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Results: What is the One Building You Miss the Most?

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In our Friday Open Thread, we asked which building in San Francisco you miss the most. No surprise, Curbed Readers picked sites as varied as the city itself - Mid-Century Modern to classic Victorian, downtown to Ocean Beach. Check out the gallery for some of the most missed buildings of yesteryear. The Old Academy of Sciences
The California Academy of Sciences was founded in 1853, and was originally located at Grant Avenue and California Streets until 1890. in 1891, a six-story stone building was built for the Academy on Market Street, but the building and the entire collection was destroyed in the 1906 Earthquake and Fire. The museum moved to Golden Gate Park in 1916, where it grew over the decades to include the Steinhart Aquarium, Simson African Hall, Science Hall, and the Morrison Planetarium. After sustaining structural damage in the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, the building in Golden Gate Park was shut down in 2003, to be replaced by a new Renzo Piano design in 2008.

Union Square
We know it’s technically not a building, but Union Square has been a part of San Francisco since the beginning, designed in 1847 by city surveyor Jasper O’Farrell as one of two public open spaces in the city. By the 1880s, it was a fashionable residential district, and in 1903, the towering monument was added. Over the years, the park was redesigned many times, but always followed the natural topography of the area, a sloping bowl-shaped space. In 1997, the city held a competition to completely redesign the park. The winning entry by MD Fotheringham, Landscape Architects opened in 2002.

The Daphne Funeral Home
In 1949, mortician Nicholas Daphne commissioned Jones and Emmons to design a mortuary at Market and Duboce Streets. Most known for their work designing Eichler pre-fab houses, the funeral home was the firm’s first commission in Northern California, and they partnered with Bay Area landscape architect Geraldine Knight Scott. After a failed preservation attempt in 2000, it was demolished for affordable housing.

Transbay Terminal
Designed in the Streamline Moderne style by San Francisco architect Timothy Pfleuger, San Francisco’s Transbay Terminal was built in 1939 at First and Mission Streets as the terminal for East Bay trains using the newly opened Bay Bridge. At the time, trucks and trains used the lower deck of the Bay Bridge, and automobiles operated in both directions on the upper deck. In 1958, the lower deck of the Bay Bridge was converted to automobile traffic only, the train system was dismantled and by 1959 the inter-modal Transbay Terminal was converted into a bus-only facility. The new Transbay Terminal project demolished the 1939 building two years ago to make room for the Pelli Clarke Pelli designed transit center.
Sutro Baths and Cliff House
There have been three different Cliff Houses over the years, the first dating back to 1863. Adolf Sutro bought it in 1881, but in 1894 it was destroyed in a fire. Sutro rebuilt it in a grandiose Victorian style and it reopened in 1896. Fire struck again in 1907, so Sutro’s daughter Emma rebuilt it in 1909 in a neo-classical style and it is largely the building that exists today.

In 1881, Adolph Sutro bought most of the western headlands of San Francisco and made his home there. In 1896 he opened the three acre Sutro Bath House, with a classic Greek portal that opened to a massive glass enclosure containing seven swimming pools at various temperatures. Sutro’s grandson converted part of the Baths into an ice-skating rink in 1937, a but in 1964, developers bought the site with plans to replace the Baths with high-rise apartments. After demolition was started in 1966, a fire destroyed the rest of the site. The apartment scheme was never realized, and now the ruins are part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area managed by the National Park Service.

Some other honorable mentions include the Fitz-Hugh Building (now Sak's Fifth Ave), I. Magnin & Co, City of Paris, Balboa Building at 593 Market Street, and St Paulus Church at Jefferson Square.

Union Square Park

Union Square Park, San Francisco, CA 94108 415 781 7880

Sutro Baths

1004 Point Lobos Avenue, , CA 94121 Visit Website