The Water Cooler – The Bay Area’s Greatest Work of Architecture?

January 13, 2021 12:00 pm · 57 comments

The “Water Cooler” is a feature on where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it.

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday at noon.

Today’s question:

In your opinion, what is the greatest work of architecture in the Bay Area?

Talk about it….

BOOYAH! January 13, 2021 at 12:04 PM

Golden Gate Bridge

R January 13, 2021 at 12:18 PM


that was quick January 13, 2021 at 12:35 PM

guess I’ll go ahead and turn off the lights and close the door behind me.


HONDA BILL January 13, 2021 at 12:11 PM


NA January 13, 2021 at 12:32 PM

The stack of laundry and toys in my kid’s room.

The Fractionator January 13, 2021 at 1:10 PM

LMAO and can relate!

Roz January 13, 2021 at 1:13 PM

Ha-Ha!,…too funny!

Dawg January 13, 2021 at 12:37 PM

If I had to pick one, it would be the Gothic cathedrals, but the old Victorian and Queen Anne houses are also beautiful works of architecture. I also like the Palace of Fine Arts, and the Bay Area’s old Missions.

Hanne Jeppesen January 13, 2021 at 1:06 PM

I’m kind with you Dawg. The Golden Gate Bridge is beautiful and iconic.
However the Victorians are unique. When I married my American husband in Copenhagen in 1974, we bought most of our furniture from a well known furniture design store in Copenhagen, when the sales person found out it was being shipped to San Francisco, he was very impressed and proceed to talk about the Victorians, it was obvious he had studied them, and he said planned to visit San Francisco one day and see them first hand.

Cowellian January 13, 2021 at 12:38 PM

My Smokestack?

Silva January 13, 2021 at 1:18 PM

Yes Cowellian, your smokestack. It’s image is still burned into my memory.❤️

FPN January 14, 2021 at 10:01 AM

Cowellian, As kids we played inside the smoke stake. Looking up into the smoke stack was exciting even at a young age.

Cowellian January 14, 2021 at 11:30 AM

Fellow Claycordian, Apollo Idol Prudence and I went to the demolition bidder’s conference. They gave us brain buckets and let us go inside. Looking through the top was a very exciting experience.

chuckie the troll January 13, 2021 at 12:42 PM

Mount Diablo…Thank God for that.

Hanne Jeppesen January 13, 2021 at 10:50 PM

Although Mt. Diablo is beautiful, I don’t think of it as architecture, I associate architecture with something man build, not with nature.

Mid Century January 13, 2021 at 12:52 PM

The Eichler homes around area.

Roz January 13, 2021 at 1:17 PM

Mid Century~
Over the last 20 years I have enjoyed visiting Eichler Homes that were up for Sale. Just wish I could afford one.

Rolaids January 13, 2021 at 1:55 PM

@ Roz I spent much of my childhood in Eichlers, and live in one now. I don’t recommend owning one. While the original craftsmanship is actually fairly good, and the floor to ceiling windows can be pleasant, there are so many ridiculous design defects that I couldn’t in good conscience recommend them to anyone. If you get one that hasn’t essentially been completely rebuilt, you will be paying to essentially rebuild it. This is blasphemy to Eichler aficionados, but Eichler was a lousy builder. People fall in love with his houses because of their superficial aspects, but they are disposable houses.

foonman January 13, 2021 at 2:22 PM

Me too! They were about 1956 California living that I saw in every magazine. Loved that part of the dream. Liked the indoor/outdoor feel.

Roz January 13, 2021 at 3:25 PM

Thank You for sharing that bit info.
I also bet the cooling & heating cost could be high too.
Our little house is paid off, and my Hubby is fine with that, LOL!

ConcordRes2 January 13, 2021 at 7:59 PM

There is a reason they call them 5 minute Eichlers. Poor design leads to fast fires.

FPN January 15, 2021 at 10:28 AM

@Roz, So I am not the only one who goes to look at the Eichler homes when their put on the market. I am assuming like myself your not looking to buy but just to look. As a child I spent many week ends in my best friends Eichler home. One of my favorite style of homes.

Ancient Mariner January 13, 2021 at 1:07 PM

That’s not architecture – that’s engineering!
I’ll go with the Marin Civic Center.

J January 13, 2021 at 1:31 PM

I totally agree! The library in the Marin Civic Center is like having a library on the moon. It is wild! Thank you Frank Lloyd Wright.

Hanne Jeppesen January 13, 2021 at 10:52 PM

Marin Civic Center is beautiful, I use to live in Marinwood so I’m very familiar with the structure. Fact is San Francisco and surrounding have an abundance of unique architecture.

Reality says... January 13, 2021 at 1:22 PM

The Spirit Poles that were in front of Brenden Theatre!

For the youngbloods – a movie theatre was a place people would go to see movies on a big screen. They sold overpriced refreshments to enjoy as you watched the movie. If you can believe it, there would be about 40 people in a theatre – talking, laughing, screaming – all without masks. It was a good time. Sorry you never got the opportunity to experience it.

