The architecture of San Francisco is electric and promises you beautiful surprises. On a trip to the capital of new technologies, discover iconic architectural monuments, Victorian houses and modern villas.
San Francisco architecture and iconic monuments
Obviously, we start our tour from the iconic GGB. This allows her to immediately project herself into the trip. But above all, from the other side, in Sausalito, we can admire San Francisco in its entirety.
Then we returned to town to explore the different neighborhoods. You will quickly discover pretty Victorian houses like here at the foot of the Buena Vista park. Located in the Haight-Ashbury and Buena Vista Heights neighborhoods, it is also the city’s oldest park.
Whenever we had the chance, we took to the skies. It is indeed a beautiful idea to admire the city. I advise you to invite yourself to the Grand Hyatt hotel. Passing the lobby as if you were staying in a hotel, take the elevators to the top floor. You will then discover a beautiful overview of the architecture of San Francisco and that until the prison island of Alcatraz.
Another interesting point of view is at the foot of the famous Twins Peaks, themselves perched on a hill in the city. From there, you can admire the San Francisco skyline and its skyscrapers.
Moreover, among all this modernity, it is possible to experience slow life in San Francisco, as this contemporary and Zen villa demonstrates.
Finally, the Californian city offers us a new architectural curiosity. This time it is the famous Lombard Street. An original street made up of a succession of bends. Nobody takes it daily because it is so difficult to walk. But amused tourists flock permanently to this fun zig zag street!
Take advantage of your stay to do some decorative shopping by following my guide to good addresses in SF.
San Francisco, Victorian houses
The architecture of San Francisco is eclectic. But we all think of Victorian homes when we think of SF. These villas take their name from the popular architectural style during the reign of Queen Victoria. Most of them were built between 1850 and 1915.
Also, they usually have 3 floors, a porch. And the locals painted them 3 or 4 different colors.
However, they weren’t always so colorful. Indeed, the 48,000 homes built in San Francisco between 1850 and 1915 were painted in bright colors to accentuate architectural details. But during the two world wars, many of them were covered in gray with the surplus paint of the US Navy (United States Navy). But many others were destroyed, transformed, had their facades covered with bricks or were burned during the fires that followed the earthquake of 1906.
It was in 1963 that the artist Butch Kardum decorated his house in blue and green. Some criticized and others copied. And dozens of gray Victorian houses regained the intense colors of their beginnings.
Then, in the 1970s, “the colorist movement” changed streets and entire neighborhoods. Today, the process is still going on.
The Light House in Dolores Park San Francisco
Dolores Park is without a doubt my favorite park in San Francisco. People picnic, practice some acrobatics, play tennis, sunbathe, admire the view and chat. And when we look at the city there is always this building which amazes the “Light House”
It clearly denotes with the architecture of the city and I always wondered what it housed. I now have the answer and the photos! So let’s visit an atypical Californian interior.
The history of the Light House
At 651 Dolores Street, the Light House was built in 1916 to become a Church of Christian Science. In a neo-classical style, it was designed by the architect William H. Crim. The building is particularly remarkable for its wooden dome which rests on the hexagonal walls of the auditorium.
In the early 2000s, faced with a shrinking community and increasing maintenance costs, the Church of Christian Science could no longer support its burdens. The work of William H. Crim is then put on sale.
A loft in an old church, Californian interior
In 2012, Siamak Akhavan bought the building and had it transformed to accommodate 4 apartments. So the question is: how to turn a church into a loft, an apartment or a house?
The owner of the Light House has reserved the apartment under the dome. Logic obviously! The other apartments are obviously less impressive. But we nevertheless find the codes of ecclesiastical architecture blending with agility with a contemporary lifestyle.
So, we can enjoy the Californian sun through huge windows. Moreover, the architect chose to paint the columns that form the arches of a different color. He then underlines their presence and the origins of the building.
All the rooms are then rounded and offer a nice original brick wall.
Finally, I who am in love with apartments with majestic volumes I am conquered.
Photo © Patricia Change via SF Curbed.