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The exterior of the Heineman Building in San Francisco. The facade is white with ornate gold design. Patricia Chang

San Francisco’s most underrated buildings

Overlooked wonders that deserve a second look

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We asked readers to reveal the buildings they love most but don’t get their due—which is to say, buildings other than the Transamerica Pyramid, the Shell Building, Conservatory of Flowers, or the Sentinel. Those structures are already iconic.

Sure, architecture geeks might know about cult favorites, but what about nascent design savvy folks who want to go above and beyond Coit Tower or St. Mary’s Cathedral? If you’re looking to learn more about the under-the-radar structures around San Francisco, this map, selected by Curbed SF readers, is a great place to start.

Note: By no means is this list complete. This list will continue to grow and update as readers add more to the list. Is your favorite building missing? Tell us about it below.

Check out San Francisco’s most iconic buildings. While you’re at it, pore over San Francisco’s most beautiful interiors.

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1. Presidio Officers' Club

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50 Moraga Ave
San Francisco, CA 94129
(415) 561-4323
Visit Website

“Maybe it’s the setting, maybe its nostalgia for climbing on the cannons as a child, but it’s maybe my favorite adobe building I can think of. (It is adobe, right?)” — jwdmeow

[Editor’s note: Yes, it’s adobe style!]

A post shared by Victor Yee (@victorwyee) on

2. Hilton San Francisco Financial District

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750 Kearny St
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 433-6600
Visit Website

This 27-story hotel located in Chinatown’s Portsmouth Square, which opened in 1971, is a brutalist style beast that, while impossible to ignore, rarely gets its due respect. Pity.

The exterior of the Hilton San Francisco in the Financial District. The facade is white. Photo by Brock Keeling

3. 50 California

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50 California Street, 50 California St
San Francisco, CA 94111

Designed by Welton Becket and Associates and competed in 1972, this minimalist beast has lines vertical lines for days.

The exterior of 50 California in San Francisco. The facade has vertical lines. Photo by Brock Keeling

4. 100 California

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100 California St
San Francisco, CA 94111

Built by Bethlehem Steel in 1960, this Financial District structure is lauded as one of the first post-war modernist buildings in the area.

The exterior of 100 California in San Francisco. The facade is glass. Photo by Brock Keeling

5. 1641 Jackson

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1641 Jackson St
San Francisco, CA 94109

There are a handful of beautiful auto shop structures in the area, but this is one of the best. Dig that stunning arched facade.

The exterior of 1641 Jackson in San Francisco. The facade is white with an arched entrance. There is a sign on the building that says: BMW Maintenance. Photo by Brock Keeling

6. 101 California

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101 California Street, 101 California St
San Francisco, CA 94111

“I love 101 California. [Designed by] architect Phillip Johnson, I love the way it looks different from different angles, the way it appears to float above its base. Love the view of it from Front Street.” — CESF

The exterior of 101 California in San Francisco. The facade is glass with multiple support structures at the base. Photos by Brock Keeling

7. 155 Sansome

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155 Sansome St
San Francisco, CA 94104

“I don’t live in your beautiful city, but I fell in love with this when I walked past it.” — Priscilla Lynch

8. Heineman building

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130 Bush St
San Francisco, CA 94104

It’s easy to miss this downtown building. Blocked from a clear view on Market Street by midcentury showstopper One Bush, passersby must veer up the start of Bush Street in order to see and appreciate it in all its trim glory.

“Building is much like toothpick,” read the headline of a 1909 issue of San Francisco Call.

Designed by G.A. Applegarth and christened the Heineman building, 130 Bush began as a necktie, belt, and suspender factory. In fact, it was one of the first buildings in the area, opening in 1910, four years after the 1906 earthquake.

