Chronological listing of 10 selected architectural works in the San Francisco Bay Area (1926-1931).
1925, Financial District, Pacific Gas and Electric Company,
245 Market St., San Francisco.
Bakewell and Brown.
An engaged colonnade with a giant order topped by freestanding urns is the climax of this imposing facade. Clad in terra cotta cast to mimic granite, the decorative detail is exceptional. The sculptural group by Edgar Walter over the entrance is particularly fine (Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 35).
Designed by John Bakewell Jr. and Arthur Brown Jr., the P G & E Building (8) next door [to the Matson Building] was completed in 1925 as the company's corporate headquarters. Construction occurred during a period of consolidation that made P G & E the largest power company in northern California. Bakewell and Brown were the city's most prominent neoclassical architects. Educated at the École des Beaux-Arts, they designed City Hall and the War Memorial Opera House and Veterans Building. The P G & E Building was obviously designed to complement the Matson Building. The divisions between base, columns, and capital are aligned, and the terra-cotta surface harmonizes with the Matson Building. Terra-cotta, favored by contractors, was used to clad both buildings because of its light weight and its proven ability to withstand fire. Gladding, McBean, the Bay Area's leading terra-cotta manufacturer, developed a tile called Granitex, which could be colored to look like stone--in this instance Sierra white granite--for the P G & E Building. The building is distinguished by magnificent lamps on either side of the door and sculptural work evoking California themes by Edgar Walter--the heads of bighorn sheep on the keysones of the base arcade, grizzly bears and their paws over the entrance.
The SP, Matson, and P G & E buildings present a striking contrast to the row of modernist office towers on the north side of Market, which were built during the height of Manhattanization in the 1980s (Wiley 2000: 158).
A major downtown landmark by virtue of its design, its location, and its history. Built for the Pacific Gas & Electric Company, it was enlarged in the style of the original by Frick, Weihe, and Kruse in 1949, and was connected to a modern highrise tower by Hertzka and Knowles in 1971. The building forms an imposing pair on Market Street with the old Matson Building next door, which terminates the view down Pine Street. In composition, the building is a three part vertical block with an attic story and a giant order in the upper zone. The giant order is surmounted by freestanding urns above the entablature. Other notable details include symbolic references to P. G. & E. in the sculptural group over the entrance by Edgar Walter and ram's head keystone masks over the ground level arcade. The deep foundation and advanced mechanical features of the steel frame, terra cotta clad structure were the subject of an article in the Architect and Engineer in 1925. A (Corbett and Hall 1979: 72).
1925, Financial District, Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Co.,
134-40 New Montgomery St., San Francisco.
Miller and Pflueger/A.A. Cantin; rest. 1990.
Eliel Saarinen's second-prize design for the Chicago Tribune Tower competition was the main inspiration for this influential skyscraper. Though the building appears as a stepped block from New Montgomery Street, it is a notched L from the southwest, contributing a welcome variety to the skyline. The eclectic but original ornament is well integrated into the building's form. The recent restoration included the recreation by sculptor Manuel Palos of the original 13-foot terra-cotta eagles that were removed from the top parapet in the 1950s. The black marble Moderne lobby is embellished with a stenciled ceiling a la Chinois and elaborate elevator doors (Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 25).
The city's first high-rise skyline, built before the earthquake and modest by present standards, had featured office buildings that were monuments to the personal fortunes accumulated by nineteenth-century San Franciscans. The postearthquake skyline became home to the new corporate San Francisco as many of the city's and the West's largest companies--the Southern Pacific, Standard Oil of California, the Bank of America, PG&E, the Matson Steamship Company, and Pacific Telephone and Telegraph (Pacific Bell's predecessor)--built new headquarters in the period between the earthquake and the Depression. With the city tilting steadily toward being a financial and service center for the regional and Pacific Rim economies, these new structures would house the growing ranks of white-collar workers (Wiley 2000: 65; 120).
One of San Francisco's finest skyscrapers of any period and one of only two illustrated in Francisco Jujica's 1929 History of the Skyscraper. Mujica wrote: "The Telephone Building of San Francisco marks the end of the preparatory and experimental stage in skyscraper architecture," in reference to its original and entirely ahistorical ornamentation, and its reliance on Eliel Saarinen's Tribune Tower Competition design as a precedent. Apart form its broader historical importance, the building has had tremendous influence locally. The Shell Building (F8), the Pacific National Bank Building (now demolished), and the old William Taylor Hotel (100 McAllister Street), all followed its lead as a gracefully stepping back tower. And many others followed as well in its inventive use of ornament and expression of verticality.