H January 13, 2021 at 1:39 PM


Martinezmike January 13, 2021 at 1:58 PM

The spirit poles. They still haunt claycord

Hayden Barsotti January 13, 2021 at 2:02 PM

The former “Spirit Poles” that enhanced Concord. Great thought in giving the “artist” a platform. That was a great investment!!!

Almost Famous January 13, 2021 at 2:04 PM

The Concord Spirit poles. Oh wait a minute they are no longer there.

Russ Sayin January 13, 2021 at 2:10 PM

The Spirit Poles

The Mamba January 13, 2021 at 2:30 PM

The Kohl’s and Sprouts parking lots, which make the Winchester Mystery House look practical, and the picket fence in Concord, which has withstood many vehicular assaults.

StewB January 13, 2021 at 11:08 PM

This was the best answer! Very funny!

Dr. Jellyfinger January 13, 2021 at 2:59 PM

The giant metal taco shell pedestrian bridge over Treat Blvd @ Jones Rd.
( Schroder Bridge )

burnbabyburn January 13, 2021 at 3:26 PM

The incredible, unbelievable structure that the politicians have built to convince voters to continually re-elect them, and raise their taxes to pay for their salaries and benifits.

RANDOM TASK January 13, 2021 at 3:30 PM

have the rioters/ errr protestors

destroyed the legion of honor yet in SF

still confused if the demorats are still allowing riots and burning and destroying of historic monuments

Antler January 13, 2021 at 3:30 PM

…. in the entire Bay Area, hmmm:
I’ve always loved the Trans-America Building (the tall “pointy top” one in the northeast part of San Francisco)

Ricardoh January 13, 2021 at 3:33 PM

I have scratched my head and haven’t been able to come up with something great that is man made. I think just the bay and the hills and the view from the top of Mt Diablo. Maybe the cable cars for honorable mention.

Old Gringo January 13, 2021 at 5:11 PM

The railroad bridge in Martnez that goes over Alhambra Ave. next to Highway 4.

Roz January 13, 2021 at 7:53 PM

Old Gringo~
I lived very near there as a kid and loved falling a sleep to the sound of the trains going by.

Silva January 13, 2021 at 5:50 PM

Bernard Maybeck buildings and homes are nice..

Concord Guy January 13, 2021 at 6:06 PM

1. Golden Gate Bridge
2. Palace of Fine Arts in SF
3. Hearst Mining Building at UC Berkeley
4. San Francisco City Hall
5. Wheeler Hall at UC Berkeley
6. Sather Tower (The Campanile) at UC Berkeley
7. California Memorial Stadium at UC Berkeley
8. Sather Gate at UC Berkeley
9. War Memorial Opera House in SF
10. Grace Cathedral in SF
11. Conservatory of Flowers in SF (Golden Gate Park)
12. 130 Sutter in SF

Exit 12A January 13, 2021 at 9:12 PM

Excellent list.

Cyn January 13, 2021 at 6:37 PM

Alcatraz or the Golden Gate Bridge.

ASG January 13, 2021 at 7:05 PM

Hangar one

Dellboy January 13, 2021 at 7:27 PM

Transamerica Pyramid

Bean Burner January 13, 2021 at 8:34 PM

I like how someone said to differentiate between engineering marvels and Architectural masterpieces.

Great examples of the former:
Winchester Mystery House
Marin Civic Center
the interior of Davies Symphony Hall
Interior of St Marys Cathedral
John Muir residence
Marin Radius House

off the beaten track are the Sea Ranch Meditation Chapel and the Nakoma Lodge in Graeagle

Bean Burner January 13, 2021 at 8:37 PM

ooops! I meant ” latter”

Examples of engineering marvel:
The Golden Gate and current Bay Bridge
Levis Stadium

SmileWC January 13, 2021 at 9:49 PM

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on 7th St in SF – beautiful Art Deco

PHG January 13, 2021 at 11:24 PM

Please Note: Users who use multiple names will be deleted. Please choose one name so others can easily chat with you

sierra anon January 14, 2021 at 6:32 AM

The Clairmont Hotel in Berkeley. Love the look of that place./

Dawg January 14, 2021 at 10:09 AM

A little trivia about the Claremont Hotel. The fire escape was a spiral slide that was several stories long. Students from UC Berkeley, local teenagers, and other people would sneak into the hotel and use it as a slide.
Another nice work of architecture is the Mormon Temple in the Oakland Hills.

Kirkwood January 14, 2021 at 1:57 PM

More trivia about the Claremont Hotel, my father plowed the lawn areas when the hotel was built, using a team of horses.

The Wizard January 14, 2021 at 8:34 AM

The Concord Bank of America building.

Suz January 14, 2021 at 11:02 AM

Palace of Fine Arts

Angela K Hill January 14, 2021 at 11:35 AM

My current favorite is the MIRA tower in San Francisco.

FPN January 15, 2021 at 11:36 AM

@Roz, So I am not the only one who goes to look at the Eichler homes when their put on the market. I am assuming like myself your not looking to buy but just to look. As a child I spent many week ends in my best friends Eichler home. One of my favorite style of homes.

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