Click on the image to enlarge. [Photograph © 2010, David Wakely]
The Presidio is San Francisco's biggest historic preservation project and at the center of adaptive re-use in these parts, an unmatched opportunity to transform a military base into a place for people to live, work, and play. There have been notable successes- Crissy Field, the Disney Family Museum, the House of Air, the Presidio Landmark rentals- plus a few proposals that have gone down in flames, like the hotel on the Parade Ground and Don Fisher's private museum. Although the hotel may yet rise from the ashes, just a little smaller and to the left, please. Housing for military personnel throughout has been made available for rent, so yes, you can finally live like a second lieutenant, and the Presidio Trust has also converted vintage buildings to office use with a view to sustainablity- the renovation of the Cavalry Barracks by the architectural firm Tom Eliot Fisch received LEED Gold certification earlier this month.
The 1902 structure is classic, a synthesis of wide verandas, white paint and military austerity, flanked on each side by board-and-batten stables. It was built to accommodate a cavalry unit for the West Coast and for dispatch to suppress rebellions in the Philippines (wrestled away from Spain in 1898). It's not entirely clear if this was the home of the Buffalo Soldiers, a black cavalry unit that served in the Philippines and later became the custodians of the nascent national parks in the West. If it was their barracks, we're taking up a collection for a plaque.
109 years later, the building's been impeccably restored, all the details crisp and white, with the addition of a green-roofed conference room in what would have been the building's forecourt. And yes, it's available for rent as commercial space (sub-divided or not) although, frankly, we'd have no problem living there.
· Presdio of San Francisco [National Park Service]
· Tom Eliot Fisch [Tom Eliot Fisch]
· The Presidio: Now With a 100% More Bounce [Curbed SF]
· Presidio Landmark Coverage [Curbed SF Archives]
· CAMP Coverage [Curbed SF Archives]
· Buffalo Soldiers [National Park Service]