It is a steel frame building, originally planned in an E shape, but built as an F, and designed to be seen from all sides. The New Montgomery side appears quite massive, while the rear is broken up in wings, each suggesting the main facade at a smaller scale. The fine terra cotta ornamentation, speckled like granite, has the quality of Gothic detail at times but is entirely original in reference. The lobby is a superb example of Moderne design with black marble walls, fantastic "Chinese" stenciled ceilings, and bronze elevator doors. At the time it was built, it was the largest corporate office building on the Pacific Coast A (Corbett and Hall 1979: 107).
1925, East Bay, Phoebe A. Hearst Memorial Gym,
N. side Bancroft Way near College Ave., Berkeley
Bernard Maybeck and Julia Morgan.
Morgan planned the building and Maybeck created the romantic architectural elements. The building was intended to be part of a larger complex with an auditorium, art gallery, and museum that was never built (Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 209).
The only Maybeck buildings on the [University of California at Berkeley] campus now are the Men's Faculty Club, built before [John Galen] Howard's arrival, and the Hearst Memorial Gymnasium for Women; the gymnasium was designed by Maybeck in association with Julia Morgan, the architect of San Simeon, in 1927, the year [John Galen] Howard resigned (McCoy 1975: 6).
In 1927 Maybeck worked in association with Julia Morgan on the Hearst Memorial Gymnasium for Women, and in 1929 with Henry Gutterson on a Sunday School for the Christian Science Church (McCoy 1975: 54).
Hearst Memorial Gymnasium for Women, University of California, Berkeley, 1927, designed by Maybeck in association with Julia Morgan, a graduate of the Beaux Arts. The monumental building lacked the light airy touch of pergola or trellis, typical of Maybeck (McCoy 1975: 57).
Hearst authorized Maybeck to prepare a second set of preliminaries to include not only a gymnasium and auditorium, but also an art gallery and a museum that would house the extensive collections aleady in possession of the University from the Hearst family bequests. Maybeck designed buildings in the image of his Palace of Fine Arts and proposed a large domed auditorium placed near Strawberry Creek on the north-south axis of the Campinile esplanade. A women's gymnasium was located at the south as its forecourt; colonaded paths led to museums and art galleries to the east. The project stalled with delays created by Hearst's indecision as to whether he desired to construct the whole, or only a portion, or Maybeck's expanded proposal. In addition, Maybeck's delay in completing drawings of the scheme allowed Hearst's interest to cool substantially. But in 1925 the University administration secured agreement for the construction of the women's gymnasium. (Note 12: University of California, President's Report (1925).) In order to expedite the design drawings, Maybeck entered into an arrangement by which Julia Morgan would be responsible for the construction drawings and functional details while he concentrated on the overall planning and design.
The sympathetic action of the two designers created a building of romantic beauty. Like the Palace of Fine Arts, the Hearst Memorial Gymnasium (1925) is Beaux-Arts design as Maybeck knew and practiced it, blending exterior and interior space into a unified composition. A number of large exercise rooms are joined to create courtyards which shelter one major and two minor outdoor swimming pools. California Live Oak trees planted in sculpturally ornamented boxes on the main floor and in open wells at the ground level complement the blocky massing of the individual elements of the gymnasium. The main pool, whose marble decks become terraces and promenades surrounding the exercise rooms, is built above the ground level, bulwarked by service and locker facilities.
Maybeck used the Water Gardens at Nimes as a prototype and, for the first time in his work, details are copied from that design without the usual adaptation and restudy that enabled him to transform historical details into his personal ornamental patterns. The interior of the building is generously daylighted with skylights and glazed walls that surround planted courts. Natural concrete interior surfaces were ornamented by stenciled patterns introducing color accents into the exercise rooms. Utilitarian incandescent fixtures are both protected and enriched by a framework of woven and bent rattan. The large rooms are linked by smaller ones and all open to the exterior galleries which adjoin the pool decks (Cardwell 1977: 199).
The pool terraces were planned to also serve as promenades and outdoor lobbies for the auditorium of the original scheme (Cardwell 1977: 200).
