The Transbay Terminal Will be Missed

With the looming demolition of the Transbay Terminal approaching next month, one might expect to see the inevitable stories about the building's better days in the local press. Sadly, the Sunday piece by Carl Nolte in the San Francisco Chronicle does not do the building justice. Too many have judged the 1939 building's architectural merits by… Continue reading The Transbay Terminal Will be Missed

Searching for Louis Sullivan

Attendees of the American Institute of Architects convention last week in Miami were lucky enough to have a chance to see a new documentary on architect Louis Sullivan. The film, in the works since 2007, is called "Louis Sullivan: the Struggle for American Architecture." The film seeks to present Sullivan as "an artist who never felt completely comfortable… Continue reading Searching for Louis Sullivan

Happy Birthday Frank Lloyd Wright from SF

Today was the birthday of that great, my-way-or-the-highway American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. Born June 8, 1867, today marks the 143rd anniversary of his birth. As a little homage to the master today, I wandered over to 140 Maiden Lane, where one can find one of Wright's best-known works in the San Francisco Bay Area.… Continue reading Happy Birthday Frank Lloyd Wright from SF

A 21st century cathedral infused with light and history

The monumental Cathedral of Christ the Light has graced the shore of Lake Merritt in Oakland since September, 2008 but I only recently had a chance to visit. After hearing the name of the architect - Craig Hartman - two or three times in casual conversation in the last few months, it seemed like a… Continue reading A 21st century cathedral infused with light and history

Hibernia Bank dome graffiti-free again!

The owners of the once-stately Hibernia Bank building in the heart of the Tenderloin were dismayed to see the granite base of the dome defaced with a massive graffiti tag just a few months ago. See a photo of the big tag here. But the new owners, who, like the bank's original founders, hale from the old… Continue reading Hibernia Bank dome graffiti-free again!

Castro Theatre gets a fab exterior makeover

The Castro Theatre, architect Timothy Pflueger's first movie palace from 1922, is showing off a fabulous new exterior coat of paint. Now highlighted are the Spanish Baroque details of the exterior. A repaired hidden spotlight, when lit, illuminates the shell motif above the centerpiece mullioned window. Combined with the repairs in the late autumn of 2007 of the… Continue reading Castro Theatre gets a fab exterior makeover

El Rey Theatre blueprints show what’s missing

Architectural historians are like detectives, sleuthing to figure out what happened at the scene of a crime. They use old photos, blueprints, layers of paint and other materials beneath the surface of remodeled historic buildings, looking for clues of the original architect's intent. They also try and determine what travesties occurred in the name of modernization. So a recent discovery of… Continue reading El Rey Theatre blueprints show what’s missing

Neutra’s son helps raise money for VDL compound

Got a spare $2,500 lying around? You can buy a very cool black and white photograph of architect Richard Neutra taken by legendary architectural photographer Julius Shulman, at Neutra's then-radical home in Los Angeles in 1966.  The photo depicts Neutra, sitting on the terrace of his VDL Research Site, the home where Neutra and his family lived and where he worked… Continue reading Neutra’s son helps raise money for VDL compound

450 Sutter named to National Register of Historic Places

Miller & Pflueger's innovative skyscraper 450 Sutter was named to the National Register of Historic Places, as of last month. The stunning Mayan themed 26-story high rise building,  completed in 1929, was described in the application as a "masterwork" of noted San Francisco architect, Timothy Pflueger. The listing is on the National Parks Service Web site here.… Continue reading 450 Sutter named to National Register of Historic Places

It’s a two-fer: Modernism lectures and a Neutra

I recently stumbled upon a great lecture series on modernism in architecture, called "The Legacy of Modern" at the Los Altos Community Foundation. Not only are the lectures educational for anyone interested in archtecture and design, but the cost goes toward restoring a rare Richard Neutra house in the South Bay. I missed last month's lecture by Alan Hess, architect,… Continue reading It’s a two-fer: Modernism lectures and a Neutra