Architecture and the City’s Can’t-Miss Events


San Francisco’s biggest festival in architecture and design kicked off this month and the American Institute of Architects is hosting scores of events to celebrate – from home tours to workshops to lectures.

This year marks the 9th annual Architecture and the City Festival, which aims to showcase the local architecture community as well as show off many of San Francisco’s digs. The theme is “Design: It’s About Time” and nearly 50 public events will be examining this idea.

“Celebrating San Francisco’s unique built environment, the festival offers individuals an unparalleled opportunity to engage with the local architectural community and experience the many ways design impacts our daily life,” communications director for AIA Helen Wong says.

Home tours are a major component of the festival and although there are a wide variety of houses being featured, many of the abodes have a sleek modern esthetic this year. One goal of the festival is to look at the many layers of San Francisco’s architectural design history.

644 House home tour

20th Street Residence home tour

Drs. Julian and Raye Richardson Apartments home tour

Folsom Street Residence home tour

“San Francisco residents are fortunate to live in a city with such a rich history,” Wong says. “From the iconic Golden Gate Bridge to the historic warehouses of the city’s South of Market to the unique streetscapes that help give each neighborhood a distinct identity, San Francisco architecture is a mixture of history with an individualistic, uninhibited, at times eccentric modern design.”

Besides homes, people can also tour buildings, such as the Heath Factory, Market Square Retail, and the Angel Island Immigration Station. In addition to the tours, there are workshops like how to discover the history of your home, and forums like the one on San Francisco’s changing design landscape and the use of public space.

Angel Island Immigration Station

“While pop-up stores and rotating storefront galleries may be due, in part, to the economic times, the adaptive reuse of older buildings and public spaces has redefined the way we live and work,” Wong says. “Many projects showcased during the festival illustrate the community’s commitment to sustainability and creative renovation of historic spaces for modern use.”

The Architecture and the City Festival takes place throughout September. For more information on the festival and its events go to AIA’s website or the festival’s website.


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