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Sausalito midcentury by Monterey Bay Aquarium architect asks $2.85 million

Please don’t tap the glass

A glass-faced midcentury house surrounded by trees. Courtesy Deborah Fletcher, Sotheby's International Realty

Midcentury homes, with their glass surfaces and right angles, can at times put observers in mind of an aquarium. In the case of 9 Platt Avenue in Sausalito, the resemblance may not be accidental.

After all, realtor Deborah Fletcher says that the three bed, three bath house circa 1951 came by way of none other than Joseph Esherick, designer of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and also a creator of Mills College and Stanford buildings as well as a former UC Berkeley dean himself.

Esherick probably wouldn’t have liked the suggestion that he had anything approaching a recognizable personal style, though. As his 1998 New York Times obituary explained:

''The ideal kind of building is one you don't see,'' Mr. Esherick liked to say. Accordingly his buildings were designed to blend into their surroundings and serve their occupants, not shout his name. [...He] said, ''I'm not interested in doing a signature building, but I would be interested in doing a good building to satisfy somebody's problem. My signature isn't part of the problem.''

Esherick, as the Times put it, preferred a building that was as similar to the surrounding landscape as possible.

Nevertheless, his work still draws the eye and the exclamations of fans. When his own North Bay home came up for rent in 2016 we declared it a “holy relic.”

Note that a previous listing for this same home distinguishes it as a product of Esherick’s office rather than Esherick himself. But Fletcher tells Curbed SF the present owner remains confident that there’s nothing fishy about the aquarium architect’s credit on this place.

In any case, 9 Platt certainly does display Esherick’s propensity for blending in from the street—or perhaps conceals rather than displays it.

The place got an update in the ‘90s from Michael Rex Architects, whose own Sausalito Cliff House bears some resemblance to this one, albeit it in more showy way.

The listing price for 9 Platt: $2.85 million.