The exterior of the Heineman Building in San Francisco. The facade is white with ornate gold design. Photo by Patricia Chang

9. One Bush Plaza

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One Bush Plaza, 1 Bush St
San Francisco, CA 94104

“The Crown Zellerbach HQ, now One Bush Street, is SF’s first international-style curtain-wall building. Completed in 1959 by SOM, it’s a handsome tower with a glass-enclosed lobby. The building is set back from the street with an orderly plaza that features a Jetsons-era round retail space. It all comes together to project cool, mid-century Mad Men vibe.” — Andy Bosselman

The exterior of One Bush Plaza in San Francisco. The facade is glass. Photo by Brock Keeling

10. Fire Station 35

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399 The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA 94105

“When walking along the Embarcadero, I always appreciate seeing Red’s Java House and Fire Station 35.” — 49Giants

A post shared by Rose Lee (@sideways_ca) on

11. 130 Montgomery

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130 Montgomery St
San Francisco, CA 94104

“I like the art deco front of 130 Montgomery. Lots of nice little buildings like that in the Financial District.” — pinchelobster

The exterior of 130 Montgomery in San Francisco. The facade is tan with sculptural designs. Photos by Brock Keeling

12. 1199 Bush

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1199 Bush St
San Francisco, CA 94109

This contemporary behemoth at the corner of Bush and Hyde features a slew of medical offices inside.

The exterior of 1199 Bush in San Francisco. The facade is red brick and glass. Photos by Brock Keeling

13. J.P. Morgan Building

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560 Mission St Floor 23
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 315-8178
Visit Website

“JP Morgan Chase is a handsome, underrated building.” —  Koyaanisqatsi Weltshmerz

14. Marines' Memorial Club and Hotel

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609 Sutter St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 673-6672
Visit Website

“I love that little balcony!” — jwdmeow

The exterior of Marines Memorial Club and Hotel. The door has an elaborately designed frame.

15. V. C. Morris Gift Shop

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140 Maiden Ln
San Francisco, CA 94108

Frank Lloyd Wright’s V.C. Morris Gift Shop at 140 Maiden Lane, whose circular ramp was the prototype design for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, is now an Italian men’s clothing store. “Upon its completion, it electrified the architectural world not only for its architecture, but for its radical interpretation of a retail store,” said the San Francisco’s Historic Preservation Commission who voted unanimously in 2016 to preserve the interior.

16. 700 Market

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700 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94102

“As an architect, I really like to look at the detailing of 700 Market, which is an historic 1902 Beaux-Arts banking building with sophisticated additions to the right (1964) and left (2010?) somehow match the rhythm of the original without actually copying anything.” — redseca2

“[W]hen coming down Third Street approaching Market, I love seeing the Mutual Savings Bank Building at 700 Market, alongside its modern neighbor to the west—I think they for a make a handsome pair.” — 49Giants

The exterior of 700 Market in San Francisco. The facade is white with an orange roof. Photo by Brock Keeling

17. PG&E Embarcadero substation

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405 Folsom St
San Francisco, CA 94105

The now-demolished Embarcadero Freeway used to hide this utilitarian PG&E transformer station. But when the roadway went down and condo and apartment towers started to rise, it came into full view. Urban design critic John King writes that the substation tells of a time when downtown SF was a place to work, not live. (Note: The adjoining park was done by Stanley Saitowitz.)

“Love, love, love the substation. So brutal, in a good way,” said reader 49Giants.

A post shared by Brock Keeling (@brockkeeling) on

18. Alcazar Theatre

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650 Geary St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 441-6655

Built in 1917 as a Shriner’s Temple, the Geary Street building was designed in Exotic Revival style to look like an Islamic temple. The June 1917 edition of Architect and Engineer described the Alcazar Theatre as “an adaptation from Alhambra, a building that stands as the highest mark of Arabian art and civilization.”

Used as a temple until 1970, it is now a theater that shows cabaret and off-Broadway shows.

“I’d love to see it get more love and use,” says QandA.

The exterior of the Alcazar Theatre in San Francisco. The facade is tan with ornate design over the windows and door.

19. Carillon Tower

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1100 Gough St
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 474-5494
Visit Website

Built in the 1960s, this residential tower is delightfully bulbous with stacks of balconies surrounding the circular structure. It pairs nicely with nearby midcentury marvel St. Mary’s Cathedral.

“Many towers radiate self-importance,” notes John King in his book Cityscapes 2: Reading the Architecture of San Francisco. “This one just wants its residents to enjoy life and savor the views, and who can argue with that?

20. Roosevelt Middle School

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460 Arguello Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 750-8446
Visit Website

Built in the 1930s, this school was designed by famed architect Timothy Pflueger, who also created the Castro Theater and 450 Sutter.

A post shared by Lovely Films (@lovely.films) on

21. 1019 Market

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1019 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94103

Built in 1909 by architect George Applegarth for the Eastern Outfitting Co. department store, this Mid-Market looker is highlighted by a broad five-story bay flanked by two Corinthian columns.

