17th and Clayton from the West(www.SocketSite.com)
And speaking of exteriors, the scaffolding is down on the four new copper (and wood) clad condos rising at 17th and Clayton (4588-4598 17th Street to be exact).
17th and Clayton Detail (www.SocketSite.com)
The four townhomes (designed by Leavitt Architecture) will range from ~1,550 to ~1,850 square feet, will each feature three bedrooms (and either three or three and one half baths), and should be completed as early as February (2008).
17th and Clayton from the East (www.SocketSite.com)
We’ll keep you posted (and plugged-in) as to the prices (once they’ve been set). And no, we didn’t Photoshop the sky.

60 thoughts on “Copper (And Wood) Clad And Coming Semi-Soon At 17th And Clayton”
  1. I’ve been watching this building go up, and I just love it. It was worth waiting all these years with that ugly vacant lot!

  2. That’s one of the most stunning and beautiful buildings I’ve seen in a long time, and I think it will be equally beautiful as the copper oxidizes.
    It can’t have been cheap, I think the price of copper has increased dramatically in the past couple of years.

  3. Yeh, it’s a real shame about the location at that junction (will make for fun getting in and out of those garages as well) because this is a really nice looking development.

  4. The residents should electrify that exterior to keep thieves’ hands off!
    At $7k per ton, a copper facade has got to be seriously expensive! (Although its not much compared to the price of those townhouses).
    Do they solder it together? Is that building RoHS compliant 😉

  5. i’m surprised it hasn’t been stolen already. probably since they just finally uncovered it. i give it 2, maybe 3 weeks tops before someone tries.

  6. ANy guesses on price.
    For this neighborhood, I’m guessing $550/sq ft or
    $850,000 for the 1550 sq ft place and
    $1M for the 1850 sq ft place
    but i guess there is a premium for new construction and copper (if it doesn’t get stolen),
    so probably around $950,000 for the 1550 sq ft place and $1.15M for the 1850sq ft place.

  7. Used to live on the hill right behind these. The wind & fog is intense and quite cold for a chunk of the year. That copper will blind drivers coming up 17th from Cole Valley in the evening, too. Greeaaaat….
    Speaking of copper, have we turned into a 3rd world country all of the sudden? Did anyone see the article about folks in Cleveland ripping aluminum siding off of houses in foreclosureland? The folks in these copper-clad homes really will need to keep an eye out.

  8. Very cool, very striking. With the oxidation it will have some great character. Much more so than the water stains on the battleship gray concrete or the faded horizontal wood planking you see everywhere.

    Key question … Will it blend?

  9. Wow, just add some off-the-shelf thin gauge copper paneling on a mediocre design featuring ooh-isn’t-that-original curving bay windows, and everyone is swooning over it — typical SF. And no, this copper is not soldered, is not that difficult to install, and frankly not THAT expensive.
    An application of copper that is in fact not even that much more expensive (because of each panel’s uniqueness being done via a digitally-driven punching and dimpling process), is the DeYoung’s — but whatever the price difference its is more than offset by the infinitely more original and beautiful results.
    Now there’s an idea: why can’t the skin of an SF developer project be as daring and stunning as that? It just takes some vision and a great architect — a combination this city has pulled off probably less than ten times in the last thirty or so years.

  10. Why? Because residential design is always five to 10 years behind the curve. Just look at what’s “nice” in kitchens. It isn’t “nice” unless there are granite countertops. It isn’t “nice” unless there are stainless steel appliancs. Boring. You cannot compare govenment initiatives with major bucks behind open bidding by world renowned architects to residential construction. It’s (road) apples to truffles.

  11. Basically, it takes a true visionary to come up with something innovative and yet still sell it, contemporarily. The system does not place true visionaries within residential.

  12. i’m gonna have to side with citicritter. this project is the epitome of banality often found in san francisco. most often because people feel compelled to create ‘bay windows’ because it is so san francisco. and what better way to make the bay interesting than to slap on a different material. wouldn’t have been so bad if at least the detailing of the copper was better. can you say oil canning? the copper looks awful and is only going to get worse.

  13. Wow look at those authoritative, impressive garages! Car central.
    I know I’m supposed to love the building, but between the wood, copper, vertical lines, horizontal windows, Vic derivative facade — I’m feeling dizzy, jittery — wonder if simply too much is going on — look ma no hands! And on a prominent, uniquely positioned lot – with sensational topography, winds, & wonderful only-in-SF lopsided perspectives — wouldn’t something that doesn’t try as hard in fact be more successful? Bit I hope less isn’t more and it’ll grow on me.

