Daily Archives: November 25, 2010

historic facade

Sidebar:  Are we still wearing corsets, riding stagecoaches, using leeches?  It’s curious that most things are expected to advance while we hold on to the past when it comes to home design.   Sadly, the majority of American homes built today are reminiscent of a time that most of us would dread to live in (=no computers or cell phones).   I speak for residential architecture when I say “what about me!? it’s not fair!”.

This is a project I worked on in a former life, at another office.   Design was started in ~2005 and it’s only now beginning construction due to a few bumps. (the joys of permitting!)  I’m working on an adjacent building (same owner) so I get to watch the progress on this project too!  It involves a not-so-noteworthy single family house in a bustling commercial district.  The owner wanted to either demo it or modify it significantly.  After the gasps settled, the latter was allowed – as long as this ‘historic’ (avocado-colored popcorn-painted) facade and some other parts of the building remained.  It will eventually be (2) commercial units and (1) dwelling.  Ever wonder what a facade would look like if it was peeled off a house?  Like this, from the inside:  The 100-yr old redwood framing exposed, it shows you how much of the front facade is a fake wall/cornice with a gable-roof line behind it.  This sort of thing happens often in San Francisco, I call it ‘facade-itecture’.   To follow the comment at the top, forced preservation of this kind doesn’t make much sense; it’s pausing a street experience while everything beyond that line is brand new.   [I have to applaud the San Francisco Planners’ rejection of ‘faux historicism’ and requirement that additions to old buildings look modern and don’t imitate the original structure.]


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