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California Architecture in View: A Focus on Five Distinct Styles

Shaler Campbell

Architecture is life, or at least it is life itself taking form and therefore it is the truest record of life as it was lived in the world yesterday, as it is lived today or ever will be lived. -Frank Lloyd Wright

California Architecture In View: A Focus on Five Distinct Styles

Shaler Campbell

Table of Contents

Mission Style Architecture Greek, Roman, & Gothic Greek, Roman, & Gothic In San Francisco Victorian Style Arts & Crafts Movement Art Deco & Modern

1 23 36 55 85

107 Art Deco & Modern In San Francisco 116 Architects In Spotlight 126 Gems of San Francisco 133

Mission Style Architecture



California Architecture In View

ission style architecture as it pertains to California initially began with the introduction of Spanish style missions along the coast of California. The missions of California started with the first mission in San Diego, Mission San Diego de Alcala. The missions served as outposts for missionary workers to spread the word of their religion and establish ties with the surrounding indigenous people. This led them to have great influence in their regions and upon early architecture. The man who was sent to spread the word of Catholicism was Junipero Serra. He left Mexico in 1769 to begin the expansion of Catholicism into San Diego and eventually all of the California coast. Between the years 1769 and 1823 a total of 21 Franciscan missions were built in California. These buildings now serve as the oldest structures in the state of California and give great insight into early architecture.

Junipero Serra [1]

California mission architecture is commonly characterized by its white washed exterior, tile roofs, and their elaborate facades. While the original missions would have had thatched roofs they have been replaced with more durable and traditionally made Spanish tile roofs. The locations of the missions were always in close proximity to fresh water sources. This is because they required water for survival and the survival of their livestock. The necessity of fresh water coincided 2

Mission San Diego [2]

Mission Style Architecture

with their second location requirement, indigenous people. The missionaries had been sent into California to attempt to civilize and convert the local populations and express their nation’s interests in the area. This was done by choosing locations that were not only close to fresh water, but large populations of indigenous people with whom contact could easily be made. The first architectural feature that most people notice in mission style architecture is the white washed exterior. The exterior is made up of mud bricks that were stacked without the use of a grout. They were then covered in a lime plaster and mud covering and upon complete drying were covered in a whitewash paint covering. The whitewash paint covering was made using ground-up sea shells that were burnt and served the purpose of preventing the exterior from eroding and making the structure watertight. This method of construction often times left the exterior facing walls wavy and not completely smooth. The two primary components for constructing the missions were mud bricks and timber. Both of these materials were considered rudimentary for their time period in respect to construction. The use of these materials is due to the lack of skilled construction workers and the lack of accessible modern Map of California Missions [3] materials and tools. Each of the 21 missions is comprised of local timber and mud. The use of timber can be seen in nearly all of the California missions. Another classic feature of the California missions is their elaborate facades. What is most characteristic about them is that they are what is commonly referred to as “false fronts.� To a simple passerby they seem like bold, substantial structures with ornate details that boast a state of grandeur. The thought behind the false front 3

California Architecture In View

is to give the idea of a larger more substantial building. The facade is also accompanied by a campanario, which is a wall of bells. The bells were paramount during their era as there were no clocks in everyday homes and the ring of the bells kept Example of Timber use the surrounding inhabitants aware of what time of day it was. In today’s time, the bells are used to mark special sacred days and the beginning or end of service.

Classic Mission style construction [4]

Example of wavy exterior

The California missions were built along El Camino Real, which means the Royal Road. Each of the 21 missions has a bell outside that is engraved with the name “El Camino Real.” The Royal Road ran all the way from Mexico City up the coast of California. Example of a False Front [5]


Mission Style Architecture

Campanario [6]

El Camino Real Bell 5

California Architecture In View

Mission Dolores Diarama of original construction [7]

Mission Dolores Diarama of original convento [8]

Mission Dolores Mission San Francisco de Asis, or more commonly known as Mission Dolores, serves as one of the most pristine example of California mission style architecture. Construction on the mission began in 1776 and was completed in 1791. The mission is considered to be the most faithfully restored mission in California and shows many aspects of the classic mission style. The current location of Mission Dolores was chosen because of its close proximity to the indigenous Ohlone people of San Francisco, formerly Yerba Buena. The original location of the mission was further down what is now 16th street. The original location was chosen because it was right next to the now extinct Lago de Los Dolores, Lake of the Sorrows. The lake was filled in and the mission was moved to its current location. The original mission was much different than the current one. The mission was a log structure with a thatched roof. The current location of the mission once had a quadrangle enclosure of buildings on 6

Mission Style Architecture

its right hand side that housed storerooms, shops, and living quarters. The street to the left of the mission was especially well known during the early times of the mission. Chula street was an alley where prostitutes would gather and members of the church would go for social services. Some of the patrons even included the missionaries themselves. Many of the soldiers who traveled to San Francisco to build the mission suffered from Pernicious Melancholy since there was a ship only every five years. The mission was built using the traditional construction methods previously mentioned. The mission was made of 36,000 adobe bricks and the base of the mission is 10’6� thick with the steps carved into the adobe wall. The facade of Mission Dolores is very large and encompasses a traditional two story height. There are steps that lead up from the street to the entrance and are elevated on a wooden plinth. The massive doors are paneled doors with brass rosettes. There are two engaged columns that flag either side of the doors. They provide very little structural support and are carved into the exterior of the facade and serve more of a buttress style support[9]. The engaged columns are smooth shafts with classic rectilinear basses. The columns extend to right below the wooden eaves and are topped with pyramid capitals. The facade is divided by a Juliet style balcony that extends out over the entrance. Located right above the center of the balcony is a very small four paneled window that contains the original glass and easily shows the rippled look of age. As with ornamental details of all classic missions, Mission Dolores has a pendant above the door with a dipped wave like design. Above the balcony there is a campanario of three bells. The two lower left and right bells are larger and the upper middle bell is smaller. These bells can be heard [10] 7

California Architecture In View

Campanario & Pyramid Capitals

Juliet Balcony

Facade with Enagaged Columns



Mission Style Architecture

of holy days. The entrance to the interior of the mission is a pair of substantial doors. The doors are paneled with brass rosettes with an arc framing above them. The interior of Mission Dolores is as traditional as the other California missions. While seemingly large in size from an exterior view, it fashions a small Nave. This is common for the time period in which it was constructed where there were not very many members. The interior is divided into four separate areas. The first area is the Nave, which is the area where the pews are and where the members would kneel and pray when they attended [11] mass. The second separate area you notice as you walk towards the back of the interior is the Baptistry. This is a small carved out area in the left hand side of the Nave with a raised step and a raised bowl. The Baptistry is where the members of the congregation would be baptized, often when they were babies. The third and final area that is located on the first floor is the Reredo. The Reredo is the sacred area at the back of the Nave which is where the padre or priest would conduct their mass. The Reredo often comes with an ornate wall decoration with Jesus being crucified. This specific Reredo was sent from Mexico and is painted on a canvas support and affixed to the rear of the Nave. It is raised above the rest of the hall and contains a door from which the priest can enter and exit the Nave. The last area of the interior of the mission is the choir loft. This is where the choir would gather and sing their traditional hymns. It is located directly above the main entrance to the Nave and has a 9

California Architecture In View

spiral staircase directly to the right of the main entrance. The choir loft also serves the purpose of allowing access to the Juliet balcony via the small four paneled window that can be seen from the facade. The details of the design and decoration of the Nave are quite spectacular. The vegas, which are the exposed ceiling joists of the nave are painted in a geometric pattern. This detailed decoration was done using rawhide stencils and shows that the artist must have had a high level of patience and a steady hand. The exposed lentils above the doors and windows show the rustic features of structural necessities. On the right hand side of the Nave there is a fresco painted on a wooden support and affixed to the wall. The floor of the Nave is a traditional Spanish tile and contains the tombstones of several important individuals for their time period. It was considered a great honor to be buried under the floor of the Nave and only the most prestigious of people were given that honor. There are also two faux facades attached to the left and right hand sides of the wall of the 10

Mission Style Architecture

Nave right before the Reredos. They both contain angels and a vivid color spectrum and further reinforces the importance of artistic details in the California missions.


