The View from the 8th Floor


Good Evening:

Frankly, one can find little to praise in 1155 Market Street, the former home of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (this month, we moved into our new HQ at 525 Golden Gate Avenue). The building is too old and obsolete; it has bizarre floor plans with partitions that waste space; the physical plant and HVAC are inferior unless you like the air conditioning running at full blast during the winter; the building wasted energy everywhere, which is a bit of a problem when the tenant is a public utility; and the colors of the rugs, walls and signs scream Sixties Office Functional Dullsville. Yes, those colors.

Then again, there was the 8th Floor. Just the right height from ground level, some of the rooms (esp. Conference Room A/B) afforded great views of downtown San Francisco, and I spent quite a few breaks and lunches capturing the world with my Nikon CoolPix 4300, CoolPix S9100 and the iPhone 4. Here are a few, starting with City Hall, one of America’s most photogenic buildings.

Rain seemed to have a good effect–literally watercolors.

The Orpheum Theater, one of San Francisco’s great old theaters.

Two large buildings, one offices, one condominiums, arose on Mission Street south of 1155 Market during my time there, and the projects both provided some pictures worth taking.

Workers Awaiting the Next Segment of a Construction Crane to Arrive

“Scaffolding Problem During Construction.” Good news–they fixed it.

Roofer Between the Shadows, UN Plaza, San Francisco Civic Center, Market Street Between 7th & 8th

For many years, a seagull (possibly the same one; my supervisor couldn’t be sure) used the ledge outside her window as a nest to hatch and care for a clutch 3-4 eggs annually. The chert among the plants made for a perfect camouflage. When her chicks held still and ducked their heads they were almost invisible to human eyes.

And a few miscellaneous shots, starting with smoke from a fire north of us.

One morning after a particularly violent evening storm during the winter of 2010-11 (a rough one; my apartment building sustained serious damage), we came to work to discover that one of the windows in A/B had been cracked into thousands of pieces. Fortunately and amazingly, the pieces remained in place long enough for a crew of glaziers to safely remove them. It also made for a curious photograph.

“Chiaroscuro During the Storm.” I swear this is natural light, unedited, and that the scene looked exactly as you see it here.

I might revisit the collection at a later date to see if there exists anything else of interest. I hope you liked studying the pictures here.

Vonn Scott Bair


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