Saturday, May 9, 2009

Inner Sunset Moderne

San Francisco is such a beautiful, architecturally vibrant city that living here has made me a bit jaded. I was about to write that my neighborhood, the Inner Sunset, is not one of San Francisco's most architecturally interesting, when the truth is that by the standards of almost any other city in America, it's gorgeous! Only by San Francisco standards would it seem to lack anything--that's because it was developed a bit later than the rest of the city, and it was a working-class area, so it doesn't have as many ornate Victorian houses as do some of the other neighborhoods. But there are lots of cheerful brightly-colored stucco buildings with bay windows; as well as some Tudor-style wooden houses that look like they should be in a German village.

For my money, though, the most interesting building in the neighborhood has to be this vacant Streamline Moderne building at 320 Judah Street. I wish someone would rent it and fix it up--and I'd love to see what it's like on the inside! Here are some pictures of it I snapped while on a walk today. (Click on any image to enlarge.)

The right-hand side of the building, as viewed from across the street. Reminds me a bit of an Egyptian temple. (And of Michael Graves' Portland Building!)

The left-hand side of the building. Love the porthole-like clock set into the wall--now broken and rust-stained.

A closer view of the glass-brick walls and the fantastic wrought-iron gate (behind it is an ugly area where they keep the Dumpsters).

Closer view of the stainless-steel double doors and the Deco chandelier in the lobby (and my white jacket half-reflected in the glass).

The wonderful sunburst pattern inlaid in front of the building's doors.

I just learned online that this building was constructed in the 1930s to serve as the offices for an architect named Henry Doelger, whose best-known project is the Daly City tract homes--aka "little boxes on the hillside, little boxes made of ticky-tacky!" Strange to think that the man who designed such uninspiring buildings had his studio in such a sleek and interesting one...


Janice said...

Great photos, I love this building. I was under the impression that the offices were rented out to therapists.

Marissa said...

Maybe that's so, but it certainly looks in disrepair when you pass by it, and there's a "For Rent" sign in the window. I should try to go by it on a weekday and see if I can get inside...

Paris Hotel Boutique said...

Great post. I was just doing some investigating tonight...always wondered what the building was. I was born in the Sunset and my grandmother lived in a Doelger. You're right...they are nothing this this spectacular Moderne building.

Thanks for the photos and info! I'm going have to blog about it soon.

(Hope they fix it up when it's rented and don't destroy any of the original detail).


Marissa said...

Lynn--I wonder if this building is on any kind of historic preservation list? If not, it should be.

P.S. your own blog is lovely!