Frank Lloyd Wright, considered by many the most famed architect to be born in the United States, has a single building in San Francisco. The Union Square shop at 140 Maiden Lane is one of his only remaining retail spaces and has been a city landmark since 1974. Now the city Planning Department is looking at how to landmark the interior of the shop, which is really the highlight of the building.
Inside, a spiral staircase similar to Wright's famous Guggenheim swoop remains, as do a sky-light ceiling with acrylic domes, a brass hanging planter, and mahogany cabinets. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the building has been vacant since last summer when Xanadu Gallery shuttered. Before new occupants move in, the city is trying to determine exactly what parts of the interior must be maintained in their current forms.
The spiral staircase is especially important, given that it predates Wright's Guggenheim work by more than a decade and served as a "test" for the larger work, according to the Chronicle. 140 Maiden Lane was named as one of Wright's 17 essential works by the American Institute of Architects. With tenants like a restaurant or a European clothier looking to move in, Planning's aim is to definitively spell out exactly what can and cannot be done to the very special building.
· S.F. move to protect interior of Frank Lloyd Wright building [SF Chronicle]