California Architecture In View





Choir Loft

Mission Style Architecture


California Architecture In View



Mission Style Architecture



California Architecture In View


Mission Style Architecture

Right outside the mission is the cemetery. The cemetery was originally much larger than it currently is and the area behind the church was once part of the cemetery. There is also a mass grave located under the parking lot behind the mission. The mass grave was for the Native Americans who were not able to be given a burial in the sacred mission cemetery which was reserved for the European church members. The cemetery contains many very old graves and a stone statue of the Cemetary

mission’s founder, Junipero Serra. Also located in the cemetery is a reproduction of the traditional homes that the Native Americans who lived around the mission once lived in. They are oval dome shaped huts that were made from reeds. The Ohlone tribe were the Native Americans who inhabited the area before the mission was built and many of their descendants still live in the area today. Located to the right of Mission Dolores is the Basilica. The Basilica was built from 19131918. It was built after the 1906 earthquake that started a fire that destroyed a large portion of San Francisco. After the earthquake Mission Dolores was closed for repair and the need for a larger

Native American Dwelling

Junipero Serra 17

California Architecture In View

place of worship was realized. The Basilica boasts a facade that is twice the height of Mission Dolores and even more detailed and ornate. There are two spires that flank the espadana, the rightward one being taller than the left. The level of detail displayed is magnificent and has stood the test of time. There are three doors that divide the facade of the Basilica. There is the main set of doors that is centered in the middle of the facade right above the steps. The two other sets of doors flag 1906 Earthquake Damage either side of the main doors and are set back slightly. The doors on either side of the facade are capped with very tastefully detailed arches that frame the dark wood doors. The main entrance is capped with an entire wall of exquisitely detailed plaster work that makes its way up to the top of the triangular espadana. The interior of the Basilica is massive and contains a multitude of stained glass windows. There is a rotunda above the front of the Reredo. It is substantial in height and has a calming teal color. The Nave is fashioned with many arches and stained glass windows. The most amazing of these windows are the stained glass ones towards the bottom of the wall that contain images of all 21 California missions. The details of the Basilica are much more ornate and extravagant than the mission and show a higher level of craftsmanship. Basilica The style of the basilica is more consistent with later Spanish style churches and can be considered a 18

Mission Style Architecture

Right Spire

Triangular Espadana

Rotunda 19

California Architecture In View

Side Door Door Crown

Main Door 20

Left Spire

Mission Style Architecture

Stained glass windows depicting the California Missions adorne the walls of the Basilica’s Nave.


Greek, Roman, & Gothic




California Architecture In View

,400 years of architecture were shown to have been dominated by three distinct styles. These three styles are Greek, Roman, and Gothic style architecture. These styles of architecture have stood the test of time and have had a profound impacts upon the architecture of California. As with most of the architecture of California, it originated in Europe and traveled here with immigrants. The archetype structures associated with each style were places of worship, whether to a single god or to many. In their time periods, churches served as the foundation of people’s lives. Places of worship have, for thousand of years, served as libraries for the illiterate and examples of grandeur in architecture and advances in structural engineering.

Classical & Romantic While the three distinct styles of Greek, Roman, and Gothic architecture are substantial by themselves, they culminate into two super categories. These two categories are Classical and Romantic. Classical style architecture is one of the most universal styles of architecture around the western world. It is important to understand that these super categories pull architectural elements from all three distinct styles. Classical style architecture displays the characteristics of balance, logic, perfected form, idealized beauty, and clarity. This translates into structures and landscapes that are symmetrical and completely

Example of Romantic Style at The Palace Hotel 24

Example of Classical style Landscape at Versaille [14]

Greek, Roman, & Gothic

organized. More aspects of classical style will be discussed at the end of Roman style architecture.

Greek Greek style architecture was the dominant style around the year 450 B.C. E. It was a product of the Greek empire that ruled in South Eastern Europe. The archetype structure most associated with Greek architecture is the Parthenon. The Parthenon is located on the Acropolis in the city of Athens. The Acropolis is the “Hill City� and contains ancient Greek architecture. The most commonly reproduced structural elements of Greek style are the columns. Columns are three part pieces that provide immense structural support to buildings. The three parts of a column are a base, shaft, and capital. There were three different orders or styles of columns. The most recognizable is the Ionic order, which can be discerned by its rolled up scroll like capitals. The second column order is Doric order which is characterized by its detailed frieze. The final order is the Corinthian order, which originated from the town of Corinth in Italy. The three different orders share the same names for the majority of their elements. The most basic element of these orders is the Stylobate, which is the steps that leads up the entrance to the structure. The next element is the column itself with each of the three orders having different capitals. The Doric order has a very simple rectilinear capital and contained no base. The Ionic order has an ornate scroll rapped capital called a Volute. The Corinthian order has a capital that is decorated with scrolls and acanthus leaves. Above the Capital was the Architrave and Acropolis [15]


California Architecture In View

for the Doric Order, it served as a blank space on the facade. As for the Ionic and Corinthian order, the Architrave was a three stepped smooth surface. The next component was the Frieze. In the Doric order the Freize served as a place to show ornate details. These details were Triglyphs, which looked like miniature columns and Metope’s, which were detailed carvings between the Triglyphs. The Ionic and Corinthian orders have smooth Frieze’s and were often where names of establishments were carved into the stone. The Architrave and Frieze combined were referred to as an Entablature. Above the Entablature was the Cornice which served as the base of the Pediment. The Cornice is Parthenon [16] the same for both Ionic and Doric order, but for Corinthian order, there are Dentils, small cubes that protruded out beneath the Cornice. Above the Cornice is the Pediment, which is the triangular piece that capped the top of the facade. The Pediment, which means “feet,” was often times carved to show ornate details. The final element of the orders is the Raking Cornice, which is the gable roof like structure. The other quintessential Greek architectural elements are the post and lintel, which is exactly what an Ionic, Doric, or Corinthian order facade were at their most basic level. The post was the column, and the Entablature was the lintel that capped the Columbia University Library [17] 26

Greek, Roman, & Gothic



California Architecture In View

Example of a Pediment [20]

top. The final Greek architectural element was Quoins, which where alternating rectilinear stones that delineated the edges of the structures. Another aspect of Greek architecture that has been established in California is the outdoor theater. The outdoor [19] theater originated in ancient Greece and hasn’t changed in thousands of years. There are four components of the Greek Theater. The first component is the Theatron, which is where the patrons would sit and watch the performance. The word Theatron means “viewing-place.” The second component was the Orchestra, which was the round area in the middle of the theater in front of the stage. The word Orchestra means “dancing-space.” The third element was the Parados, which was the entrance and exit of the theater. The word Parados means “passageways.” The final component was the Skene, which was the stage and meant “tent.”

Roman After the period of Greek architecture came the long rein of the Roman Empire and it’s influence upon world architecture. Roman style was dominant from around 100 B.C. E. to 300 A.D. The Archetype structure 28

Greek, Roman, & Gothic

of Roman architecture is the Pantheon, which meant “round house of the gods.� The Pantheon is a temple in Rome that was constructed to worship all gods. The structure shows a Corinthian order facade. The interior of the Pantheon has a beautiful Rotunda with a Coffered ceiling, which is the square terraced indentations. R o m a n architecture that can be seen today would be the ubiquitous [21] keystone.A keystoneis the last stone to be put in place to hold up an arch. The Keystone is placed at the apex of the arch and in many cases is larger or more ornate than the rest of the Voussoirs, or arch stones. Another important Pantheon [22] Roman structural element is the Barrel Vault. This type of vault is important because it is the simplest form of a completely covered vault. A Barrel Vault is a single curve that is stretched out for a certain distance with walls or columns on either side that support it. An arch itself was also invented by the Romans. They were used to provide covering for structures and walkways. They also served the purpose of supporting aqueducts and doorways or entrances. Roman style architecture also found its way into the design Interior of Pantheon [23] of windows. In this case, the Palladian window. This window 29

California Architecture In View


used the Roman arch for its top and has straight vertical sides and a flat horizontal bottom. It was often broken up in slices with tracery or wood dividing the glass pieces. An application of Roman architecture in today’s time is the re-purposing of buildings to give them Roman style architecture. This has been especially popular with government buildings. Nearly every state capital building is a repurposed Pantheon. The largest re-purposed Pantheon government building is the United States Capital

Palladian Window [25]

Building in Washington, D.C. Greek and Roman styles are generally referred to as classical style architecture. This classical style has had immense impact upon California architecture. It extends to many of the government building Barrel Vault [26] in our country. When the founders of our nation chose to break away from Great Britain, they wanted to remake the great Greek government. They sought to do this through a democratic government and classical style government buildings. They used a mixture of Greek and Roman style architecture to stylize our important buildings. Nearly every building and monument in Washington, D.C. has a classic style construction. This classic style extended beyond just 30

Greek, Roman, & Gothic

US Capital Building [27]

structures and found its way into sculptures. Classic style sculptures were fashioned in the most realistic of manner for whom it was meant to represent. The Rotunda was another culmination of classical style, “rotun� meaning round. From the exterior of a structure the rotunda would be referred to as a dome, yet from the interior the terminology changed to rotunda. The previous picture of Columbia University Library serves as an excellent example of a dome top.

