200 6th Street

Defenestration, the “temporary” art installation that has defined the long-shuttered Hugo Hotel and neighborhood for nearly two decades, is being dismantled this morning and the building from which the installation has hung at the corner of 6th and Howard will soon be razed.

As plugged-in people know, the burned-out Hugo Hotel was acquired by San Francisco’s Redevelopment Agency by way of eminent domain for $4.6 million back in 2009. The owners of the building had been holding out for $7,000,000.

Mercy Housing will be building a nine-story residential building designed by Kennerly Architecture with 67 affordable housing units on the corner.

200 6th Street Rendered

26 thoughts on “Defenestration Coming Down, Sixth Street Rising Up”
  1. Sad to see the installation go but glad to see this central corner to get finally used for living.

  2. finally! that building and “installation” are an embarrassing eyesore on such a central corner

  3. VERY glad to see that piece of complete junk to go. Maybe someday San Francisco will stop celebrating this kind of urban blight that pretends to pass for “art”, and begin to celebrate clean, safe neighborhoods and affordable housing. This is all good for the future.

    1. I loved the art. Glad to see a livable building going up, but sad to see the art go. @Futurist fka @Noearch, I appreciate your opinions and contribution to this site, but your vitriol is unnecessary.

      1. Thanks, but I did not like the so called art slapped on the old building, and simply said so. didn’t mean to upset you.

  4. That building was (pre-fire) a great example of its period, and the installation was one of those things that made S.F. quirky and unique. This action is a great example of how I’m glad to see the growth going on in SoMa, but very sorry to see it accompanied by a loss of character and style – a unique voice replaced by yet another bland vanilla moderist box.

    1. If the new building is a “bland vanilla modernist box”, then what is another example of the kind of architecture you would like to see there? The criticism of EVERY new building shown here on SS is endless. It becomes the mantra of all those who always want something “better” without really knowing what they want, and what “better” is.

      And with regard to the “quirky and unique” image this corner gave to San Francisco, it really amounts to just being weird for being weird, without depth or talent. Far too much junk attempts to pass for art and fails miserably. This installation merely cried out for attention, without adding value to our city.

      1. Hmmm…. NO. I’ve often praised buildings on this site; I did so just yesterday. So take your black/white, up/down, with-me-or-against-me diatribe somewhere else, it’s misplaced here (as usual).

      2. Perhaps you should put your character where your mouth is and show us your portfolio of examples of your taste in architecture? Yeah, didn’t think so.

        1. I simply struggle to understand (unwarranted) criticism of a building like the new one proposed. It’s being designed by a well respected firm in SF: Kennerly Architects, well known for designing interesting, well detailed, urban infill projects. Check out their website as to their skills and the merits of this particular project.

          The new building meets and/or exceeds the tenets of urban design: varied façade, articulation, expressed outdoor space, higher volume to mark the corner, stepping down on 6th St to relate to the lower scale, breaking the mass into the “classical” base, middle and top expression, a tall story at the base for retail and resident lobby; simply put; crisp, clean, modern urban design.

          And yet, others simply offer no other solutions except to call this project a “bland, modernist box”.

          Thankfully, we have firms like this one producing quality work for affordable housing, and outstanding organizations like Mercy Housing who hire them.

          1. Agreed – the building does “tick all of the concern boxes” – which in the end makes it just another very, nice but not anything you’d look twice at building. Will be torn down by future generations if it fails to perform – no one will rally to save it – there are other better versions of this period of urban design in the City. I think it’s fair for others to voice an opinion and to label this design as bland. It’s still crisp, clean, urban and modern – but bland.

          2. @SFArchitectureGroupie – Can you really expect every building (or even most) to be exceptional gems which would be worth preserving forever? Most buildings are constructed to be useful for a normal lifetime. It is good and appropriate that most should be eventually torn down and replaced with something that meets the needs of our grandchildren, rather than preserving a city in amber as a mausoleum of old architecture. A city hall or great museum perhaps will stand for 150 years or more, but a charity housing building? Really?

            All that said, there’s nothing even wrong with that building either. Better than the endless strips of faux-Victorian 3-story buildings that line nearly every street in town.

  5. It was a fun installation that lightened up an otherwise sad, derelict, building. Only a little sad to see it go, much happier to see Sixth Street improving by the day.

  6. The Hugo hotel is unique? It merely looks like a box with a Pringles can stuck on the corner. I wouldn’t begin to say it is an ugly building and I couldn’t say this is a building that had to be saved for any sort of character.

    Far better use of this space to have 67 new residential units built than a rotting art installation on a burned out building.

    1. Far better use of this space to have 67 new residential units built than a rotting art installation on a burned out building.

      I agree.

      But the art installation was put there after the building, which was unique and worth saving before the art installation was attached, was deliberately allowed to deteriorate after a fire, because the owner wanted to extract maximum money from whoever he could get it from, and if that meant inflicting blight on the neighborhood, then he was ready and willing to do that.

      So let’s not let the conversation be about the art installation and not about the selfishness and unmitigated greed of the previous owner. They could have redeveloped this building ages ago.

  7. It’s affordable housing. So given the budget I’m not surprised the architecture is, shall we say, uninspiring at best.

    1. Mercy Housing screens their tenants. It’s not like this is housing for drug addicts or thugs. Mercy requires their tenants have jobs and a clean criminal background. This will house hotel service workers and other blue collar type workers. I have conducted audits in many Mercy housing projects in San Fran and the tenants have always been very gracious people and very grateful for their housing.

      1. That’s good to hear. And I agree with you, not all affordable type housing is problematic by definition.

  8. Most of the “crisp, clean, modern urban design” is associated with the minimalist concept, which some people perceive as bland. But as a home to most of the working class and seniors living below SF’s median income, I feel that function trumps aesthetics–and by no means do I feel that Kennerly’s design is bland. While most of us (here on SocketSite) feel that the rendering of the new apartment looks like another boring box-type building, I feel that what is most important are how the future residents feel about the interior of this project. I’d suggest to those who are interested in this building and other affordable housing developments to learn more about the project details through the website of the architects and of Mercy Housing and other affordable housing developers like it.

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