Weekly Photo Challenge: From Above – The Main Stairwell, SFPUC HQ


Good Evening:

The headquarters of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has a lot of innovations for students of environmentally aware, energy saving architecture. It also has a few oddities. No, not the two Ned Kahn sculptures, which are spectacular, not odd. I refer to among other things the main stairwell by the entrance on Golden Gate Avenue. First, a picture “From Above” on the 13th Floor:


And now a picture “From Below” looking up:


Aside from the not-quite-rectangular shape, the first picture seemed rather normal. But looking up from the bottom, you can see that it actually shifts about 20 feet to the left about halfway up the building. The result looks like something M. C. Escher might have sketched and then discarded as rather too fanciful. The architects had a good reason beyond aesthetics for this choice: the building curves inward as you go up, forcing the stairwell to move inward with it.

But it’s fun to photograph.

Vonn Scott Bair


5 responses »

  1. My real-time response to these two pictures:

    Top photo: “Whoa!”

    Bottom photo: “WHOA! Mind Blown!”

    Excellent shots from outstanding angles!

    • S.P.: Want an even more intense “WHOA!” experience? Try taking pictures from the 13th floor looking straight down. Quite the “Jimmy-Stewart-in-Vertigo” feeling. Glad you liked the shots! Vonn Scott Bair

    • mithriluna: Thanks for visiting. Many of the folks who work at SFPUC HQ love taking pictures of these stairs, including me. I have a fairly large collection of stair shots that I’ll have to share some time. Vonn Scott Bair

  2. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: In the Background – The Views from the Stairs of 525 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco | The San Francisco Scene--Seen!

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