September 2007

The board of directors for the American Institute of Architects voted this week on the top 25 Architectural Gems of the City. Among the newer constructed buildings on the list are the Federal Building and the de Young Museum. The Federal Building with its green architecture has gone up with some controversy. I happen to like the design of the sleek exterior but some do not. It’s rumored that more tweaks need to be done to make the experience of working inside this green building more comfortable. The glare from the windows makes it difficult to read computer screens and the noise from the street pentrates the open air windows.  All in all however, this is a great building on the forefront of green technology.  What are a few tweaks, anyway?

The de Young Museum is also a sleek building, quite a departure from the traditional architecture in San Francisco. It’s very appealing to those with modern tastes. Personally, I am quite excited to see the diversity of architecture in the city and enjoy this building.  

 Here is the list of the top 25!


Grace Cathedral, 1051 Taylor St., 1928, Lewis Hobart

St. Mary’s Cathedral, 1111 Gough St., 1971, Pietro Belluschi, Pier Luigi Nervi and McSweeney, Ryan & Lee

Temple Emanu-el, 2 Lake St., 1926, Arthur Page Brown

Swedenborgian Church, 2107 Lyon St., 1894, Arthur Page Brown

First Unitarian Church, 1187 Franklin St., 1888, George Percy/1970, Callister Payne & Rosse


Plaza Apartments, Sixth and Howard streets, 2006, Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects and Paulett Taggart Architects

Curran House, 145 Taylor St., 2005, David Baker + Partners, Architects

3200 block of Pacific Avenue, houses from 1900 to 1913 designed by architects including Ernest Coxhead, Bernard Maybeck, Willis Polk and William Knowles

Russell House, 3778 Washington St., 1952, Erich Mendelsohn

Haas-Lilienthal House, 2007 Franklin St., 1886, Peter R. Schmidt


San Francisco Federal Building, 90 Seventh St., 2007, Morphosis/SmithGroup

1 Bush St. (former Crown-Zellerbach Building), 1959, Skidmore Owings & Merrill and Hertzka & Knowles

Hallidie Building, 130 Sutter St., 1917, Willis Polk

Transamerica Pyramid, 600 Montgomery St., 1972, William Pereira

JPMorgan Chase Building, 560 Mission St., 2002, Cesar Pelli


Palace Hotel, 2 New Montgomery St., 1909, Trowbridge and Livingston

Circle Gallery, 140 Maiden Lane, 1948, Frank Lloyd Wright

Palace of Fine Arts, 3301 Lyon St., 1915, Bernard Maybeck

War Memorial Opera House and Veterans Building, Civic Center, 1932, Arthur Brown Jr. and G. Albert Lansburgh

Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, 1878 (restoration architects, 2003: Architectural Resources Group)


M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, Golden Gate Park, 2005, Herzog & de Meuron and Fong & Chan Architects

City Hall, Civic Center, 1915, Bakewell & Brown

Yerba Buena Gardens: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 1994, Fumihiko Maki; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater, 1994, James Stewart Polshek; Metreon, 1999, SMWM, Gary Handel + Associates

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 151 Third St., 1995, Mario Botta, Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum

Palace of the Legion of Honor, Lincoln Park, 1916, George Applegarth

Source: American Institute of Architects

Even though the subprime market has being struggling along, you can still get a great mortgage with good credit and verifiable income. To help you along the process, be sure to have the following items in order:

1) Last 2 years’ federal tax returns 2) Paystubs for at least the prior month 3) A record of steady employment 4) A good credit history 5) Bank statements – many times banks will want 3 months worth of statements 6) A complete record of assets – retirement accounts, CD’s, mutual funds, stock certificates, real estate titles 7) Cancelled rent checks – if you are currently renting  8) (this should be number 8 but a smiley face is taking its place!)  Description of property type – that helps the financial institution decide if any of the loan programs would be right for you.

You know how to reach me if you have any questions about this –!

Anyone trying to buy an high end home in San Francisco this year has seen the homes vanish into contract many times before there is the traditional open house. Why is that? Investing, living, owning these homes continues to be a solid investment over time as there is limited supply and as we all know, it’s about location, location, location. San Francisco doesn’t get much better than that.  The number of high end home sales in San Francisco has increased over last year. The money is from tech, some VC money, and investment bankers.  How high can it go? The highest priced San Francisco home is a cool $65 million. Perhaps one should begin with a $3 million starter home however…

Beginning last Thursday (9/20.07) San Francisco was the site for the West Coast Green Conference. Thousands of participants attended the conference to listen to diverse speakers, view the latest in green home remodeling products and green technology. The big attention getter was the Michele Kaufman newest modular home that sat on the grounds of the Bill Graham Civic Center across from City Hall.  It was an innovative home with 1BR, 1BA,  recycled hardwood floors throughout, recycled glass tile in the bath, LED lights, a gray-water system that collects water from sinks and the shower and recirculates it to toilets, an energy-saving “on-demand” water heater and native landscaping. All topped off by a rectangular roof with a full garden.  Just pick up the house and drop it on a lot of land in Sonoma,  perfect for entertaining! And good for the environment!