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.

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