22. San Francisco Columbarium and Funeral Home

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1 Loraine Ct
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 771-0717
Visit Website

For those who want their final resting place to be in the city, this is the last spot where you can be legally interred. This columbarium has been recognized as a significant contributor to the city’s architectural landscape with its large stained glass windows, and blended baroque and neoclassical design.

23. 625 Third

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625 3rd St
San Francisco, CA 94107

“[A]mid most of SoMa’s generic warehouses, I’ve always appreciated the style of 625 Third Street, the former Rolling Stone offices” — hunterrible

The exterior of 625 Third in San Francisco. The facade is red brick. There is a United States flag on the roof.

24. San Francisco Federal Building

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San Francisco Federal Building, 90 7th St
San Francisco, CA 94103

Andy Bosselman says of the polarizing Federal Building in SoMa:

“Perhaps the most hated new building in San Francisco, the San Francisco Federal Building by Thom Mayne / Morphosis, is unquestionably underrated. Whatever you think of its look, its creativity and idealism are a radical change from the safe, boring, minimally functional architecture that the federal government produced in the decades after World War II. In the ’90s, people within the federal bureaucracy created the Design Excellence Program. These people successfully turned around decades of banal buildings and even found a way to take significant risks in the name of design. This may be one of the program’s most extraordinary accomplishments. If you are among the building’s haters, take the free, self-guided walking tour. It might grow on you.”

25. 1234 Howard

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1035 Howard St
San Francisco, CA 94103

Stanley Saitowitz, arguably the city’s most important living designer, deserves several mentions on this list. But 1234 Howard is one of the firm’s best designs, and the most emblematic of his vision for in-fill architecture. Most notable here is his use of louvered shades. In a word, stunning.

The exterior of 1234 Howard in San Francisco. The facade has gray shades that can be moved up and down the front of the building. Photos courtesy of Natoma Architects

26. Mangrum and Otter Building

Copy Link
1235 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94103

“I do love the tile work on 1235 Mission Street” — hunterrible

The exterior of the Mangrum and Otter Building in San Francisco. There is elaborate inlaid design around the windows and doors. Photos by Brock Keeling

27. 1081 Haight

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1081 Haight St
San Francisco, CA 94117

One of many—many—stunning Victorians in the neighborhood.

A post shared by Sharon Kille Jenkins (@skj59) on

28. 450 South Street Garage

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450 South St
San Francisco, CA 94158

The abstract-modern garage at 450 South Street, noted for its perforated white aluminum and winner of the 2010 AIA San Francisco Excellence in Architecture Award, can be found next to the upcoming Chase Stadium.

29. CJN Nogueiro Dentistry

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2484 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110

In a sea of vapid renovations and residential hig-hrises, this little midcentury facade on Mission Street never fails to delight.

The exterior of CJN Nogueiro Dentistry in San Francisco. The facade has glass and orange panels. Photo by Brock Keeling

30. Hua-Zang Si

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3134 22nd St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 920-9816
Visit Website

“For years, I lived half a block up from the Hua Zang Si temple at 3134 22nd St. The red and grey color combo is badass and the building is just so damn striking. Its fierceness is softened by the lovely monks(?) who sweep the street everyday and the chill Buddha holding court behind the building’s glass front doors.” — 49Giants

31. Forest Hill Station

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Originally christened Laguna Honda Station (lettering with its old name remains carved on the station headhouse), the station was designed in the classical revival style. At the surface level, period pilasters and archways remain. The coffered ceiling and crown moldings are also a treat to behold. And the platform level subway tile in white, black, and red checker pattern is some of the finest in the entire system.

The metro station, which turned 100 this year, is San Francisco’s oldest Muni station.

The exterior of Forest Hill Station in San Francisco. The facade is tan with an orange roof. There is a fire truck in front of the station. Photo by Patricia Chang

32. Forest Hill Clubhouse

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381 Magellan Ave
San Francisco, CA 94116

“This may not be a home, but I’ve always loved the Forest Hill Clubhouse by Maybeck,” noted reader lane7.

Indeed, the home was designed in 1919 by acclaimed architect Bernard Maybeck, famous for his Palace of Fine Arts. It’s one of the city’s best examples of the Arts and Crafts style, featuring a great room with a soaring beamed ceiling, detailed original woodwork, and original light fixtures with mica shades.