It should be remembered that Maybeck designed his terraces not only as surfaces for everyday swimming areas but also as parts of a forecourt to the large auditorium which was to be sited directly to the north. The pool decks, connected with the principal floor of the auditorium planned to be one story above the natural grade level, would have then served as outdoor lobbies for the concert-goers. Whether or not funds would every have been provided to erect the grandiose auditorium is quite dubious, but the location of a student union building by John Galen Howard blocking the access to the auditorium site from the central campus made the completion of Maybeck's scheme improbable. (Note 13: the General Development Plan for the University of California adopted in 1956 under the leadership of W. W. Wurster not only re-introduced the concept of planning around open spaces as in the Bénard Plan but also included the general development of buildings for art and architecture in the area proposed by Maybeck.)(Cardwell 1977: 201).
The gymnasium, successfully relating interior and exterior spaces, was Beaux-Arts design as Maybeck knew it, and became a building of romantic beauty (Cardwell 1977: 202).
While Maybeck rendered his visions [for a gymnasium, an auditorium, an art gallery, and a museum to house the art and anthropological collections that Mrs. Hearst had given to the university over the years] in beautiful impressionistic pastel drawings on large sheets of brown paper, the university administration pursued its practical goals, and in 1925 Hearst provided funds for the women's gymnasium. For this project Maybeck collaborated with Julia Morgan, and the construction drawings were prepared in her office. When the building was completed in 1927, it bore the unmistakable imprint of Maybeck's romantic imagination in the great urns set about its base (as on the Palace of Fine Arts) and in the huge planters embellished with reliefs of dancing women on the pool terrace. Under Morgan's direction, the interior of the building was designed in a frankly functional way. Indeed, Maybeck was so disconnected from the interior planning that, according to one story, when Hearst asked him where the bathroom was at the dedication ceremony, Maybeck did not know.
Maybeck's attention had been focused on the grand ensemble of the art gallery's loggia and the museum in its landscaped setting. In his drawings these structures have the qualities of ruins. The gymnasium was just a fragment of this composition, intended by Maybeck to serve as the frontispiece for the auditorium, to which it would have been connected by its terraces and other promenades. Alas, the gymnasium remained a fragment. Whether Hearst was too preoccupied with his building campaigns at San Simeon or whether Maybeck dallied too long over the drawings and lost his patron's attention is a mystery. In any event, the rest of the complex was never built, and Maybeck never received another Hearst commission (Woodbridge and Barnes 1992: 87, 235).
1926, Financial District, Hunter-Dulin Building,
111 Sutter St., San Francisco.
Schultze and Weaver.
A combination of the Romanesque and Chateauesque Revival styles with the building's shaft a clear expression of the structural frame and the chateau on top more staid than picturesque. The array of decorative motifs ranges from medallions with wistful young women shouldering garlands, a belt cornice with squat eagles and ox heads, to the Neo-Norman arched entrance and the peseu-Medieval lobby. This free-wheeling approach to historicism typified this New York firm's work (Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 26).
Two of Downtown's most spectacular buildings are located in the 100 block of Sutter just west of Montgomery. The Hunter-Dulin Building (40) on the left at 111 Sutter was built on property whose ownership and inflated value tells much about the rise of the city's great fortunes. Originally owned by James Lick, the eccentric millionaire philanthropist, it passed into the hands of "Silver King" James Fair and then on to a company controlled by Rudolph Spreckels and James Duvall Phelan. The Los Angeles investment firm of Hunter, Dulin & Company bought the property in 1925 for a price estimated to have been well in excess of $1 million. Hunter, Dulin hired the New York firm of Schultze and Weaver to design an office building. (Leonard Schultze was chief of design for New York's Grand Central Terminal, and with his partner, Spencer Fullerton Weaver, designed a number of the most extravagant hotels built during the 1920s, including the Pierre, the Sherry Netherlands, and the Waldorf Astoria in New York and the Breakers in Palm Beach.) The Hunter-Dulin Building is a tripartite French Renaissance Revival structure clad with sand-colored Granitex on its primary façades and brick on the others. The shaft rises to an elaborate gabled mansard roof of terra-cotta tile with copper-coated cresting. The ornamentation is particularly elaborate, with flower and bird designs, medallions representing the four seasons, and the heads of men facing each other in some of the window alcoves. The building's most famous tenant was fictitious: Dashiell Hammett's detective, Sam Spade (Wiley 2000: 167).
One of downtown San Francisco's finest and most distinctive skyscrapers by the important New York firm of Schultze and Weaver, architects of such landmarks as the Waldorf Astoria, Sherry-Netherland, and Park Lane hotels in New York, the Los Angeles Biltmore, and the Miami Breakers. Earl Theodore Heitschmidt was the supervising architect. The building was originally built for a Los Angeles investment firm.
