San Francisco’s 8 Octavia: Modern architecture with old-fashioned neighborliness

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8 Octavia: Modern architecture with old-fashioned neighborliness

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8 Octavia: Modern architecture with old-fashioned neighborliness

Like any consumer product, buildings designed but not yet built may have an expiration date. The longer that construction is delayed, the more likely that a new architect will be brought in to freshen things up. Or the original design will be retained but watered down to trim costs.

What a relief, then, that San Francisco’s most highly anticipated residential building so far this decade looks even better in real life than on paper.

The building is 8 Octavia, a long wedge of concrete and glass softened by aluminum blinds of icy blue. It begins where the Central Freeway touches down, at the junction of Market Street and Octavia Boulevard, and it stands as an eye-catching symbol of the city’s changing map as well as our growing acceptance — at least in certain neighborhoods — of buildings that exult in the here and now.

The design is by Stanley Saitowitz, who credits as his inspiration a source you wouldn’t expect: the Fallon Building across the street, built in 1894 and preserved as part of the San Francisco LGBT Community Center. []

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