“After extensive renovations from April to October of 2013, the Clubhouse shines again in its original glory—but outfitted with modern-day amenities like a brand-new state-of-the art catering kitchen and ADA accessible restrooms,” notes the clubhouse’s website.

33. Merced Manor Reservoir

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Merced Manor Reservoir
San Francisco, CA 94132

Built in 1936 and designed by Willis Polk, this classical structure is a 9.5-million gallon water facility. Highlights here include such embellishments as fish and Neptune’s trident. Over the entrance door there are several sculptures as well as the inscription “Let they fountains be dispersed abroad and rivers of waters in the streets.”

34. Glen Park Station

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2901 Diamond St
San Francisco, CA 94131
(415) 989-2278

Stunning. Daring. Yuck. No public transit station in the Bay Area elicits more varied responses than this concrete beauty in Glen Park. Designed by Corlett+Spackman and Ernest Born, the station is noteworthy for adopting Brutalism. But don’t let the aggressive name fool you—this concrete-loving midcentury architecture style has produced some of the finest works in San Francisco and the world over. (So much so that architects and preservationists go to battle when a Brutalist work is in danger of demolition.)

The exterior of Glen Park Station in San Francisco. The facade is grey with a sloped roof. Photo by Patricia Chang

35. Crown Towers Apartments

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666 Post St
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 673-2242

The Art Deco/Gothic high-rise in the Tendernob, built in 1925 by John C. Hladik, originally opened as a space for men who wanted a pied-a-terre near the neighborhood’s gentlemen-only clubs (e.g., the Bohemian Club, the Olympic Club). The building is also noted for its crimson hue (aka Downing Street red) as well as its Satan-tinged address at 666 Post.

36. Hallam Street condos

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Hallam St
San Francisco, CA 94103

Amid a sea of warehouses and Victorians in South of Market, these modernist condos hidden on Hallam Street, just off Folsom, are a sight to behold.

37. Ocean Park Motel

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2690 46th Ave
San Francisco, CA 94116
(415) 566-7020
Visit Website

Opening in 1937, this Streamline Moderne motel in the Outer Sunset, designed by Conrad Kett, was honored by the Art Deco Society in 1987 for preservation. It’s also noted for its nautical whimsy and neon signage.

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1. Presidio Officers' Club

50 Moraga Ave, San Francisco, CA 94129

“Maybe it’s the setting, maybe its nostalgia for climbing on the cannons as a child, but it’s maybe my favorite adobe building I can think of. (It is adobe, right?)” — jwdmeow

[Editor’s note: Yes, it’s adobe style!]

50 Moraga Ave
San Francisco, CA 94129

2. Hilton San Francisco Financial District

750 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA 94108
The exterior of the Hilton San Francisco in the Financial District. The facade is white. Photo by Brock Keeling

This 27-story hotel located in Chinatown’s Portsmouth Square, which opened in 1971, is a brutalist style beast that, while impossible to ignore, rarely gets its due respect. Pity.

750 Kearny St
San Francisco, CA 94108

3. 50 California

50 California Street, 50 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111
The exterior of 50 California in San Francisco. The facade has vertical lines. Photo by Brock Keeling

Designed by Welton Becket and Associates and competed in 1972, this minimalist beast has lines vertical lines for days.

50 California Street, 50 California St
San Francisco, CA 94111

4. 100 California

100 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111
The exterior of 100 California in San Francisco. The facade is glass. Photo by Brock Keeling

Built by Bethlehem Steel in 1960, this Financial District structure is lauded as one of the first post-war modernist buildings in the area.

100 California St
San Francisco, CA 94111

5. 1641 Jackson

1641 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA 94109
The exterior of 1641 Jackson in San Francisco. The facade is white with an arched entrance. There is a sign on the building that says: BMW Maintenance. Photo by Brock Keeling

There are a handful of beautiful auto shop structures in the area, but this is one of the best. Dig that stunning arched facade.