Classical Style Statue of Thomas Jefferson [28]

Example of a Dome & Rotunda [29] 31

California Architecture In View

Gothic The final period in the afore mentioned 2,400 year rein of three dominant architectural styles was Gothic style architecture. Gothic style began around the year 1100 A.D. and continued to roughly 1400 A.D. Gothic style architecture was formulated around the cult of the Virgin Mary and its structures were temples to Mary. This attributed its wide use for Cathedrals and places of worship. The archetype structure of Gothic style was Saint-Denis Cathedral, which resides in Paris. The Cathedral is a shining example of traditional Gothic style. It contains Flying Buttresses which were a newly invented structural feature used to enable builders to construct taller buildings. The Flying Buttress were like arched supports that held the structure from falling outward and directed the forces downward to the ground. The facade of the Cathedral shows an excellent example of a round stained glass window. Stained glass windows Saint-Denis Cathedral [30] were common among Gothic style and they were constructed by thousands of 32

Greek, Roman, & Gothic

colored pieces of glass that were held together by Tracery, which was iron filler that held the glass together and created the beautiful works of art. Gothic style structures also often times had spires, as did Saint-Denis. A spire was where the bells could be placed or vantage points could be viewed. The meaning of the word “spire” is “to breath” which makes sense as a spire was generally the highest point in a structure. The interior of SaintDenis boasts a grand ribbed vault. These were another characteristics Flying Buttress [31] feature of Gothic style. Ribbed vaults gave more room for windows at the top of the interior of Gothic structures and allowed the skilled laborers more ability to show their craftsmanship. Every Gothic church contained a basement that was referred to as the crypt. The crypt was the more modern replacement of the cemetery and was were the deceased were buried. In the case of Saint-Denis, all of the royal families of France have been buried in its crypt. Ribbed Vault [33] Stained Glass Window [32] Saint-Denis does not serve as a complete example of all the elements 33

California Architecture In View


of Gothic style. Many Gothic structures that were churches contained gargoyles at the tops of their roofs. The gargoyles were hollow downspouts that served the purpose of warding of evil. Gothic Labyrinths were used as details on the floors of the cathedrals and were once ancient structures that were used to house Minotaur’s, a mythical beast. A very well preserved example of Gothic style is Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France. It has dual spires and a magnificent round stained glass piece viewable from the Crypt at Saint-Denis Cathedral [34] facade. Gothic style was almost exclusively used on Churches and Cathedrals. The heavy influence of religion can be seen in Notre Dame. From an aerial perspective, the outline of the Cathedral looks exactly like a cross. Notre Dame was built during the years 1163-1240. It is one of the first buildings to use the support structure of the Flying Buttress. Gargoyles [35] Gothic Labryinth Floor [36]

Greek, Roman, & Gothic

View of Flying Buttress [37]

Notre Dame [38]

Aerial View [39] 35

California Architecture In View

Greek, Roman, & Gothic in San Francisco


Greek, Roman, & Gothic

Palace Hotel The Palace Hotel was built in 1875 in San Francisco. At the time it was the largest hotel in the world. It was also the very first hotel to offer room service and have elevators for hotel patrons. The hotel was rebuilt in 1906 after a fire destroyed practically the entire hotel. The hotel shows a classical style construction with Corinthian order details in the interior courtyard where patrons can eat meals. The other details of the interior courtyard show classical style architecture and Interior Courtyard Columns exquisite details in plaster details and crystal chandeliers. Before entering the interior courtyard, one must pass beneath the subtly detailed ribbed vaults. The Palace Hotel is an excellent example of classical style with more specific details of Greek, Roman, and Gothic structural elements.

Interior Courtyard

Interior Courtyard Details showing Dentils and glasswork. 37

California Architecture In View

Details Ceilings with terraced indentations and Dentil details

Facade details


Entrance Door with Keystone and door trim details

Full facade view

Wells Fargo Bank

Exterior of Bank

Interior and Exterior Griffin Details

Greek, Roman, & Gothic

The Wells Fargo Bank was built in 1908 in San Francisco. Willis Polk was the architect who designed the Bank and is considered the most famous early 20th century San Francisco architect. Willis Polk also designed the Hobart building, Hallidie building, and helped with the deign of the UC Berkeley campus. The Wells Fargo Bank shows many interesting architectural features. These features include mythical decorative details in the form of Griffins. Most buildings during this era had animals that were chosen to ward off evil or protect whatever was inside their building. The griffin was chosen for the bank because it is a dragon with wings and is intended to the protect the money and treasures stored in the bank. The griffin details can be seen above the doors and windows and inside as table legs. The exterior of the bank shows a double column at the outer edge of the round columned entrance. This double column feature is a product of the Beaux Art Academy in France, which has had a profound affect upon western architecture. The interior of the bank boasts a coffered ceiling, which is a geometric pattern of terraced indentations 39

California Architecture In View

in the ceiling. One interesting aspect of the bank is the pink colored marble that runs along the top of the bank. This is because a developer hoped to demolish the bank, but as it is a city landmark, they couldn’t. They instead chose to Pink Marble Facade Detail use pink marble details to show a similarity to the pink marble building adjacent to it. This is an aspect of facadism, which will be discussed later on with the Jewish Museum of Contemporary Arts. Right above Coffered Ceiling the entrance to the bank in the covered round column area, the ceiling shows an ornate detail with a centered chandelier.


Beaux Arts Double Column

Entrance Ceiling Detail

Greek, Roman, & Gothic

Hallidie Building The Hallidie Building was built in 1917 in San Francisco. It was, as with the afore mentioned Wells Fargo Bank, designed by Willis Polk. The building was named after Andrew Hallidie who invented cable and cable cars, which are an iconic symbol of San Francisco. The cable that he invented was later used upon the Golden Gate Bridge. This building is a prime showcase of classical architecture with a modern twist. The facade has an ornate entablature at the top of the building and more details above the 2nd and 3rd floors. One of the entrances on the front is framed by a Roman Arch. The facade of the building is primarily glass, which is unique because it was constructed 30 years before the international style which was the major catalyst for the use of glass as the primary exterior material. The reason that the facade is so transparent is because it was designed around the idea of a “theater of work� where people who were passing by could stop and see all the people on various levels working away. The exterior mounted stairs further reinforced the theater of work concept. That way [40] the people in the building would have to exit the building temporarily to move up or down a level. The Hallidie building now houses the American Institute of Architects for the San Francisco chapter.


California Architecture In View

Crocker Galleria


The Crocker Galleria was constructed in 1985 in San Francisco, adjacent to the Wells Fargo Bank previous mentioned. The Galleria exemplifies two structural elements of classical style architecture. The first is the massive Palladian window that is the focal point of the facade of the galleria. It is not a traditional Palladian window, but rather a post modern update. The second element is the barrel Vault that runs the entire length of the galleria. The Crocker Galleria is an excellent example of a modern use of ancient and classical structural elements.

Greek, Roman, & Gothic

Armani Building The Armani Building was built in 1906 in San Francisco. It is the best example in this book of a structure showing a plethora of classical style elements. The building also serves as a shining example of a re-purposed Pantheon. The building shows Ionic order with fluted columns and Volute capitals. The Frieze is completely smooth and shows no engraving for the name of the establishment. The Pediment shows two birds flanking an olive branch encircling a female face. Above the Raking Cornice, one can see the top of the dome which supports the interior Rotunda. Dentils can be seen below both the Cornice and the Raking Cornice. All aspects of the structure are consistent with Ionic Order and contribute to the classical style of the structure. While this structure is nestled amongst much taller buildings, passersby are drawn to its dominant and heavy appearance.


