1601 Larkin Rendering as Proposed

As we first reported yesterday, San Francisco’s Planning Commission is slated to meet behind closed doors with legal counsel to discuss the pending litigation and consideration of settlement proposals with respect to the proposed development of 1601 Larkin Street, a site on which the dilapidated First St. John’s United Methodist Church currently stands.

First St. John's United Methodist Church at Larkin and Clay (Image Source: MapJack.com)

The proposed development which was blocked by Planning last year featured the modern Stanley Saitowitz design as rendered above. But as a plugged-in reader notes, it would appear that Ian Birchall has been quietly drafted to redesign the development as “a contemporary interpretation of a European city apartment building” with “French-style balconies and tall glassy bays in a crisp limestone-like exterior cladding.”

1601 Larkin Ian Birchall Rendering: Night

Perhaps it’s an attempt to “settle” on a less modern design which San Francisco’s Planning Commission might find more appealing (and which the building’s more conservative Russian Hill neighbors might be less likely to appeal).

1601 Larkin Ian Birchall Rendering: Day

Which brings us right back to our 2010 piece entitled, “1601 Larkin Reignites An Architects Versus Planning Design Debate.”  Yes, it’s déjà vu all over again.

Behind Closed Doors: 1601 Larkin Settlement Discussions This Week [SocketSite]
Development Of 1601 Larkin Disapproved By Planning Commission [SocketSite]
1601 Larkin: Comments, Responses And Latest Renderings [SocketSite]
Planning Disapproves Of Proposed Height For 1601 Larkin Project [SocketSite]
1601 Larkin Reignites An Architects Versus Planning Design Debate [SocketSite]

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Joe

    So disappointing. I hate the new design, but I hate the mouldering church more. Just effing get going on it already. We’re a small provincial town, and we take ourselves incredibly seriously.

  2. Posted by sf

    Asshatastic!

  3. Posted by futurist

    Horrible! Horrible! Horrible!
    Another example of why ANY design control must be taken away from the Planning Commission.

  4. Posted by gellan

    Cool, more bland architecture. It’ll fit right in with the rest of it.

  5. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    The proposed building does not accede to architectural cynosure.

  6. Posted by EH

    How about we just tear down the church and wait for people to get tired of the hole in the ground?
    [Editor’s Note: Speaking of which (along with a spooky number of parallels): Designs For The Castro’s “Hole In The Ground” (2299 Market Street).]

  7. Posted by futurist

    Have a vacant lot or “hole in the ground” relates little to the quality of the architecture that eventually will fill a subject vacant lot.
    The Planning Commission is directly determining the architectural character of 1601 Larkin, unfortunately.
    BTW: with regard to Castro’s hole in the ground at Noe/Market, have you seen the recent construction activity there? Earthmovers and caterpillars doing good stuff. Anyone know the inside scoop?

  8. Posted by futurist

    Actually, I just investigated the Castro/Noe site on the Planning Dept. website:
    Permit issued on 9-7-1011 to construct a 5 story, 18 unit apartment building with ground floor retail and below grade parking.
    Good news! after over 30 years being a vacant hole in the ground.

  9. Posted by BT

    Obvious solution: Another stucco box like the one across the street. Why try for anything other than utterly bland? Someone might complain.

  10. Posted by zzzzzzzz

    And speaking of activity on long-vacant lots – notice the construction at the burned-out church site on 15th and Dolores? I never thought I’d see the day.

  11. Posted by Stucco_Sux

    Stanley, we hardly knew ye

  12. Posted by justme

    Re: stucco box across the street,
    I was going to say that while I’m not always a Stan fan, and the newer design seems to be trying, nothing they might slap up there could really out-ugly that neighbor.
    Yeesh.

  13. Posted by John

    What’s the relationship between the first image and the third and fourth? Looks like a different design. Which is new and which is old?
    The first image certainly appears more interesting.

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