1641 Jackson St
San Francisco, CA 94109

6. 101 California

101 California Street, 101 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111
The exterior of 101 California in San Francisco. The facade is glass with multiple support structures at the base. Photos by Brock Keeling

“I love 101 California. [Designed by] architect Phillip Johnson, I love the way it looks different from different angles, the way it appears to float above its base. Love the view of it from Front Street.” — CESF

101 California Street, 101 California St
San Francisco, CA 94111

7. 155 Sansome

155 Sansome St, San Francisco, CA 94104

“I don’t live in your beautiful city, but I fell in love with this when I walked past it.” — Priscilla Lynch

155 Sansome St
San Francisco, CA 94104

8. Heineman building

130 Bush St, San Francisco, CA 94104
The exterior of the Heineman Building in San Francisco. The facade is white with ornate gold design. Photo by Patricia Chang

It’s easy to miss this downtown building. Blocked from a clear view on Market Street by midcentury showstopper One Bush, passersby must veer up the start of Bush Street in order to see and appreciate it in all its trim glory.

“Building is much like toothpick,” read the headline of a 1909 issue of San Francisco Call.

Designed by G.A. Applegarth and christened the Heineman building, 130 Bush began as a necktie, belt, and suspender factory. In fact, it was one of the first buildings in the area, opening in 1910, four years after the 1906 earthquake.

130 Bush St
San Francisco, CA 94104

9. One Bush Plaza

One Bush Plaza, 1 Bush St, San Francisco, CA 94104
The exterior of One Bush Plaza in San Francisco. The facade is glass. Photo by Brock Keeling

“The Crown Zellerbach HQ, now One Bush Street, is SF’s first international-style curtain-wall building. Completed in 1959 by SOM, it’s a handsome tower with a glass-enclosed lobby. The building is set back from the street with an orderly plaza that features a Jetsons-era round retail space. It all comes together to project cool, mid-century Mad Men vibe.” — Andy Bosselman

One Bush Plaza, 1 Bush St
San Francisco, CA 94104

10. Fire Station 35

399 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94105

“When walking along the Embarcadero, I always appreciate seeing Red’s Java House and Fire Station 35.” — 49Giants

399 The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA 94105

11. 130 Montgomery

130 Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94104
The exterior of 130 Montgomery in San Francisco. The facade is tan with sculptural designs. Photos by Brock Keeling

“I like the art deco front of 130 Montgomery. Lots of nice little buildings like that in the Financial District.” — pinchelobster

130 Montgomery St
San Francisco, CA 94104

12. 1199 Bush

1199 Bush St, San Francisco, CA 94109
The exterior of 1199 Bush in San Francisco. The facade is red brick and glass. Photos by Brock Keeling

This contemporary behemoth at the corner of Bush and Hyde features a slew of medical offices inside.

1199 Bush St
San Francisco, CA 94109

13. J.P. Morgan Building

560 Mission St Floor 23, San Francisco, CA 94105

“JP Morgan Chase is a handsome, underrated building.” —  Koyaanisqatsi Weltshmerz

560 Mission St Floor 23
San Francisco, CA 94105

14. Marines' Memorial Club and Hotel

609 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94102
The exterior of Marines Memorial Club and Hotel. The door has an elaborately designed frame.

“I love that little balcony!” — jwdmeow

609 Sutter St
San Francisco, CA 94102

15. V. C. Morris Gift Shop

140 Maiden Ln, San Francisco, CA 94108

Frank Lloyd Wright’s V.C. Morris Gift Shop at 140 Maiden Lane, whose circular ramp was the prototype design for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, is now an Italian men’s clothing store. “Upon its completion, it electrified the architectural world not only for its architecture, but for its radical interpretation of a retail store,” said the San Francisco’s Historic Preservation Commission who voted unanimously in 2016 to preserve the interior.

140 Maiden Ln
San Francisco, CA 94108

16. 700 Market

700 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94102
The exterior of 700 Market in San Francisco. The facade is white with an orange roof. Photo by Brock Keeling

“As an architect, I really like to look at the detailing of 700 Market, which is an historic 1902 Beaux-Arts banking building with sophisticated additions to the right (1964) and left (2010?) somehow match the rhythm of the original without actually copying anything.” — redseca2

“[W]hen coming down Third Street approaching Market, I love seeing the Mutual Savings Bank Building at 700 Market, alongside its modern neighbor to the west—I think they for a make a handsome pair.” — 49Giants

700 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94102

17. PG&E Embarcadero substation

405 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94105

The now-demolished Embarcadero Freeway used to hide this utilitarian PG&E transformer station. But when the roadway went down and condo and apartment towers started to rise, it came into full view. Urban design critic John King writes that the substation tells of a time when downtown SF was a place to work, not live. (Note: The adjoining park was done by Stanley Saitowitz.)