The three part vertical composition was detailed in what, by 1926, was considered a rather backward looking stylistic mix of Romanesque and French Chateau ornamentation. Nevertheless, it is an extremely fine version and this city's only example of the type. The base and main office shaft, clad in a particularly fine glazed terra cotta, is designed in a rather attenuated version of the Romanesque. Above this is a set-back continuation of the shaft crowned by a high, red, dormered mansard roof with copper cresting. It is this roof which is one of the richest features on the city's skyline. The giant ground level entrance arch leads into a richly detailed elevator lobby.
The steel frame was built on a reinforced concrete sheet piling system designed by the prominent local engineer, H. J. Brunnier. The foundation was laid by continuously pouring concrete for 44 hours, the object of which was to speed up construction by eliminating joints and delays between pours. The Architect and Engineer commented, "In the annals of construction a stupendous task has been accomplished in building operations." Built on the site of the old Lick Hotel. A (Corbett and Hall 1979: 219).
1927, Financial District, Russ Building,
235 Montgomery St., San Francisco.
A mildly Gothic skyscraper; from 1928 to 1964 the city's tallest building (Gebhard, Winter, and Sandweiss 1985: 67).
For many years the city's largest and tallest office building, its Gothicized tower marked the center of the financial district until the 1970s, when it was dwarfed by a forest of new towers. The Gothic ornament is more perfunctory than inventive; the lobby is worth a visit (Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 27).
George Kelham's Russ Building (46) (1927) at 235 Montgomery is nicely paired with the Mills Building as an example of the second, post-Chicago style, generation of high rises. As one can see from the detailing around the doorway, the gargoyles, and the emphasis on verticality, Kelham was again following the Gothic style of contemporary skyscrapers. The Russ Building was one of the first to include a basement garage, a portent of the downtown traffic jam. Like the Hunter-Dulin Building, the upper storeis of the Russ Building are best viewed from behind (Wiley 2000: 168).
The Russ Building is mentioned in Dashiell Hammett's unfinished 1930 story, "The First Thin Man". In the course of the investigation into the murder of Columbia Forrest, the investigator-protagonist John Guild asks her fiance, Charles Fremont, for the names of the victim's friends and is told: "I've told you Helen Robier lives--I'm pretty sure--at the Cathedral," Fremont said. "MacWilliams works in the Russ Building, for a stockbroker, I think." (McCauley, Kirby, Martin H. Greenberg, and Ed Gorman, (Eds.). 2000. Nightmare Town. New York: Vintage Books, p. 361).
The Russ Building--Thirty-one Stories of History
Like thousands of other businessmen, you probably pass the greatest building in San Francisco every day without realizing the fabulous history of the Russ Building is the history of San Francisco itself, from its pioneer foundations to its present great stature.
Samuel Dickson, author of "San Francisco Is Your Home," has written the story of it. It is the story of a patriarch--the kind of tale that doesn't happen very often today but upon which the progress of America is built.
Emanuel Charles Christian Russ came to San Francisco in March of 1847--105 years ago--and the week he arrived he bought the land on Montgomery Street reaching from Pine to Bush, for seventy-five dollars. An industrious man and a wise parent of at least nine children, he had sublime faith in the destiny of San Francisco. He died before the city had come into its own, but through six generations the family of the distinguished patriarch has carried on his spirit.
Silversmith by Trade
He had been born in Germany in 1795, of Polish ancestry, his parents having been exiled from Poland when it was conquered by Russia. Following the trade of silversmith, Russ migrated to New York in 1832. He came to San Francisco by clipper ship in 1847, after a long and tortuous voyage around the Cape.
He bought the land on Montgomery Street, but he still had no place to house his family. So he went back to the ship Loo Choo and, for a few dollars, he bought the wooden bunks that lined the holds of the ship. Up from the beach he and his sons carried the used lumber, and there, on the corner of Pine and Montgomery, they built the Russ Mansion, a little two-story ramshackle affair. But it was a home. And in the front room of his new home he established a manufacturing shop and jewelry store. Then he and his sons built thirty small shacks of used lumber, and rented them all at high figures, since housing in San Francisco was even then at a premium, and there was no OPA.
Nine months after the Russ family had arrived in San Francisco, gold was discovered in California, and the boom was on. Some of Russ' sons went mining, lured by the excitement and the irresistable cry of "Gold!" But Russ himself remained in the city, knowing there were harvests to be reaped at home, in city real estate. His sons found gold, and in the meantime, as a logical adjunct to his jewelry business, Russ became the city's most respected assayer. And he was growing wealthy. His faith in San Francisco real estate was unlimited, and every dollar he and his sons could save went into adding property after property to the original fifty vary lot he had purchased.