California Architecture In View

Pediment with Dentials below the Cornice and Raking Cornice

Blank Frieze with Ionic Order 44

Ionic Order with Fluted Columns and Volute Capitals

Raking Cornice Details

Greek, Roman, & Gothic

Phelan Building The Phelan Building was built in 1911 in San Francisco. It is one of the most iconic and recognizable buildings in the entire city. This is attributed to its unique style of construction. The style of the Phelan Building is referred to as Flatiron. A Flatiron building was always built on a corner of two streets that formed a very acute angle and therefore highly restricted the footprint of the structure. This was overcome my making the structure rounded at the narrowest point and then spread out as it went further back into the lot. This made the building look very much like a triangle. Dentils can be seen below the top part of the facade and the name of the building right when the light stonework begins.


California Architecture In View

Lotta Crabtree Fountain


The Lotta Crabtree Fountain was cast and put in place in 1875 in honor of Lotta Crabtree for all of her immense philanthropic works. Lotta Crabtree made her fortune as an actress, entertainer, and comedian. She was the wealthiest woman in San Francisco during her day and is one of the richest women of all time. The fountain is of a classical style and has a bronzed finish and was once much taller but has since been reduced to its current height. The fountain has a fluted column that reaches up to a light post at the highest point. Lions, olive leaves, and coins decorate the entire fountain in an organized, intentional manner.

Greek, Roman, & Gothic

San Francisco Light Posts The light posts around San Francisco are often over looked and not realized as classical style pieces. They have engravings in their exterior finishes that show people traveling with their wagons and depicting the Gold rush. Even the lights at the top of the posts show classic column construction.


California Architecture In View

Jewish Museum of Contemporary Arts The Jewish Museum of Contemporary Arts was constructed in 2008 and is connected to the PG&E substation front that was built in 1906. The Museum was designed by architect Daniel Libeskind. The PG&E substation that it is connected to was designed by the San Francisco architect Willis Polk. The Museum is an excellent example of the movement of Facadism. Facadism is the practice of keeping the facade of a building exactly the way it is and then renovating or redesigning the back portion of the structure. San Francisco has many examples of this movement, chief among them is this Museum.

Museum 48

Example of Facadism

Greek, Roman, & Gothic

St. Patrick’s Church St. Patrick’s Church was built in 1872 and was rebuilt in 1906 after the earthquake. The Church is an example of Gothic Revival Style, the reintroduction of the style of Gothic architecture. The church has Flying Buttress that can be seen from the rear of the church. The interior of the church is fashioned with a grand selection of original stained glass windows. These stained glass windows were constructed with tracery as was traditional for its time period. The stained glass windows were made to reflect what was important to the early Irish settlers who were the members of the church. They depicted images of Irish counties and Catholic Saints. To further make the church feel like the homeland, it was constructed from imported Irish marble that contained the traditional Irish colors of green, gold, and white. The unique aspect of the church is the heavy influence of Celtic symbols. The upper level of the church is completely dedicated to the worship of Celtic mythology. The interior of the Church has grand columns that help to support the Ribbed Vault. The exterior of the church shows the singular spire that is centered over the entrance and contains the bells. 49

California Architecture In View


Ribbed Vault

Flying Buttress

Greek, Roman, & Gothic

Other Examples Two other notable structures in the city of San Francisco are the old US Mint building and the Rotunda at the Westfield Mall. Both of them serve as examples to further the classical style impact upon California architecture. The old US Mint building is a re-purposed Pantheon with Doric Order. It contains the classic Doric Order columns. Yet it only has Triglyphs and no Metope’s and has a blank Pediment. There are Dentils below both the Cornice and Raking Cornice. In recent years the building Old US Mint has begun to be restored to its former glory. The US Mint was built in 1854, but replaced by another building in 1874. It is one of the few building in San Francisco to have survived the earthquake and subsequent fire. The Rotunda in the westfield mall is the oldest aspect of the mall building itself. The Rotunda was


Corinthian Capitals 51

California Architecture In View

built in 1908 and when its original building was torn down, the rotunda itself was supported by stilts and the current mall building was built around it. There are Corinthian capitals, Dentils, and beautiful detailed work shown.


Greek, Roman, & Gothic


Victorian Style




California Architecture In View

ictorian style architecture began its presence in California is the 1860s. It originated in England during the reign of Queen Victoria in the years 1819-1901 and later found its way to California. While many people consider Victorian homes to be a category all by itself, there are actually five subcategories that it encompasses. These categories will be discussed in depth later throughout the chapter. Victorian style architecture can be most simply described as boxes with classical details. There was no set standard for the detailing of the Victorian style homes and this led to a broad use of the term Victorian with every example showing its own flare on the style. The unifying features of Victorian architecture and the transitional styles are some of the roofs styles, structural terms, and windows. These roof and window styles comprise the most commonly known styles of today. Before examining the uniqueness of the five different subcategories of Victorian style architecture, we must first examine the factors that are present throughout them all. Before a structure can even be seen as a house it must first be raised up into a structural frame. The most commonly used frame in the Victorian and Transitional styles was the balloon frame. It was invented in Chicago in the 1830s and required far less time and skill to construct. The balloon frame was different from the previous framing methods in that it used nails to join the full-length studs to the sills and joists rather than mortising. During the period of construction of the Victorian and Transitional style homes, there were 5 different styles of roofs. The most basic roof was the Flat Roof and is 56

Victorian Style

exactly as it sounds, flat with no pitch or hips, valleys, or ridges. The second most basic roof was the Shed or Single-Pitch Roof which contained a slope that started at one side and sloped all the way to the opposite side. The most recognizable roof is the Gable Roof, which had two different pitches that were opposite each other. The slopes sloped down from the ridge that was centered above the structure at some height. After that came the Hip roof, much like the Gable, it has a ridge with two slopes on either side of it. The only difference was the two sloped regions that came out from the ends of the ridge. This prevented the pediment like area below the roof on either side of the ridge as in with the Gable Roof. The Gambrel Roof was most like a barn style roof. It contained a main ridge and then two more ridges further down the slope that were produced by the knee walls of the interior of the structure. The Gambrel Roof was able to use the space that would have been an attic and made it more habitable. The final roof to look at was the Mansard Roof. The Mansard roof was just like the Gambrel Roof, yet in stead of a main ridge, it formed a rectangular pyramid top while still maximizing the attic space for habitation. Along with these five different roof types, there are three different sub-styles of the Gable Roof. These sub-styles are the Parapeted Gable, Flemish or Dutch Gable, and Cross Gable. Throughout the design and construction of the Victorians and Transitional homes there was not much of a standard for the styles. They had more of a broad categorization. This explains why there are eight 57

California Architecture In View


different types of arches and structural members that can be seen. The eight different types are illustrated to the right. In chapter 2 we saw the introduction of the Palladian window in the classic style architecture. Now we can see the five parts of a Palladian composition. A Palladian composition was somewhat of a plantation house style of architecture with very much a classical style influence. The five components of a Palladian composition were the Portico, which was the main entrance area with the pillars. This was followed by the Tympanum, which was the equivalent of the pediment of classical style. To top off the Palladian composition would be the Cupola, which was a smaller version of a dome with

Victorian Style

a rotunda inside. Flanking either side of the main house with the previous elements was the Hyphen, which served as the walkway or connection way to the Dependency. The Dependency would either protrude outward or inward in

respect to the Portico. More and more intricate and detailed siding and mason work is very classic of the early Victorians and Transitional homes. The common siding and mason used in construction was broken into three categories: Brick Bond, Stone, and Siding. The windows of the Victorian and Transitional styles were very revolutionary for their time period. They showed the introduction of the Double Hung Windows which are very commonly used today. Other windows that were used included, casement windows, awnings, hoppers, Palladian, Oriel, and Bay windows. The final aspect of Victorians and Transitional homes was the all too common exterior finish of shingles. Shingles have helped to define Victorians and especially the Brown Shingle Transitional homes. Six different types of shingles were used and they were painted every color imaginable. 59

California Architecture In View


Victorian Style

Italianate The Italianate and was popular from the 1860s until the 1880s. The characteristics of Italianate homes were low or flat pitched roofs, this was the most distinguishing factor between the Italianate and the Sticks. Their eaves would hang further out from the end of the exterior walls than the previous styles of construction. They incorporated decorative brackets and cornices and were detailed differently on every home to reflect

the builders unique design preferences. The cupola, or the top dome structure at the top of the structure, was generally square. This was a break from the long established dome, or circular style cupolas from classical style architecture. As with the other Victorian styles, the structure was constructed of a wooden frame consistent with Balloon Frame construction. Some of the buildings contained Arcade Arches that supported the front porch. The homes were built in rectangular layouts and had minimal landscaping so that the details and architectural features of the home could be more appreciated. The facade of the Italianate homes were symmetrical and had an emphasis upon vertical proportions. The doors and windows were often capped by Roman Arches. Some of the Italianates had cresting on their low roofs and this made the roof a somewhat porch like area for socializing or the chance to see a great view. Bay windows were very common of the Italinates and set them apart from the Sticks which had more square window bays.