  14. Wow look at those authoritative, impressive garages!
    Garages with temporary plywood barriers in place of their doors. You’re evaluating their visual effect, now?
    An application of copper that is in fact not even that much more expensive (because of each panel’s uniqueness being done via a digitally-driven punching and dimpling process), is the DeYoung’s
    Heaven forbid that function should supercede form, but I think most folks planning to live in those units will prefer unattrited sunlight, and windows that open. Blocking natural light with metal mesh will soon seem incredibly dated, and foolish.
    (disclaimer: I’m not going to be living in these units, but… geesh)

  15. I’m also very shocked at the positive comments on this building? This building is simultaneously gaudy AND boring! The reinterpretation of the bay window has got to STOP! If you want a bay window, BUILD ONE! It was fine in it’s original shape.
    With all the money that is spent on building in SF, it’s really sad that this is the best we can do. As always, if any developers are reading this and looking for a better architect – EMAIL ME. 🙂
    I’m also laughing at all the comments regarding stealing the copper! Copper is not very expensive to use. It’s not like these walls are solid copper, it’s a thin sheet that is crimped at the seams – it has been used for roofs for generations. Copper also has a 50+ year lifespan, so it is very cost effective. I know, putting it on the walls = SHOCKINGLY INNOVATIVE! (Btw, granite is infinitely more expensive, but I’ve never heard of anyone prying a slab off of one of the 1000+ buildings clad with it downtown.
    What I really want to know though: I’ve been driving past this lot once a week for the past year. At some point earlier this year, foundations had been poured but work stopped and there was a “for sale” sign on the fence. Does anyone have the scoop on what happened? Was it bought and completed by a second person?
    On a positive note, last week I was stopped at the corner and the lights were on in the unit with the wood clad window. There appears to be a VERY cool staircase in that unit. Maybe if someone lives nearby they can keep an eye out and a camera ready…

  16. I’m not surprised at the copper theft comments. Copper theft is a constant problem in the electric industry, why shouldn’t it be in housing? After all, you’re only risking jail, not electrocution.

  17. It’s amazing that people like this ugly monstrosity but couldn’t deal with the unassuming all glass facade on Germania Street.

  18. The bay windows may not just be an architectural flourish, but may have a function– to allow a view down 17th St. to the bay.
    I’ll withhold judgment on the building until it is complete, and pics of the interior are available.

  19. Spencer:
    the link (which isn’t as strong as we might like BTW) is between dietary copper and/or copper ingestion and Alzheimers… not residential copper. (my understanding is that it is through the activation of the amyloid beta precursor protein gene…)
    early research is just that… early. Anybody who does any amount of medical research knows not to put too much stock in animal studies (in this case rabbit studies) or in vitro studies.
    Other researchers are looking at aluminum or zinc instead as example.
    I’m just saying before you get people in a panic over their copper pipes.

  20. Copper theft? Really? The comment section used to provide interesting, valuable and intelligent insight. Now it is all bitter snobs (or pseudo-snobs) trashing every building in the city. Will still look at the posts, but defs skipping the comments from here on out.

  21. These comments about copper theft are hilarious. Does anyone really think that someone is going to stealthily set up 30 foot ladders and quietly rip the copper off the walls without notice of either the residents or traffic ?
    Yes, copper theft is a problem : on copper *telephone* cables which can be quietly cut from desolate locations without risk of electrocution. Copper water pipes are often stolen using quiet pipe cutters.
    Anyone trying to rip this copper cladding off is a fool. It would make a huge noise to tear off of the walls.

  22. I’m not an architect and willingly admit I have no eye for design, which is why I usually stay quiet on these threads. But an interesting article in today’s Chronicle (which most probably already saw) highlights comments made by Willis Polk over a hundred years ago. His take on some of the then-new buildings going up in the Pac Heights area:
    “architectural nightmare conceived in a reign of terror and produced by the artistic anarchists who are continually seeking to do something great, without any previous experience or preparation for their work.”
    Polk on bay windows:
    ‘”deluge of bay windows” is constructed “fortunately in perishable wood.”‘
    All in the eye of the beholder, I guess.

  23. Building is pretty nice, but the garages are awful. Architects today are incapable of making a building with any relationship to the street. Walking past this building will be just the same as walking past a prison or a warehouse.

  24. I am no real estate development expert. I remember reading a while ago that there were tax benefits for building live work lofts. Is that still true? Is it still true that consturction costs for lofty live-work spaces are much lower than flats or traditional houses?

    I ask because I feel like this is like a weird frankenstein baby of a loft and a marina style house (the long stairway to the side, a wide window over a central recessed garage)

    The total looks like a marina house got drunk in SOMA one night and 9 months later gave birth to this. Embarrased, Marina Mom gussied up her baby in a copper Stokke Xplory stroller. (see: http://tinyurl.com/3xudnx)

    But that could just be me…

  25. Hey the building may look great in ten years or it may not. People will get over it. But don’t forget location location, location…This is a great area : Walking distance to GG Park, Cole Valley Strip, Haight Street Strip, and the great views of Twin Peaks.
    And it’s a central neighborhood for driving to the beach, downtown, the freeways, GG Bridge.
    It’s a short walk to the Judah and bus stops.
    However, it’s a very busy corner with heavy North South and East West traffic. A good neighborhood, but not a good location.