But fate took a hand in the fortunes of the Russ family, as it had with many of the pioneers and argonauts who had come into the West. In 1852 the city had a great fire, and the thirty or more wooden shacks Russ had built on his property were burned to the ground. But Russ knew the property was valuable, and he built a brick house on the old plot, and erected the American Hotel--the original Russ House that was to become famous as the most colorful hostelry in downtown San Francisco.
Russ Family's Fate
But then as he grew wealthy, Russ wanted something better for his family. Montgomery Street in the early fifties was a bee-hive of saloons, gambling halls, and places of worse repute. Montgomery Street was no place to raise a family that included four daughters. So Russ built a stately mansion on what was then the suburbs--at the corner of Sixth and Harrison streets. The house was surrounded by beautiful gardens, and they wre so popular with the family's growing circle of friends that Russ' home was soon the center of San Francisco social life.
He grew still richer. The city had been kind to him, and he was the largest landowner and one of the richest and most respected citizens of the community. He was grateful to the city, and so when he saw how popular his gardens were with the public, he made a public park of them. And for years after that the Russ Gardens were the only suburban retreat for citizens on holiday and picnic days.
Today, the American Hotel, the original Russ House--has gone the way of the old color and romance that made San Francisco, and in its place stands the largest, tallest, and most impressive structure in modern San Francisco: the Russ Building, a very tangible symbol of how--especially in America--great oaks from little acorns grow (Reprinted from Pacific Coast Review, November, 1952. Lobby handout).
Along with the Telephone Building (M161) by Miller and Pfleuger and A. A. Cantin, this is the only San Francisco building in Francisco Mujica's 1929 History of the Skyscraper. Although somewhat backward-looking for its day in its Gothic ornamentation, in its massing and use of ornament to express soaring verticality, it reflected the latest thinking about skyscraper design and was tremendously successful on its own terms. In 1927, the Architect and Engineer wrote, "In nearly every large city there is one building that because of its size, beauty of architectural design and character of its use and occupancy, has come to typify the city itself...Today the Russ Building takes this place in San Francisco. By its size and location and by the character of its tenants the building becomes indeed--'The Center of Western Progress.'"
Like the Telephone Building, the Russ Building follows the model of Eliel Saarinen's Tribune Tower competition design in the setting back of its tower. The tower rests on a massive base which entirely defines the street facade at the general height of existing buildings in the area. The glazed terra cotta ornament, the relation of piers and spandrels, and the central projection of the facade constitute a richly textured street wall. The ground level with its arched storefronts and entrances is superbly handled and has been unusually well maintained in its integrity. In plan, the building is a giant E with perpendicular wings from the base that create great numbers of well-lit offices. At the same time this presents a richer silhouette to the city which looks at its western side, while the sheer Montgomery Street facade maintains the street wall. Other important features of the plan were the 11th story "service floor" and the early incorporation of a parking garage in the building itself. The "matt" foundation and steel frame were designed by the important structural engineer, H. J. Brunnier.
The building is the latest in a series of Russ Buildings on the site, the first constructed in 1847. The present building was, according to Architect and Engineer, the "first to apply the principal of public ownership in office building financing. The bonds and the entire equity in this outstanding real estate holding were offered without reservation to the investing public." A (Corbett and Hall 1979: 205).
1927, Civic Center, British Motor Car (Former Earle C. Anthony Packard) Showroom,
901 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco.
Bernard Maybeck/Powers and Ahnden.
The queen of the Van Ness Avenue automobile palaces, built for one of Maybeck's great clients. The red marble columns have unfortunately been painted white (Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 115).
This noble space, designed for cars of another era, is fortunately still in use. The interior with its elaborate coffered ceiling was originally lighted by immense pendants and lights in the column capitals (Gebhard, Winter, and Sandweiss 1985: 85).
Return to Van Ness and continue north to Automobile Row. American infatuation with new technologies found architectural expression in the elaborate movie houses of the 1920s and the automobile showroom. On the left at 901 Van Ness is the former Earl C. Anthony Packard Showroom (22) (1927), now a Jaguar dealer, by Bernard Maybeck. The white columns are actually red marble that has been painted over (Wiley 2000: 218).