California Architecture In View



Half way during the period of the Italiante, the Sticks style emerged. The sticks were prominent from the 1870s to the 1900s and were so common in San Francisco that they inherited the name of the San Francisco Stick. The design concept behind the Sticks were to have straight lines, right angles, and columns that looked like sticks. They were also initially intended to be simple and not ornate homes, yet they became more and more ornate and then became another style entirely with the name of Queen Anne (discussed later in the chapter). Sticks had Gable roofs and this gave the facade the opportunity to have a corbelled Gable, which was a Victorian twist on a Pediment decoration.

Victorian Style


California Architecture In View


Victorian Style

All of the support braces under the eaves and trusses were detailed and later coined the term scrolled brackets because of the Volute style scroll design. As with the Italiante, the Sticks have wide eaves and wooden siding. The wooden siding was either in horizontal or vertical strips and sometimes alternated in different areas on the facade as an added elaborate detail. Along with the Corbelled Gables, there were cross bracing under the gables that was always accompanied with detailed brackets. The Sticks did not contain Palladian windows and had only rectangular windows. As is consistent with all of the Victorians and Transitional homes, some of the Sticks were more detailed and elaborate than others and had fancy spindles and sunburst details below the peak of the Gable roof.


California Architecture In View

French Mansard (2nd Empire) The French Mansard was popular during 1879-1890 and was similar to the Italianate in its design. They were characterized by their Mansard roof and its where the name of their style came from. They generally had lower roofs than the Italianate’s and contained rounded dormer windows.


Victorian Style


California Architecture In View

Queen Anne Queen Anne style architecture was popular between the years 1880 and 1910. It is the most prolific and commonly recognized Victorian style architecture. As with the Sticks, they had Gable roofs along with corbelled Gables. Some contained rounded turrets that were called witches caps. They were each decorated according to the taste of the owner and some were completely decked out and others were more


Victorian Style

minimal. The vast majority of them were decorated with ornamentation in every conceivable location. As all of the houses built at the time had chimneys, these were used as a further extension of areas of the facade that could be decorated. The siding that was predominantly used were shingles, and they could be any of the six types previously outlined. Along with the Queen Anne style came the Queen Anne Cottage. They differed from the Queen Anne in that they were not quite as tall, yet could still sometimes be two stories and they contained raised basements which allowed for more space, yet still have the short stature of 69

California Architecture In View

a single story home. They were just as elaborately decorated as the Queen Anne’s and each one had a different twist. They also tended to be have larger porches and were wider and could come across as more substantial in mass.


Victorian Style


California Architecture In View


Victorian Style


California Architecture In View

Classical Boxes Classic Boxes were the re-introduction of classical style architecture. The homes were box shaped with flat roofs and contained columns and classic elements. They were not as ornate and flamboyant as the Queen Anne Victorians. They represented a portion of the revival period of earlier style architecture making a reintroduction.


Victorian Style

Transitional & Revolution Brown Shingles and Craftsman represented the beginning of the major push of the transitional period of architectural style in California after the Victorians. The Brown Shingles were a mix of Queen Anne and Neo-Classical style architecture and had a very characteristic Brown Shingled exterior. The Craftsman was a more subdued exterior with more detail craftsman work and will be discussed in more detail in the


California Architecture In View


Victorian Style

next chapter. Bungalows and Tudor homes were a representation of Craftsman style homes that were present during the Transitional period. The Tudors were a European style that can clearly be recognized by the stucco and exposed wood exterior. The Bungalows were short homes with covered porches that had elephant columns on either side to provide support. They also had dormer windows on the second story, centered on the second story of the facade. These Transitional styles were meant to blend into their surroundings. They were a return to the time of simple, clean lines, and inexpensive construction. More use of bricks and unpainted shingles was used and the clinker bricks became a staple of the period, very much like the common bricks previously outlined. The homes were not designed to dominate their property, but to be more in tune with nature. This period was lead by local architects and was quite popular in the Bay Area of California.

Bungalow Cottage

Dormer Window 77

California Architecture In View


Period Revivals

Brown Shingle 78

Period Revivals began in the 1920s and represented a shift back to previous architectural styles. People wanted to move away from the transitional homes that were simple and show more social stature and wealth. The decoration of the homes returned to the flamboyant and extravagant nature of the Victorians. There was the return to the Classical style architecture

Victorian Style

such as the Classical Boxes and the Neo-Colonial. The Spanish influenced Mediterranean style with stucco and tile roofs. Then there was the New England inspired Colonial Revivals. They all paid homage to previous architectural style with some modern updates and decorative details here and there depending on the owner.


Story Book Style, influnced by Hanzel & Gretal 79

California Architecture In View

Julia Morgan designed Tudor home. Julia Morgan was considered one of the most well-known female architects of the 19th century in the United States. She is discussed in more depth in the next chapter.


Victorian Style

Mission Revival


California Architecture In View

Mission Revival

Colonial Revival 82

Mission Revival

Colonial Style Barn

Victorian Style

Neo-Colonial and Neo-Classical homes with classical and colonial details mixed together. Excellent example of the splicing of styles into one. The roof style is a Gambrel roof with dormer windows.


Arts & Crafts Movement




California Architecture In View

uch of the Arts and Crafts movement was set in motion by the lack of detailed art in architecture and the interest in bringing back traditional craftsmanship. The style began in the late 1800s and continued through to the 1930s as a dominant architectural style. The high level of craftsmanship is what set it apart from other styles. Nature played a key role in the arts and crafts movement and new raw construction materials become more popular. The use of large wood timbers and exposed beams with deep rich wood stains became the norm. Details brackets were hand forged and stained glass windows made a resurgence. Japanese woodworking had a large impact upon the movement and the importance of natural light become more evident. The transitional homes discussed in the previous chapter were what became the arts and crafts movement. The Bungalow was chief among the most popular craftsman style home. The use of shingles, as with the brown shingled transitional homes, became a common exterior finish. More and more materials became available to architects as well. The use of concrete became more popular and widely used. Every architect had their own spin upon how to manipulate or modify the concrete to [41] give it a unique finish. Julia Morgan used wood to imprint its grain into the cement and Bernard Maybeck used mud to give age to his exterior stucco. The point that the arts and crafts movement was attempting to achieve with the populace was that of being at peace with nature and its order and beauty. Not to disrupt the landscape and become too flashy. It was a return to simple, well-constructed homes that served their purpose, not overbearing ornate mansions. The immergence of this style allowed artists to reenter the field of architecture and design homes with high levels of craftsmanship because they took passion in their work. Many prominent examples of arts and crafts homes that will be discussed later blended in quite well with their surroundings and had minimal impact upon 86

Arts & Crafts Movement

the landscape. The arts and crafts movement went beyond that of just architecture and played its hand at furniture and interior design. The furniture was hand made in every aspect and paid tribute to more traditional methods of furniture construction. The style also found its way in art, sculpture, and every form of craftsmanship available during the time. This was due to the principles behind the arts and crafts movement. The principles of simplicity and high levels of craftsmanship. The movement was led by a few of the greatest architects in American history and to fully understand the movement, we will examine each of these architects and the works that they produced.


California Architecture In View


Arts & Crafts Movement


California Architecture In View

A. Page Brown Brown was an architect who worked for McKim, Mead, & White and is most known for the design of the San Francisco Ferry Building. He helped to introduce Mission Revival into Southern California. He also designed the California State Building for the 1892 World’s Fair. The building showed a heavy Mission style influence.

