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Architecture in the City - San Francisco, California.


Source: cdn.britannica.com


Each city exhibits a unique pattern and design in its overall architecture and it is expected and supposed to have a great influence from their traditions and cultures. Architecture is a vast study including the minute details and patchworks. In this blog, we will be talking about architecture in the city- San Francisco, California.


San Francisco, the city and port, in northern California U.S. is located on a peninsula between the Pacific ocean and San Francisco Bay. It is the cultural and financial centre of the western United States and one of the country's most cosmopolitan cities.


When talking about the architecture of the city, it is not particularly known for any defining architectural style. It is known worldwide for its particularly electric mix of Victorian and modern architecture.


Studies show that a mixture of architectural styles are present in San Francisco and below mentioned are the prominent fifteen styles of architecture present in San Francisco:


1. Queen Anne

2. Gothic Revival

3. Tudor Revival

4. Shingle Style

5. Earthquake Shacks

6. Brick Warehouses

7. Beaux- Arts

8. Mission Revival

9. Art Deco

10. Streamline Moderne



Now we shall see each of these styles in brief:


1. Queen Anne



Source: thoughtco.com


Victorian is the most prevalent type of architecture in San Francisco, it contains a multitude of styles and the most prominent one among that is "Queen Anne", they have ostentatious colours, elaborate with gingerbread trim, bay windows, and the occasional turret.


2. Gothic Revival


Source: media.architecturaldigest.com


This style of architecture is inspired by cathedrals and their ornate windows and spires ( eg: Grace cathedral, San Franciso ).

Gothic revival style of architecture features steeply pitched roofs and pointed arches.


3. Tudor Revival



Source: study.com


This style of "Tutor Revival" is easy to recognize with its distinctive half-timbering: the original Tudors featured exposed wood framing with whitewashed wattles and daub walls.


4. Shingle Style




Source: upload.wikimedia.org


In this style, homes features plain facades covered in shingles. The style was originated in New England but later architects ran around with it around the turn of the century. Architectural historians cite their redwood shingle-clad homes as part of the First Bay Tradition, a precursor to Northern California modernism,


5. Earthquake Shacks


Source: cdn.voxcdn.com


These modernist cottages were built in the city ad emergency housing after the 1906 earthquake. With collar-shingled roofs and redwood-plank walls they were packed into tight rows and painted dark green to help them blend into parks and squares. When the temporary refugee camps are closed, the inhabitants moved the shacks to private lots across the city.


6. Brick Warehouses



Source : cw-gbl-gws-prod.azureedge.net


San Francisco’s early days as a port and industrial center are recorded in its brick warehouses and offices with exposed brick walls in a refurbished warehouse in SoMa has been a status symbol for tech companies since the first dot-com boom in the 1990s.


7. Beaux- Arts



Source: sftravel.com


San Francisco’s City Hall is characteristic of this Paris school of architecture, which was responsible for educating many U.S. architects in the 19th century before the development of American schools. Inspired by classical Greek and Roman architecture, Beaux-Arts buildings pull out all the stops.


8. Mission Revival



Source: artsandcraftshomes.com


Mission Revival is among various Spanish-flavored revivals that started to gain a wide following in the early 1900s. At the Presidio, a historic military base that occupies the city’s northern edge, a barracks at Fort Scott has the rounded bell gables, red tile roofs, flat stucco walls, and long arcade of Mission Revival. To create some of the city's fanciest homes, architects also had opted to work with the more elaborate Spanish Colonial Revival or Mediterranean Revival styles.


9. Art Deco



Source: hios.hearstapps.com


Only a few architects practiced this style and Art Deco's movie palace is one such example of the "Art Deco" style of architecture.


10. Streamline Moderne



Source: i.pininmg.com


Streamline Moderne buildings borrow their sleek curves from the drag-reducing forms of trains, boats, planes, and cars of the " Art Deco " style of architecture present. They are relatively rare in San Francisco, but the most prominent examples are the Malloch Building in Telegraph Hill and the Maritime Museum.


(Source: https://sf.curbed.com/2018/10/9/17926198/san-francisco-architecture-style-guide-revival)



Architecture present in San Francisco is a mixture of styles and yet it has succeeded in keeping its charm and beauty. There is a lot to study in the architecture of the city and observation is key to nail it.


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