- Baylis, Douglas
- McCarthy, Francis J.
- Castro/Duboce Triangle/Lower Haight, San Francisco
- Building Type:
- 55 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, California
- Current Name:
- Local #6 of the IBDW
- Current Use:
- Current Condition:
This 1959-built union hall, tucked in among the Edwardian houses at the border of the Lower Haight and the Duboce Triangle, is an excellent example of Francis T. McCarthy’s institutional work. McCarthy was born in Australia, came to the United States in the 1920’s, and trained as an architect in the offices of William Wurster. He eventually specialized in institutional buildings, such as libraries and schools, and is best known for the Inyo County library. McCarthy was a founding member of Telesis, group of Bay Area planners and architects devoted to researching and developing a “Second Bay Area Regional Style.” Other members included William Wurster, Thomas Church, and Garret Eckbo. The building itself is shaped like an “H.” One of the long legs runs right along the Hermann Street sidewalk and contains a large meeting hall. The other long leg contains two stories of office space. The crossbar of the “H” is a two-story glass enclosure which serves as the building entrance and the only link between the office wing and the meeting hall wing.
The glass-and-steel façade of the office wing creates interesting pattern of shapes and colors. This building is also notable for the interplay between the interior and open space, with the courtyard framed by the H-shaped structure and the glassed-in hallways.
The building is a perfectly-preserved oasis of mid-century institutional modernism in an otherwise-traditional San Francisco neighborhood of Edwardian residences.