California State Building, World’s Fair 1892 [42]

San Francisco Ferry Building [43]

Willis Polk Polk was an architect who was the assistant of Brown during his time at McKim, Mead, & White. Polk designed the Iconoclast on Russian Hill for Fanny Osborn-Stevenson. He also designed the Polk/Williams house in 1892. The Polk/Williams house was similar to the brown shingled transitional homes of the previous chapter. 90

Arts & Crafts Movement

Joseph Worcester Worcester was the voice of nature and the interactions of building that were in keeping with the natural landscape. He also emphasized the simplicity of buildings and this led to one of the most important arts and crafts buildings in San Francisco, the Piedmont house. He also designed the Swedenborgian Church in San Francisco. Worcester’s innate ability to blend buildings with nature is what led him to play such a central role in the arts and crafts movement in the San Francisco area.

Iconoclast on Russian Hill [44]

Polk/Williams House [45]


California Architecture In View

Swedenborgia Church [46]

Interior of Swedenborgia Church [47]

Ernest Coxhead Coxhead was an English born architect who practiced in the United States. His style was influenced by Ruskin and William Morris. He was known for designing several Episcopal Churches. He was able to introduce English styled cottages into California and help with the foundation of the Arts & Crafts movement. He was appointed to a teaching position at an architecture school in France, but returned to Berkeley.

Painting of Pedimont House [48] 92

Arts & Crafts Movement

Church of St. John the Evangelist [49]

Church of Ascension [51]

Sponner House [50]

Julian Waybur House [52]


California Architecture In View

Albert Schweinfurth Schweinfurth was an American born architect who was known for two buildings in Berkeley, California. These buildings were the Unitarian Church on UC Berkeley’s campus and the Moddy house. He was apart of the Beaux-Arts Architecture movement and especially the use of shingles in his designs.

Unitarian Church

Charles Keeler Exposed Tree Trunk Columns of Unitarian Church

Keeler was an American born author, poet, and naturalist who practiced predominantly in Berkeley, California. He was referred to as the “Taste Policeman” due to his encouragement of the use of Arts & Crafts style in new construction through Berkeley. He wrote the book “The Simple Home” and was a proponent to simplistic design and the balance between structures and 94

Arts & Crafts Movement

nature. The book became the manifesto for the Arts & Crafts movement. He was a member of the Hillside group along with Bernard Maybeck, which advocated the basic fundamentals of the Arts & Crafts movement. The first commission of Bernard Maybeck was for Keeler’s home on Highland Place in Berkeley. Highland Place Home [53]

Bernard Maybeck Maybeck was an American born architect who was one of the leading figures in the Arts & Crafts movement. The majority of his work was done in the Bay Area. He studied at the Beaux-Arts and then moved to Berkeley where he taught at UC Berkeley as a drawing professor. He did not design only Arts & Crafts style buildings, but was known for also using Mission Revival, Gothic Revival, and Beaux-Arts Classical style. Some of his most notable works are the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, First Church of Christ, Scientist, and his codesign of the Swedenborgian church.

Palace of Fine Arts [54] 95

California Architecture In View

The First Church of Christ, Scientist is considered to one of Maybeck’s greatest w o r k s and is registered as a National Historic Landmark. It is the only Berkeley National Landmark. It is considered to be one of the greatest modern works of the Arts & Crafts movement. The structure was constructed of two new materials for the time period and this was a common thing that Maybeck did. He was interested in introducing new materials into his designs. The two new materials used were Asbestos Panels that were attached to the exterior by diamond shaped anchors and reinforced concrete. The exterior stucco was not a new material, but was considered to be inferior at the time, yet its use increased after Maybeck used it. The stucco was given an aged appearance by splashing muddy water on it. The design of the Church draws from several different style of architecture, yet they work in good harmony when all combined together. There are Romanesque capitals with a less than traditional capital of joyous carollers. There are pergolas with free standing columns and trellises covered in vines. The columns are square and have fluted shafts. The rafters are adorned with false decorative beams to show craftsmanship. The entrance follows a traditional Palladian 96

Arts & Crafts Movement

construction with a portico entrance. As in keeping with more traditional Arts & Crafts homes, there is a Japanese air about it. The church is intended to be seen as a Japanese shrine that is detached to let light in. The entrance into the church fashions low doors in comparison to the pergolas that line the walk to the entrance. The roofs of the church have low pitches and make it appear more substantial in weight and larger in area. The church draws from Gothic style architecture through its use of tracery in the windows and the arches. All of the glass for the windows was handmade. The windows are also unique in the fact that they are industrial windows, which was frowned upon at the time. Joyous Carollers Capital

Trellises & Asbestos Siding

Pergolas 97

California Architecture In View

Side Trellise Supports & Asbestos Siding

Portico Entrance Gothic Glass Windows 98

Arts & Crafts Movement

John Galen Howard Howard was an American born architect who is most known for founding the architecture program at UC Berkeley and designing the beginning of the overall campus. He was educated at the Beaux-Arts and later moved to Berkeley to oversee the design andconstruction of the UC campus. He designed a vast majority of the original buildings on the campus. Chief among them is the Campanile, Memorial Stadium, and the Greek Theatre. Many of his building are now National Registered Landmarks to be forever preserved for generations to come.


UC Berkeley Campanile


California Architecture In View

Julia Morgan Morgan was an American architect who was the first ever woman to be admitted into the architecture program at the BeauxArts. She is regarded as the best female architect of the 20th century. She was very prolific and often built buildings for women’s organizations. She is most well known for her work on the Hearst Castle and served as William Randolph Hearst’s chief architect. Morgan also designed the Berkeley City Club, Hearst Gymnasium at UC Berkeley, the conference hall at Asilomar beach, and countless YMCA’s. She was very fond of the architecture of her mentor, Bernard Maybeck.

Hearst Castle [56]

Pools at Hearst Castle [57] 100

Arts & Crafts Movement

Berkeley Women’s City Club [58]

UC Berkeley Women’s Gymnasium

Asilomar Hall [59] 101

California Architecture In View

Louis Christian Mullgardt Mullgardt was an American architect who was a member of the movement toward more use of shingles and the interaction of structures and nature. He worked mostly in the Bay Area and constructed buildings such as De Young Museum renovation.

Arlington Hotel, designed by Mullgardt’s Firm [60]

Henry Gutterson Gutterson was an American born architect who graduated from UC Berkeley and then studied at the Beaux-Arts. He worked with John Galen Howard on several projects. He was a very community minded architect and did not want to intrude in any of his designs. He was responsible for the addition made to Bernard Maybeck’s 1st Church of Christ Scientist.

De Young Museum [61] 102

Arts & Crafts Movement

Greene and Greene The Greene brothers were Charles and Henry. They were American born architects who were very influential during the 1900s. They practiced mostly in Pasadena, California and were known for their bungalows. They were at the forefront of the Arts & Crafts movement. They were very fond of the brackets and pegs used to joint the parts of the structure and accentuated them in their designs. There was Japanese influences in there later designs and every single one of their designs had so much attention to detail that it led to their ultimate success as a firm. Yet later in their lives, they dissolved the firm and parted their ways, but continued their work in architecture. Their most famous structure is the Gamble house. Other examples of their work included the Robert R. Blacker House, Thorsen House, and the Spinks House.

