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Portsmouth Square Building

This Chinatown building has a checkered history. Located on Portsmouth Square, one of the most historically significant spots in San Francisco, it was constructed just after the 1906 Earthquake and Fire as a boarding house and a store. By 1942 the boarding house was vacant and the Nam Yuen restaurant occupied the ground floor. In 1957, the restaurant façade was “modernized.”

1967 modernized restaurant façade.

The project sought to convert the upper stories back to a boarding house and maintain a restaurant on the ground floor. While the original design did not meet San Francisco’s historic storefront policy, I recommended changes that made it compatible with the historic district.

Original design. The awnings and windows were incompatible with the historic district.

Compatible revised design.


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