  26. “ANy guesses on price.”
    I think spencer is completely out of touch with reality. My guess is that they’re priced from $1.3M to $1.6M or around $850 a square foot if not more.

  27. “Is it still true that consturction costs for lofty live-work spaces are much lower than flats or traditional houses?”
    No, the preferential rules for live work lofts were repealed several years ago.
    The law allowed live work lofts to be built without building or paying for affordable housing, and also allowed lofts to be built without the ordinary required setbacks.

  28. “I think spencer is completely out of touch with reality. My guess is that they’re priced from $1.3M to $1.6M or around $850 a square foot if not more.”
    are you being serious? 850/sq ft for this lcoation? NO WAY

  29. I would be surprised if these things went for $850. The location is perfectly safe but it is windblown and noisy. Walking anywhere involves some major hills. Also, given where these face, I think the view are mainly going to be of the apartments across the street and not much else.
    That being said, they are definitely an improvement over the vacant lot or some of the boxy apartments in the area.

  30. “Dollars to donuts Spencer was stabbed here once, at this VERY corner.
    Posted by: Brutus at November 20, 2007 4:42 PM”
    was that really necessary? I was stabbed on the corner of Union and Columbus and mugged and beaten on corner of California and Polk over a 3 yr period..
    Those are the only two violent incidents I have had in this city and were enough to make me conduct a lot of reserach on the high SF crime rate and be aware of the dangers in a neighborhood.
    do you find this funny? Personally, i don’t.
    Regarding this neighborhood, i think it is very nice and safe, but the locale of these apts next to main thoroughfare does make it less desirable in my opinion.

  31. The copper part is cool, but the rest is going to become very boring and ugly very quick. Exposed concrete, Yuck! Stucco, belch! Too bad the whole thing couldn’t be clad in the same copper, looks like they ran out of money !

  32. Wow, what a lot of negative spray! This building looks great compared to either the vacant lot that it replaces, the gas station that was originally there, or the horrible pink stucco blob that was built next door not so long ago. The bays serve a purpose so they make sense to me – they maximize the great views down the hill. The copper is also functional as any painted or cementitious siding would quickly be blackened by particulate emissions from the vehicles coming up 17th. The builder probably had to do a fair amount of soil remediation before they could even start building. Take a deep breath and thank your lucky stars you live in a city where so many buildings are designed by independent architects instead of drones working for toll brothers and so on. On my last trip to Vegas a local estimated that there were less than a handful of private residences in the entire city that had been designed by an architect. The location is windy and busy but I think they did a great job considering – and it went up fast.

  33. went up super fast,only started in late march.I talked to the contractor who seems like a great guy and he says it will be finished in february.

  34. This building looks great compared to either the vacant lot that it replaces, the gas station that was originally there, or the horrible pink stucco blob that was built next door not so long ago… On my last trip to Vegas a local estimated that there were less than a handful of private residences in the entire city that had been designed by an architect.

    Peter, that is setting the bar low. I definitely like them betterthan a pink stucco blob gas station lot! Or Las Vegas.

  35. I doubt if it will get stolen. We clad part of our building, the staircase actually, in copper last year and it has not been stolen yet.
    It didn’t look so good right off the bat, but it has mellowed to a nice brick color, as will this building. Eventually we are hoping for a dignified green patina.
    I imagine people turned their nose up at the copper top on the Sentinel Building when it first went up as well.

  36. I guess I am setting the bar low, but the building is leaps and bounds nicer than the building right next door, which was built less than 10 years ago, and compare it to the apartment building across the street! It does give a sense of the value of real estate in SF to see copper cladding on a building in a location that would have been considered marginal even a decade ago.
    $550 per square foot is pretty funny. New residential construction is coming in at about $600 a square foot from what I hear, on top of the cost of the land.

  37. I agree with the earlier comment, it does appear that the architect ran out of money. The copper is nice but the bland segments in between makes it look bloated, sloppy, and unfinished. Paradise lost.

  38. No doubt about it, San Francisco is starved for new and interesting architecture. The copper is rather nice, but is this design all that different from hundreds of Emeryville townhouses built in the last 10 years, or down in L.A. for that matter? Without the copper, it would still be rather pleasing, but hardly interesting. Let’s hope there were good details in the design and the green copper run off (from rain and fog) does not stain the stucco and surfaces below.

  39. All of the driveways along 17th prevent the planting of any trees-I think the developer put one in on Clayton. Its no fun walking by the place. The only plus to the place is that cars backing out slow the cars flying up 17th down. I would say its good that the site is no longer a vacant lot (I like density and all) but at least before I got a view as I neared the top of 17th. Now I just get melancholy about what could/should have been.

  40. They should’ve put one garage entrance for the entire complex, ideally on Clayton. The more I drive by this, the more ridiculous (and dangerous) all those entrances seem. It would be very frustrating to try to back out into traffic. And greg is right about the lack of tree potential.

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