VLN: Bay Area Time Line: 1 2 3 4 5 High Rise Boom (1960-1980) 7

19th century architecture slide show

In the 1960s, the developer William Matson Roth hired Wurster, Bernardi and Emmons to transform Dominico Ghiradelli's chocolate factory and a 19th century woolen mill into Ghiradelli Square, providing a model for similar efforts across the country in which historic buildings began to be recycled and given contemporary use.

In the 1970s, a high rise office building boom saw the "Manhattanization" of the Financial District, and Russian Hill neighbors reacted by preventing a massive highrise project on the block bounded by Larkin, Hyde, Chestnut and Lombard Streets.

High Rise Boom (1960-1980)

1960s: The high rise office building boom began and the Haight-Ashbury district became the haunt of flower children, and saw the rise of the hippies.

1961: The trend [in low-cost housing], however, was away from public housing to nonprofit housing or private housing whose tenants were supported by federal rent subsidies. The architectural results were, at best, mixed. In the Western Addition, Marquis & Stoller designed Saint Francis Square, a model cooperative housing development, for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union in 1961, and Kwan Henmi designed the Leland Apartments for the Tenants and Owners Development Corporation in 1998, for example. The bulk of the housing built in the Western Addition after the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency leveled the heart of the neighborhood is more typical--block after block of cheap boxes (Wiley 2000: 141).

California School of Fine Arts (CSFA) graduate student Dave Getz runs the school cafeteria; he returns in 1965 to teach. In 1966 he becomes the drummer for Big Brother and the Holding Company. In 1969 he joins Country Joe and the Fish.

The California School of Fine Arts (CSFA) is renamed the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI).

1962-67: In San Francisco, between 1962 and 1967, William Wurster and his partners, Theodore Bernardi and Don Emmons, completed the transfrmation of several historic buildings near Fisherman's Wharf, including the Ghiradelli chocolate factory and a nineteenth-century knitting mill, into a retail commercial complex called Ghiradelli Square that became a mainstay of the tourist trade and a model for similar efforts across the country. Modern architects like Wurster and his associates were looking at the prospects of reusing historical buildings rather than replacing them as Wurster's firm had when the Golden Gateway Towers were built on the site of the city's wholesale produce market (Wiley 2000: 141-42).

1964: Charles Moore, working with a designer from Clark and Beuttler, boldly mimicked a 1902 Renaissance/Baroque structure with a bank building on Market Street in 1964 (Wiley 2000: 142).

1964-65: The 1960s witnessed one of the greatest periods of upheaval on Russian Hill as dozens of longtime residents fought a second and much more threatening wave of high-rise development. Although a half-dozen major buildings were constructed, including the twenty-five-story Summit at 999 Green (designed by Anshen and Allen in 1964) and the Royal Towers at 1750 Taylor (designed 1965) (Christopher VerPlanck).

1966: The San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) gallery organizes an exhibition of rock and roll posters, with work by students Victor Moscoso, Stanley Mouse, and Wes Wilson.

Sculptor and conceptual artist Bruce Nauman begins teaching at the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI), and filmmaker Peter Hutton is one of his students. Fellow faculty Jack Fulton photographs Nauman making faces.

Abstract painter Sam Tchakalian joins the faculty at the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) and is a major force in the painting department for the next thirty-five years.

1968: Annie Leibovitz begins photographing for Rolling Stone magazine while still a student at the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) and becomes the magazine's official photographer in 1973.

San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) alumni Ruth-Marion Baruch and Pirkle Jones document the early days of the Black Panther Party in northern California, and the photographs are exhibited at the de Young Museum.

1969: A new addition to the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) building by Paffard Keatinge Clay adds 22,500 sq. feet of studio space, a large theater/lecture hall, outdoor amphitheater, galleries, and cafe.

Jay DeFeo's painting The Rose is installed in the McMillen Conference Room. The painting remains at the school until acquired by the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1995.

1970s: The boom in office building in the late 70s brought the "Manhattanization" of the Financial District. Noe Valley (Market St. to 30th St. and Douglass St. to Sanchez St.) gentrified most rapidly during the 1970s: it includes the heart of the city's internationally known gay community, and is also home to a mixed professional and working-class population.

The American high-rise housing project, also inspired by European experiments with low-cost housing, turned out to be a disaster, more prison block than domicile. In the early 1970s the first large-scale projects in American cities were dynamited; many have followed in their wake, and many more should (Wiley 2000: 140).

1972: A major battle erupted over the proposed construction on Russian Hill of a massive project on the block bounded by Larkin, Hyde, Chestnut and Lombard Streets in 1972. The project called for the construction of two separate high-rise apartments, one 25 stories and the other, 31 stories. After a series of protracted battles at the San Francisco Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors, the project was ultimately defeated and a limit of 40 feet was enacted for Russian Hill (Christopher VerPlanck).

[top of page]