cal colors are Yale Blue and California Gold, not "Cal Blue and Gold."

Posted by: Mark at January 30, 2012 9:27 AM

Skimming the proposed project scope from Page & Turnbull it looks like a lot of replacement parts will be "in kind" which no doubt pleases the HPC. However there seems to be some sort of problem with the original design that allowed the steel components to corrode. I hope that the cause can be identified and a fix applied. Otherwise a similar rehab will be required down the road.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at January 30, 2012 9:30 AM

Gold leaf will not be used, but it won't be merely yellow. The visual effect will be metallic gold. "Gold gilding or similar will be used to replace the gold leaf."

Posted by: James at January 30, 2012 10:01 AM

It's weird they're not recreating the original ground floor.

Posted by: BobN at January 30, 2012 11:44 AM

^^^ I'm guessing that ground floor retail tenants usually want facade treatments consistent with their brand. The original historical facade is long gone as you can see from the above photo. Perhaps the HPC cannot require a building owner to recreate something that was gone so long ago.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at January 30, 2012 12:20 PM

When I was involved in the early 1990's restoration of the Sheraton Palace Hotel we decided to recreate some portions of ground level cast iron entrances and storefront that had gone missing in previous remodels.

Although you cannot visually see any difference today, the replacement portions were actually cast in aluminum. If you go in the main entrance on New Montgomery for example, one of those pairs of huge doors is only 20 years old.

Posted by: redseca2 at January 31, 2012 2:56 PM

Yes using a material less prone to corrosion like aluminum came to mind here. That would be a reasonable solution for decorative and other non load bearing members. In this building it looks like the steel framing is corroding (see second photo). If that were replaced with Al then the dimensions would change. Not a problem if the framing is hidden from view but we wouldn't want the fatter aluminum parts to be visible.

I'll bet that they can stick with ordinary steel so long as they can figure out the cause of the corrosion and fix that. Its probably some sort of moisture intrusion issue.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at January 31, 2012 3:44 PM

Post a comment


(required - will be published)


(required - will not be published, sold, or shared)


(optional - your "Posted by" name will link to this URL)

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)


Continue Perusing SocketSite:

« Quintessential Noe Valley (And Price Per Square Foot Trend) | HOME | Bay Area Home Sales Slow, Except In San Francisco »