Gamble House [62] 103

California Architecture In View

Robert R Blacker House [63]


Spinks House [65]

Arts & Crafts Movement

Thorsen House [64]

Interior of Spinks House [66]


Art Deco & Modern




California Architecture In View

he tallest and often times most recognizable buildings in cities are glass boxes, or more commonly referred to as skyscrapers. The skyscrapers that we know today are generally thousands of feet high and gaze over the surrounding landscape. This wasn’t the case with the original such skyscrapers. They made their introduction in the Modern Foundation Era which dates to pre-WWII, before 1945. The most recognizable steel structure in existence is also one of the first all steel construction structures. The Eiffel Tower was designed by Gustav Eiffel and was conceived and constructed purely to see if it could be done. Gustav Eiffel also designed the Statue of Liberty, which serves as the largest classical style sculpture in existence. Chicago played a key role in the Modern Foundation Era of architecture. Many of the commercial buildings constructed in the late 19th century were the initial skyscrapers of our country. They were only roughly 10 stories and would seem small by today’s standards, but they cast the largest shadows of any buildings before. The increasing height of these Eiffel Tower [68] buildings actually created worries that the streets would become so dark and shaded from the skyscrapers and in response, height restrictions were put in place for a time. Statue of Liberty [67] The Flatiron Building in New York City is a shining example of an 108

Art Deco & Modern

early multi-story skyscraper that was able to tackle the problem of height and lot size. The building is very similar to the Phelan building in San Francisco from the Classical Style chapter. The two best examples of the Modern Foundation Era are the Chrysler and Empire State buildings, both of which are in New York City. The Chrysler building was constructed in 1930 and was the tallest building in the world at the time. During its construction it had an ongoing battle with a neighboring

Flatiron Building [69]

building for dominance of the New York skyline, and the Chrysler building won in the end. The fan like detailing on the uppermost part of the building represented the Art Deco movement. The Art Deco movement was represented by bold colors, geometric shapes, and high machined details. The

Empire State Building [70]

Chrysler Building [71]


California Architecture In View

Empire State building was built in 1931 and once it was completed it became the tallest building in the world. It was also built in the Art Deco style and dominated the New York skyline until 1972. The Style that followed the Modern Foundation Era was the Post WWII International Style. This style was dominant from 1945 until 1985 and was present in most major cities. The style was dominated by several of the best architects of the 20th century. Mies Van Der Rohe is recognized with starting the era of the glass box skyscrapers. He was one of the first architects to move away from the established classical style buildings. He worked predominantly with glass, concrete, and steel, all of which became the corner stone of the structural elements of the Modern Era. His Seagram Building was the first major modern era building to garner the attention of others. It was not laden with classical ornamentation and was constructed of steel and glass. It served as a prime example of function over form. Although Mies Van Der Rohe conceived some of the first International Style buildings, the style was Seagram Building [72] made famous and cemented as the dominant style by architect Philip Johnson. Johnson created the Glass House and is today a National Landmark, forever to be preserved as a major evolutionary step for architecture. Philip Johnson also codesigned the Seagram Building with Mies Van Der Rohe, whom he worked with through his entire career and had played a pivotal role for him. 110

Art Deco & Modern

Frank Lloyd Wright, quite possibly the most well-known American architect, also played a role in the International style. He was the architect of the New York Guggenheim Museum. The Guggenheim Museum stands out from the surrounding buildings and is conceived in such an excellent fashion for walking around and viewing art on display. Along with the modernist work of Frank Lloyd Wright, the work of Eero Saarinen, a Finish born architect, was important to the movement. Saarinen designed the TWA building at JFK airport in New York that was completed in 1962. The design mimics a bird in mid-air and is still in use today. He also designed the famous St. Louis Arch. An architectural style that formed a subset of the International style was Brutalism. The Brutalist style represented buildings that were substantial in visual weight due to their use of steel and reinforced concrete. They were generally large in size and very geometric. They did not allow much light in and made people wonder what could possibly be going on inside Brutalist style buildings. They were especially popular in Eastern Europe during the time of the Soviet Union. The Brutalism style mixed well with the International style and its use of glass. Some structures had immense walls

Glass House [73]

Guggenheim Museum [74] 111

California Architecture In View

TWA [75]

Berkeley Art Museum, Example of Brutalism


of reinforced concrete and still fashioned walls of glass. This is common as a transitional style or splice style. An excellent example of this is the Las Vegas City Hall building. The final period of the Art Deco and Modern Era architecture was the Post-Modern Era. This era began in 1985 and is still going today. The most evident product of this era is the volley of materials that can be used individually and in conjunction with other materials. There are no restrictions on what can and cannot be used. The assembly of

Las Vegas City Hall [76]

Art Deco & Modern

buildings became more important and the deconstruction of a building to reconstruct it more abstractly. Another aspect of the era was the use of previous architectural styles mixed with more modern glass boxes. A few examples of the Post-Modern Era are the Lipstick Building by Philip Johnson, the Sony Tower by Philip Johnson, and many modern casinos. One of the most interesting characteristics of the PostModern Era is the vastly abstract buildings that have been produced. These buildings bare strong resemblance to abstract sculptures that would be seen in museums. One of the leading architects in the abstract arena is Frank Gehry; who is also one of the most well-known architects currently practicing. Gehry was not well received when he first began designing, yet now he is prized for

Lipstick Building [77]

Sony Tower [78] 113

California Architecture In View

Las Vegas Strip [79]

Luxor Hotel [80] 114

his work. Gehry was not and is not the only architect who worked in abstract, nearly all of the ArtDeco and Modern style architects designed one or more designs that would be described as abstract. This has led the abstract movement to have more of a foothold in the Modern style of architecture. Some of the most wellknown architects of the 20th century took part in one of the three different divisions of Modern style architecture. They helped to produce what we can consider to be works of art. These people are inspirations to others and this section is meant to highlight their greatest work.

Art Deco & Modern

Guggenheim [81]

MIT Stata Center [83] Walt Disney Opera House [82] 115

California Architecture In View

Art Deco & Modern in San Francisco


Art Deco & Modern

One of the unique aspects of San Francisco is the city requirement of POPOS, Privately Owned Public Open Spaces. These POPOS are for the people of San Francisco to have a place to site and relax and watch the city go by. The POPOS were part of the urban renewal of the city during its Manhattanization. The term Manhattanization draws from the idea that San Francisco and Manhattan are similar because of their close proximity to water and their important to financial institutions. Manhattanization is used Embarcadero Hyatt Regency to describe the construction of many high rise buildings in close proximity to each other in a large city. It highlighted the fear that the views of the bay would be lost and there would be nothing but steel, glass, and concrete to look at. One other way that solved this problem was the use of view ports throughout the city. These view ports were long stretches of streets that had views unobstructed by tall structures. The Embarcadero Hyatt Regency Hotel is an example of Post-Modern style architecture. It is constructed predominantly of glass and reinforced concrete with a saucier like disk at Embarcadero Hyatt Regency the top. The hotel was designed by architect John Portman. Portman also designed the Embarcadero Center, which encompasses four towers. The tower is an


California Architecture In View

Interior of Hyatt Regency

Trans America 118

international style and was achieved by massing attached towers with narrow vertical windows. The well-known Trans America Pyramid is a good example of a more Embarcadero Center abstract International style design. The reasoning for the ears of the tower are for the purpose of having the elevators ride all the way to the top. Along with the PostModern era came the reintroduction of past styles, such as the Victorian era. A good example is the Charles Schwab building that is a best described as a Post-Modern Queen Ann. Another worthy international style building is 101 California St. It was designed by

Art Deco & Modern

Philip Johnson and is a nice example of a glass box. The entrance is a glass silo with piers and an atrium that is decorated with glass Christmas ornaments. The firm of Skidmore, Owings, Charles Schwab Building and Merrill (SOM) built the post-Modern Flatiron building at 3888 Market Street. The building is more rounded at it’s most narrow 101 California St. point that other Piers & Glass Atrium more classical flatiron buildings and is adorned with red marble. SOM also designed the Federal Reserve building and 444 Market St. Sculpture also played a role in the Art Deco & Modern style and is seen in the classical style sculpture of the Mechanic’s Monument from 1901. The base was designed by Willis Polk and the sculpture was the made by Douglas Tilden, who was deaf and mute. As a part of San Francisco’s emphasis on art, there are street sculptures seen everywhere. Many of them represent more modern, abstract styles. 119

California Architecture In View

The first international style building to be built in San Francisco was the Crown Zellerbach Building. It was built in 1959 and was constructed of glass, steel, aluminum, and green mosaic tile. The building is an almost exact replica of the Seagram Building in New York City. A good example of an Art Deco building is the Shell Building built by architect George Kelham. It is the smallest commercial building in San Francisco. The Golden Gate University serves as an imitation of the Whitney museum, except with the introduction of brick. The Yerba Buena Center is the most comprehensive example of PostModern architecture in San Francisco. 3888 Market Street The area around it is the largest concentration of art museums west of Manhattan. Many of the buildings show deconstruction and construction of the buildings. Every possible material was used in the buildings and colors are bountiful among the buildings. The Mechanic’s Monument Yerba Buena Center was build as an urban renewal project that tore down an old Victorian neighborhood that had fallen into dismay. The center is actually a planter box of sorts above the Moscone Center that is directly beneath it. The Moscone Center is an International style building with large tube bracing. The Zeum building that is next to the Moscone Center was influenced by the New York Guggenheim Museum. Directly next to the Yerba Buena Center is the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). It is a Post-Modern structure and was the first museum that architect Mario Botta ever built, 120

Art Deco & Modern

Crown Zellerbach Building

Golden Gate University

Shell Building [84]

Lobby of Crown Zellerbach Building 121

California Architecture In View

San Francisco MOMA

Moscone Center 122

but helped to boost his image as a museum designer. Architect Fumihiko Maki also played a hand in the Yerba Buena Center. He designed the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. It is unique in that the exterior finish that he chose to use is inexpensive sheet metal. Across from the Center for the Arts is the Center for the Performing Arts. It was designed by architect James Polshek. It is also a Post-Modern building with exposed materials. Next to the Yerba Buena Center is the Metreon which houses a movie theater and retail shopping. It was built in 1999 and is a Post-Modern structure. It has exposed materials with a PostModern barrel vault. The view from the Yerba Buena Center shows the Marriott Hotel with Post-Modern Palladian windows and is the epitome of an Art Deco structure. It has been nicknamed the “Jukebox� due to it appearance.