1927, East Bay, John Galen Howard house: library wing,
1401 LeRoy Ave., Berkeley
Designed in an L-shape to follow the lot frontage, this long, shingled house shows how much [John Galen] Howard's eastern-formality was modified by western informality. Julia Morgan added a library wing to the north end in 1927 (Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 211).
Designed in an "L" shape to follow the lot line, this long, horizontal, shingled house shows the degree to which the style of an eastern establishment architect [John Galen Howard] was influenced by western informality. Julia Morgan added a library wing in 1927, so skillfully integrated that it seems part of the original design (Gebhard, Winter and Sandweiss 1985: 257).
1928, Marina, St. Francis Yacht Club,
The Marina, San Francisco.
Willis Polk; rem., 1978, Marquis Assoc.
After this venerable San Francisco institution suffered fire damage in 1976, the interior was redone by Marquis (Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 94).
Across the basin [from the Marina Green] is the St. Francis Yacht Club (7), one of the city's elite private gathering places, designed by Willis Polk in 1928 in the Mediterranean Revival style (Wiley 2000: 346).
1929, Financial District, Shell Building,
100 Bush St., San Francisco.
A Zig-zag Moderne skyscraper (Gebhard, Winter, and Sandweiss 1985: 68).
A slender, stepped tower clad in rusticated beige terra cotta. Shell forms are well integrated into the design even when nearly out of sight--the projecting shells near the top conceal lighting that occasionally turns the crown to gold. The entrance lobby carries out the general theme (Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 32).
The Crown Zellerbach Building is the center of Downtown's most fascinating and concentrated cityscape. Just across Bush Street from the Crown Zellerbach Building, George Kelham's Shell Building (17), in the Moderne style of the 1920s, is an excellent example of the previous generation of skyscrapers. Kelham, one of several graduates of the École des Beaux-Arts who made major contributions to local architecture, came to San Francisco in 1906 to supervise construction of the Palace Hotel. He settled in the city, and his work on five major downtown buildings marked the transition from the Chicago style to Moderne structures. Kelham is also credited with changing the role of architects in the construction of commercial buildings by hiring a general contractor. Before general contractors were utilized, the architect assumed responsibility for hiring workers and acquiring materials. Like that of Timothy Pflueger, Kelham's work was influenced both by New York architects who were tapering their buildings in response to zoning laws passed in 1916 and by Eliel Saarienen's entry in the 1922 Chicago Tribune Tower competition. In fact, the top of the Shell Building closely resembles Saarinen's much-imitated design. Kelham emphasized verticality at a time when major buildings rose 10 to 15 floors above their Chicago style neighbors. Indeed, Kelham's buildings defined the upper limits of the downtown skyline in the 1920s. The building's ornamentation combines abstracted shell designs with Egyptian motifs, notably the lotus flowers in the tower (Wiley 2000: 161).
Described by the Architect and Engineer as having the Russ Building's central tower, the Telephone Building's penthouse, Gothic verticality, and its own distinctive treatment of the upper eight floors, the Shell Building also follows the model of Eliel Saarinen's Chicago Tribune Tower Competition entry. It is one of the city's best Moderne designs of the 1920s. The building is richly decorated in sepia glazed terra cotta with blue-green cast concrete spandrels. Ornament, described as "of Egyptian ancestry and with a modernistic flare," includes elaborately abstracted shell designs in reference to the building's owner. The upper part of the tower with its concentration of ornament was originally dramatically floodlit at night. Ornamental detail is carried inside to the building lobby, all elevator lobbies, and the executive offices. Office floors were designed with movable partitions. The building was built in "record breaking" time. Steel frame construction. A (Corbett and Hall 1979: 190).
1930 (circa), Financial District, Crown Zellerbach Building,
343 Sansome St., San Francisco.
Hyman and Appleton; 1990, Johnson/Burgee.
A 1908 building restyled in Moderne recently joined by a restrained Postmodern design with Sullivanesque detail (Woodbridge and Woodbridge 1992: 29).
Built in 1908 as the 8-story Security Building by Howard and Galloway for Jacob Stern in a three part vertical composition. Entirely remodeled with a 5-story addition as a streamlined Moderne set-back office building about 1930. The building is now occupied by the Bank of California. Its terra cotta and bronze entrance and lobby follow contemporary precedents by Miller and Pfleuger. The building is part of a continuing older streetscape along Sansome. It is perhaps best viewed from the landscaped roof of the old Bank of California for which it forms part of an encircling wall of buildings. Steel frame construction. B (Corbett and Hall 1979: 217).
Abbreviationsadd = Additions; nm = No Mention; rem = Remodelled; rest = Restoration