“Love, love, love the substation. So brutal, in a good way,” said reader 49Giants.

405 Folsom St
San Francisco, CA 94105

18. Alcazar Theatre

650 Geary St, San Francisco, CA 94102
The exterior of the Alcazar Theatre in San Francisco. The facade is tan with ornate design over the windows and door.

Built in 1917 as a Shriner’s Temple, the Geary Street building was designed in Exotic Revival style to look like an Islamic temple. The June 1917 edition of Architect and Engineer described the Alcazar Theatre as “an adaptation from Alhambra, a building that stands as the highest mark of Arabian art and civilization.”

Used as a temple until 1970, it is now a theater that shows cabaret and off-Broadway shows.

“I’d love to see it get more love and use,” says QandA.

650 Geary St
San Francisco, CA 94102

19. Carillon Tower

1100 Gough St, San Francisco, CA 94109

Built in the 1960s, this residential tower is delightfully bulbous with stacks of balconies surrounding the circular structure. It pairs nicely with nearby midcentury marvel St. Mary’s Cathedral.

“Many towers radiate self-importance,” notes John King in his book Cityscapes 2: Reading the Architecture of San Francisco. “This one just wants its residents to enjoy life and savor the views, and who can argue with that?

1100 Gough St
San Francisco, CA 94109

20. Roosevelt Middle School

460 Arguello Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94118

Built in the 1930s, this school was designed by famed architect Timothy Pflueger, who also created the Castro Theater and 450 Sutter.

460 Arguello Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94118

21. 1019 Market

1019 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Built in 1909 by architect George Applegarth for the Eastern Outfitting Co. department store, this Mid-Market looker is highlighted by a broad five-story bay flanked by two Corinthian columns.

1019 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94103

22. San Francisco Columbarium and Funeral Home

1 Loraine Ct, San Francisco, CA 94118

For those who want their final resting place to be in the city, this is the last spot where you can be legally interred. This columbarium has been recognized as a significant contributor to the city’s architectural landscape with its large stained glass windows, and blended baroque and neoclassical design.

1 Loraine Ct
San Francisco, CA 94118

23. 625 Third

625 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94107
The exterior of 625 Third in San Francisco. The facade is red brick. There is a United States flag on the roof.

“[A]mid most of SoMa’s generic warehouses, I’ve always appreciated the style of 625 Third Street, the former Rolling Stone offices” — hunterrible

625 3rd St
San Francisco, CA 94107

24. San Francisco Federal Building

San Francisco Federal Building, 90 7th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Andy Bosselman says of the polarizing Federal Building in SoMa:

“Perhaps the most hated new building in San Francisco, the San Francisco Federal Building by Thom Mayne / Morphosis, is unquestionably underrated. Whatever you think of its look, its creativity and idealism are a radical change from the safe, boring, minimally functional architecture that the federal government produced in the decades after World War II. In the ’90s, people within the federal bureaucracy created the Design Excellence Program. These people successfully turned around decades of banal buildings and even found a way to take significant risks in the name of design. This may be one of the program’s most extraordinary accomplishments. If you are among the building’s haters, take the free, self-guided walking tour. It might grow on you.”

San Francisco Federal Building, 90 7th St
San Francisco, CA 94103

25. 1234 Howard

1035 Howard St, San Francisco, CA 94103
The exterior of 1234 Howard in San Francisco. The facade has gray shades that can be moved up and down the front of the building. Photos courtesy of Natoma Architects

Stanley Saitowitz, arguably the city’s most important living designer, deserves several mentions on this list. But 1234 Howard is one of the firm’s best designs, and the most emblematic of his vision for in-fill architecture. Most notable here is his use of louvered shades. In a word, stunning.

1035 Howard St
San Francisco, CA 94103

26. Mangrum and Otter Building

1235 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94103
The exterior of the Mangrum and Otter Building in San Francisco. There is elaborate inlaid design around the windows and doors. Photos by Brock Keeling

“I do love the tile work on 1235 Mission Street” — hunterrible

1235 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94103

27. 1081 Haight

1081 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

One of many—many—stunning Victorians in the neighborhood.

1081 Haight St
San Francisco, CA 94117

28. 450 South Street Garage

450 South St, San Francisco, CA 94158

The abstract-modern garage at 450 South Street, noted for its perforated white aluminum and winner of the 2010 AIA San Francisco Excellence in Architecture Award, can be found next to the upcoming Chase Stadium.

