The story of the unbuilt magical social club that exists only on paper is typical of the 1920s: it involved oceanfront real estate, a private club seeking out the well-to-do and nouveau riche, beauty queens, suspect business machinations, a grand jury investigation, and an ultimate lack of funds for the oversized ambitions of everyone involved.
After realizing late in the day on September 26 that it was architect Tim Pflueger's birthday, I decided to walk within a short radius of my office downtown and photograph a few Pflueger buildings. The big reward while walking around on a lovely balmy evening was to see the newly renovated Telephone Building, now officially… Continue reading Happy Birthday Tim Pflueger, San Francisco still loves you!
There has been a lot of speculation about potential tenants for the Telephone Building since construction began in March on a major renovation project, which I wrote about in the Wall Street Journal. The $50 million-plus restoration and seismic retrofit of Timothy Pflueger's iconic Jazz Age skyscraper, which has been vacant for about six years, is underway. Owners Wilson Meany… Continue reading Lots going on at the Telephone Building
San Francisco's iconic Golden Gate Bridge will celebrate its 75th year in service next month. Big festivities are planned all over the city, including a "spectacular event" organized by the bridge authority for May 27 at Crissy Field. A special website has all the details for the upcoming Golden Gate Festival. This year, there will be no… Continue reading Golden Gate Bridge exhibit shows surprising influences
Let's face it. You can't really lug a serious book about architecture to the beach, or even on the bus. Typically they are either hefty, hardback tomes, made even heavier by glossy, full-color pages of photography of the work being discussed, or they can venture into dry, academic treatises that often aren't really fun to… Continue reading Some good architecture reads for spring
The Roaring 1920s in America were happy-go-lucky days of wild times, illegal speakeasies and dances like the Jitterbug and the Charleston. But fueling all that crazy joy was a stock market bubble that ended, as we know now, in the Great Depression. But before the market crash of 1929, most U.S. cities were seeing a huge… Continue reading Magnificent Deco apartment houses live on in SF
The King Tut exhibit at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park is not the only place in San Francisco you will find a penchant for all things Egyptian. The influence of that discovery in 1922 of the Egyptian boy pharaoh's tomb lives on today in many Art Deco buildings that have survived since the 1920s. Some fine examples can be found… Continue reading King Tut-mania lives on in San Francisco
The new rooftop sculpture garden at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has a treat in store for Timothy Pflueger fans. It offers a great view of the rear elevation of the Telephone Building, completed in 1925. That year was important both in the design world and as a defining moment of the Jazz Age: … Continue reading Rooftop with a view
San Francisco City Guides Downtown Deco Tour on October 18 will explore many skyscrapers in San Francisco's Financial District, including four buildings by architect Tim Pflueger. Meet at the Telephone Building, 140 New Montgomery, between Mission and Howard streets, at 11:00 am, Sunday, October 18. The tour is over mostly flat terrain and lasts about 90… Continue reading Come on a Downtown Deco tour!