Polk Street Condominium
This new condominium on Polk Street was built above and behind the facade of an existing brick retail building. It looks as though preservationists demanded the retention of the historical facade. The actual exterior historical facade and appearance is retained so its not false historicism, but neither is it true to the spirit of preservation either.
I toured this building about two years ago when I was looking at condominiums for a family member. I don't quibble about the design of the condominium, but the arranged marriage of the two buildings don't benefit either. There's something odd about a new multi-story structure sitting on top of an old brick building. The new building really wants to have a modern base compatible with the design of the upper floors -- but there they sit awkward in their accommodation of each other.
The massive new structure completely dominates the "preserved" structure.
Former home of Freed, Teller & Freed
The storefront on the corner was the former home of Freed, Teller, and Freed
. Freed, Teller, & Freed occupied this Polk Street site for almost 1oo years. In an age of boutique coffee bean vendors everywhere, they were the first. Now they only exist on-line with a base in South San Francisco.
Folsom Dore Building
This is not an isolated incidence where a building has been essentially demolished preserving the front 12" in the name of preservation. This example of "preservation" is at Folsom and Dore. Again, I don't quibble with the design of the new structure, but the existing brick facade projects a fragility of an severely wounded survivor. When I first noticed this trend, I called it the rape of a building.
I fear a future where the first 12" of entire blocks are preserved as a pretend movie set facade while massive buildings looms behind and above. I question this approach. Is it worth it to keep a fragment of the old building? What are your thoughts?