Real Estate Report: Stanley Saitowitz’s Ever-Shifting Monolith in Hayes Valley

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In a city best known for its charming pastel Victorians, the buildings of Stanley Saitowitz are among the most visually challenging in San Francisco. Whether it’s his 1998 Neo-Brutalist Yerba Buena Lofts on Folsom Street or the sleekly sophisticated 1515 15th Street, made of raw concrete or covered in metal panels, his buildings always get a second look. At his new 8 Octavia project, the scrim of opaque, pale green louvers– electronically controlled from within the individual units give it an ever-shifting facade, day and night. Below, the living/dining/kitchen space of a 2-bed, 2-bath unit:


Inside: Whether a penthouse or a junior 1-bedroom, all of the units have the same luxury finishes– a simple palette of exposed concrete, white painted drywall, Siematic kitchens and sustainably-grown and finished oak planks by monks in Austria. Plus perfect white bathrooms. The differences in price have to do primarily with square footage– somewhere north of $1000 per square foot, with units are selling quickly.

Smart: Built for the new generation of prosperous tech workers, the developers are calling 8 Octavia the smartest new building in San Francisco. And it is– the units use Nest climate control and a virtual doorman system that permits owners to manage their unit’s climate and access from anywhere in the world they can get a cell signal. Plus there’s seriously high-speed internet access.
What We Love: The junior 1-bedroom, 1-bath unit (below) is our favorite. A compact, organized space with the kitchen and bath contained in a finished capsule along one wall, it’s perfect for the minimalist who needs a serious kitchen.


Background: Long dominated by the Central Freeway– a huge project stopped dead by community activists in the ’60s before it was to be extended through Golden Gate Park and The Presidio to the Golden Gate Bridge– Hayes Valley underwent a grueling process of neighborhood activism and planning that resulted in what became known as the Octavia Corridor. Now a wide, landscaped boulevard instead of an elevated freeway, the western side is dominated by classic Edwardian Era housing, but the eastern edge is literally that– a series of wide, shallow lots that present difficulties for developers. 8 Octavia, designed by Stanley Saitowitz for DDG and DM Development, is the first project to be finished, to be followed in the next few years with projects by notable Modernist architects– Fougeron Architecture, Glen Rescalvo of Handel Architects, and a mixed-use project by Edmonds + Lee.
This Used to be a Freeway: Unlike it’s official portrait, a cellphone shot taken earlier this week (cold! fog! August!) gives an idea of just how variegated and random the facade will be:

Photo Credit: Philip Ferrato

More: The sales office is open and occupancy is expected for this fall. Check out the 8 Octavia website for more images and complete floor plans. Light-years ahead of stuff we usually see, the model units were curated by two interesting firms: Propeller Modern for the junior 1-bedroom and The Future Perfect for the 2-bedroom. For an overview of Stanley Saitowitz’s work over the years, go to Stanley Saitowitz/Natoma Architects.