Art Deco & Modern

Zeum [85]

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Yerba Buena Center for the Performing Arts 123

California Architecture In View

Yerba Buena Center


Art Deco & Modern

Metreon [86]

Art Deco Details of the Marriott Hotel

Marriott Hotel 125

California Architecture In View

Architects in Spotlight


Art Deco & Modern

Philip Johnson

Puerta de Europa [87]

Nations Bank Center [88]


California Architecture In View


Virginia Beach Convention Center [89]

New Beijing Poly Plaza [90]

Hyatt Hotel [91] 128

Art Deco & Modern

Eero Saarinen

Dulles International Airport [92]

Daniel Libeskind

Jewish Museum [94]

St. Louis Arch [93]

Military Museum [95] 129

California Architecture In View

Mario Botta

Kyobo Tower [96]


Wellness Center [97]

Art Deco & Modern

Fumihiko Maki

Makuhari Messe Chiba [98]

MIT Media Library [99]


Gems of San Francisco




California Architecture In View

very one of the five styles presented thus far has played a role in the architecture of San Francisco, California. Someone can find pristine, shining examples of Mission, Classical, Victorian, Arts & Crafts, and Modern style architecture spread throughout the city. This chapter is meant to highlight some of the most spectacular sites in the city. The work of Frank Lloyd Wright is considered to be some of the best American architecture in our nation’s history. Unfortunately, San Francisco was graced with only one of his fine works, the Folk Art International Building. It is located at 141 Maiden Lane, just off of Union Square. The building currently houses the Xanadu Gallery of Art that specializes in Asian art. It was constructed during the International Period and has a strong resemblance to brutalist buildings. It differs from Brutalism in its use of brick and the horizontal line of windows and half circle window. This building was built before the Guggenheim Museum and there is no doubt a resemblance. The spiral staircase of the Folk Art Building is very similar to the design concept behind the Guggenheim Museum of spiral floor plan perfect for walking and viewing art. The building is in keeping with Wright’s minimalist style and use of craftsman style influences. The St. Francis Hotel in Union Square is an excellent example of Neo-Classical style with an International


Gems of San Francisco


California Architecture In View

style addition. The original two wing wide hotel was completed in 1904 and the double wing addition to its right hand side was completed in 1913 and the International style addition was completed in 1972. William L. Pereira was the architect of the International style addition and it was in keeping with his fondness of precast concrete to create unique geometric shapes. Pereira was the architect who designed the campuses of the University of Southern California, UC Irvine, and Pepperdine University. The Nob Hill region of San Francisco has some of the most expensive homes in the nation and world, yet at the same time it serves as a plethora of architectural styles. Grace Cathedral is a Gothic Revival that


Gems of San Francisco

International Style Addition Behind Original Hotel

View From Elevator 137

California Architecture In View

was completed in 1964. Lewis P. Hobart was the chief architect and this structure is considered to be one of his finest works. The interior of the Cathedral shows the classic ribbed vault and unique stained glass with tracery. The floor of the interior right past the entrance doors shows a Labyrinth cast flush with the floor. The original idea of the Labyrinth was for people to clear their thoughts and gain peace of mind This particular labyrinth is a classical seven circuit labyrinth. The front of the cathedral draws a strong resemblance to Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The front doors are magnificent Renaissance brass doors that are replicas of the original Ghiberti Doors, or “The Gates of Paradise.� The Fairmont Hotel on Mason Street at the top of Nob Hill is a good example of a classical style structure. The hotel was completed in 1907 and was originally designed by James W. and Merritt J. Reid. Unfortunately the earthquake and ensuing fire of the 1906 earthquake left the unfinished hotel in shaky

Brass Entrance Doors 138

Gems of San Francisco

Side Entrance with Spire



California Architecture In View

condition. Architect Julia Morgan was chosen to bring the beauty back to life. The hotel was revitalized to its current state in the 1950s when much of the public areas of the hotel were revitalized and a 23 story tower was added complete with a glass elevator. The interior decorating from that revitalization is now gone, but the hotel is still a crown jewel of San Francisco. St. Mary’s Cathedral is a site that can hardly be simply passed by. It jumps out from its surroundings as it is set much by its self with nothing coming close to challenging its massive substance. The cathedral was completed in 1971 and was designed by architects Pier Luigi Nervi, Pietro Belluschi, John Michael Lee, Paul A. Ryan, and Angus McSweeney. It falls into the International period with obvious Brutalist aspects with its


Gems of San Francisco


California Architecture In View

Historical Photographs of Hotel After 1906 Earthquake


Gems of San Francisco

heavy use of reinforced concrete. The interior of the Cathedral is huge and airy with a large pendent handing down above the sacred area for the pastor. The roof of the Cathedral is a shell with indented geometric shapes on the underside visible from the interior. The organ is raised above the rest of the Nave by a twisted cement footing. The four support columns inside are twisted and torqued and provided a modern abstract twist. The stained glass runs in a vertical stacking orientation along the tall rectangle ridges of the roof. The stained glass is of International style due to the choice of colors as to represent the elements of our Earth and because of their simplicity. With in view from St. Mary’s Cathedral is a small Gothic Revival Church, First Unitarian Church, with a beautiful round stained glass detail on the facade. The exterior finish is stone with mortar and features Gothic arches and dark wood double doors. While the church is small in size, it is still a superb example of minimalist Gothic Revival Style. It very much contrasts with Grace Cathedral, which is detailed in every conceivable manner.


California Architecture In View


Gems of San Francisco


California Architecture In View

The Swedenborgian Church on Lyon Street is a stunning example of Arts & Crafts style architecture. It is one of the earliest examples of the Arts & Crafts movement and is virtually unchanged since its completion in 1895. The church was designed by architect William Worcester and his friends. After the church was completed it served as a pristine example to other designers and architects as to what a true Arts & Crafts style structure looked like. The church was natural in almost every aspect. It had hand carved furniture


Gems of San Francisco

and exposed wood trusses in the nave that looked exactly like large tree branches. The church also draws from Japanese influence with its walled in garden that was designed to be a shrine. The idea of nature and peace of mind were key in the design of the church and helped to build the basis for such thought in the Arts & Crafts movement. One of the most stunning homes that you will see when in the Nob Hill area of San Francisco is the Roos House. It is located at the corner of Jackson st. and Locust st. It was declared a National Landmark in 2009. It was designed by Bernard Maybeck and is a spectacular Tudor style residence. Maybeck added non-traditional Tudor details to the second story with the unique carved railing. The roof is a classic slate tile and has wood siding that is consistent with Tudor style architecture. The Roos House is one of the largest homes that Maybeck ever designed.


Bibliography All photographs not listed here were taken by the author and are his sole property. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]Mission Dolores Pamphlet [12] Mission Dolores Gift Shop Sheet [13] Mission Dolores Gift Shop Sheet [14] [15]


[16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] 149

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[52] [53] [54] [55] [56] [57] [58]’s_City_Club_(Berkeley,_CA).JPG [59] [60] [61] [62] [63] [64] [65],_facing_southwest).jpg [66] [67] [68] [69] 151

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[88] [89] [90] [91] [92] [93] [94] [95] [96] [97] [98] jpg [99]


California Architecture In View