Tafline Laylin

Classic Victorian Facade Hides Gaping Parking Garage in San Francisco

by , 04/25/11
filed under: Architecture

sustainable design, historic district, Beausoleil Architects, Haight-Ashbury, Victorian facade, folding facade, eco-design, green design, San Francisco, reclaimed materials

The seventies may be over, but mind-altering architecture is alive and well with this incredible folding Victorian facade cum garage in San Francisco. Corey and Ben McMills of McMills Construction needed parking space for their tenants, but since their property is in the Haight-Ashbury historic district, the city would not allow them to tear out the facade to install a parking garage. Instead, they hired Beausoleil Architects to convert the facade - existing wood, glass and all – into folding panels that open and close to the big gaping parking garage.


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San Francisco’s city planning department mandates that the fronts of buildings of historic design must be left intact, and that any changes should comply with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings. This essentially means the architects were not permitted to tear away the original ground floor facade, which is fronted by a three-sided bay window.

They, however, really needed the parking space. Their solution was to prop up the old Victorian apartment building on concrete footings (which made it more earthquake-proof), clear out the ground floor’s wooden posts, and then convert the facade into doors. All of the existing materials were essentially split into separate frames and now move in concert via two floor mounted hydraulic activators that rotate the doors on pivot hinges. Driving by the closed door, it is virtually impossible to know that where there was once a ground floor, there are now four parking spaces!

+ Beausoleil Architects

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4 Comments

  1. kopmis January 19, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Car slaves

  2. lazyreader May 4, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Come on Peak Oil. Stop being a doomsday cheerleader. We’re not running out of oil, we’re running out of simple Saudi liquid oil. Alberta, Canada alone has more Tar sand oil than Saudi Arabia alone has liquid oil. And Colorado has several times more oil shale than Canada has tar sands. Then theres the hundreds of billions of tons of hydrocarbons locked in the ocean depths. We have enough hydrocarbon fuels to last nearly indefinitely in the human time frame of tens of thousands of years. I have no idea what we’ll be driving 100 years from now, but certainly not Hummers and Ford Expeditions (at least not 2011 models).

  3. Jym Dyer April 26, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    =v= We’re at peak oil, have several oil wars going, and enough climate change underway for the denialists to become strident in their panic. So what do we do in the second densest city on the continent? Why, we come up with a way to shoehorn even more cars into what should be living space.

    I guess preserving character doesn’t include front yard gardens and sidewalks that people can actually walk on. Notice the decidedly post-Victorian garish orange NO PARKING sign, a futile attempt to deter others from blocking the sidewalk with cars. (I say others because in San Francisco, those who put in curb cuts tend to think that redefines the sidewalk as “their driveway” and feel free to park there themselves.)

    That other no-Victorian detail, the motion-sensor light, is positioned so as to flash in the face of anyone with the temerity to use the sidewalk when a car isn’t parked there.

  4. lazyreader April 26, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Don’t old city neighborhoods like have alleys in the back with rear garages to permit parking in the back. Why needlessly spend money on a customization when the space could have been used to make a nice den or living room or library.

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