450 South St
San Francisco, CA 94158

29. CJN Nogueiro Dentistry

2484 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110
The exterior of CJN Nogueiro Dentistry in San Francisco. The facade has glass and orange panels. Photo by Brock Keeling

In a sea of vapid renovations and residential hig-hrises, this little midcentury facade on Mission Street never fails to delight.

2484 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110

30. Hua-Zang Si

3134 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94110

“For years, I lived half a block up from the Hua Zang Si temple at 3134 22nd St. The red and grey color combo is badass and the building is just so damn striking. Its fierceness is softened by the lovely monks(?) who sweep the street everyday and the chill Buddha holding court behind the building’s glass front doors.” — 49Giants

3134 22nd St
San Francisco, CA 94110

31. Forest Hill Station

San Francisco, CA 94116
The exterior of Forest Hill Station in San Francisco. The facade is tan with an orange roof. There is a fire truck in front of the station. Photo by Patricia Chang

Originally christened Laguna Honda Station (lettering with its old name remains carved on the station headhouse), the station was designed in the classical revival style. At the surface level, period pilasters and archways remain. The coffered ceiling and crown moldings are also a treat to behold. And the platform level subway tile in white, black, and red checker pattern is some of the finest in the entire system.

The metro station, which turned 100 this year, is San Francisco’s oldest Muni station.

32. Forest Hill Clubhouse

381 Magellan Ave, San Francisco, CA 94116

“This may not be a home, but I’ve always loved the Forest Hill Clubhouse by Maybeck,” noted reader lane7.

Indeed, the home was designed in 1919 by acclaimed architect Bernard Maybeck, famous for his Palace of Fine Arts. It’s one of the city’s best examples of the Arts and Crafts style, featuring a great room with a soaring beamed ceiling, detailed original woodwork, and original light fixtures with mica shades.

“After extensive renovations from April to October of 2013, the Clubhouse shines again in its original glory—but outfitted with modern-day amenities like a brand-new state-of-the art catering kitchen and ADA accessible restrooms,” notes the clubhouse’s website.

381 Magellan Ave
San Francisco, CA 94116

33. Merced Manor Reservoir

Merced Manor Reservoir, San Francisco, CA 94132

Built in 1936 and designed by Willis Polk, this classical structure is a 9.5-million gallon water facility. Highlights here include such embellishments as fish and Neptune’s trident. Over the entrance door there are several sculptures as well as the inscription “Let they fountains be dispersed abroad and rivers of waters in the streets.”

Merced Manor Reservoir
San Francisco, CA 94132

34. Glen Park Station

2901 Diamond St, San Francisco, CA 94131
The exterior of Glen Park Station in San Francisco. The facade is grey with a sloped roof. Photo by Patricia Chang

Stunning. Daring. Yuck. No public transit station in the Bay Area elicits more varied responses than this concrete beauty in Glen Park. Designed by Corlett+Spackman and Ernest Born, the station is noteworthy for adopting Brutalism. But don’t let the aggressive name fool you—this concrete-loving midcentury architecture style has produced some of the finest works in San Francisco and the world over. (So much so that architects and preservationists go to battle when a Brutalist work is in danger of demolition.)

2901 Diamond St
San Francisco, CA 94131

35. Crown Towers Apartments

666 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94109

The Art Deco/Gothic high-rise in the Tendernob, built in 1925 by John C. Hladik, originally opened as a space for men who wanted a pied-a-terre near the neighborhood’s gentlemen-only clubs (e.g., the Bohemian Club, the Olympic Club). The building is also noted for its crimson hue (aka Downing Street red) as well as its Satan-tinged address at 666 Post.

666 Post St
San Francisco, CA 94109

36. Hallam Street condos

Hallam St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Amid a sea of warehouses and Victorians in South of Market, these modernist condos hidden on Hallam Street, just off Folsom, are a sight to behold.

Hallam St
San Francisco, CA 94103

37. Ocean Park Motel

2690 46th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94116

Opening in 1937, this Streamline Moderne motel in the Outer Sunset, designed by Conrad Kett, was honored by the Art Deco Society in 1987 for preservation. It’s also noted for its nautical whimsy and neon signage.

2690 46th Ave
San Francisco, CA 94116