Gustave Albert Lansburgh (1876-1969)

Gunst Building by Gustave Albert Lansburgh Elkan Gunst Building
Powell and Geary Streets
20 February 2012
(Click Photo to Zoom)

This Renaissance/Baroque building anchors the southwest corner of Union Square. It is built of reinforced concrete clad with terra cotta.

G. Albert Lansburgh is known for his opulent movie palaces built between 1910 and 1930.

Lansburgh was born in Panama but moved to San Francisco with his family. While a student at UC Berkeley, he worked for Bernard Maybeck as a draftsman. After graduating from Berkeley, he earned a degree from the École des Beaux-Arts in 1906.

Lansburgh returned to the Bay Area in May, 1906, one month after the Earthquake and Fire. He designed numerous buildings in the recovering city. Among these was his first theater, the Orpheum Theatre on O'Farrell Street which opened in 1909. (The Orpheum Theatre was renamed the Columbia Theatre in 1927 when a new Orpheum Theatre (San Francisco Landmark #94) designed by Benjamin Marcus Priteca opened on Market Street. Lansburgh's Columbia Theatre was demolished in 1938.)

Lansburgh went on to design more than fifty theaters nationwide. At the height of his career, he had offices in San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles.

Although most of Lansburgh's best known buildings are in the West, his personal favorite was said to have been the Al Hirschfeld Theatre (originally the Martin Beck Theatre) in New York City.

Name Year Address City Sort Address Sort Name
Carnegie Library: Sunset19181305 18th AvenueSan Francisco Avenue 18 1305Carnegie Library: Sunset
Hotel Senator19241121 L StreetSacramento Street 11Hotel Senator
Orpheum Theatre191346 West 200 SouthSalt Lake City Street W 200Orpheum Theatre
Carnegie Library: Mission District1916300 Bartlett Street San FranciscoBartlett 0300Carnegie Library: Mission District
Lowenstein House19142201 BroadwaySan FranciscoBroadway 2201Lowenstein House
Gunst Building1908301 Geary StreetSan FranciscoGeary 0301Gunst Building
Temple Emanu-El19262 Lake StreetSan FranciscoLake 0002Temple Emanu-El
Emporium Department Store1908865 Market StreetSan FranciscoMarket 0835Emporium Department Store
Warfield Theatre1922982 Market StreetSan FranciscoMarket 0982Warfield Theatre
Miramar Apartments19171580-1598 Market StreetSan FranciscoMarket 1580Miramar Apartments
El Capitan Theatre19282353 Mission StreetSan FranciscoMission 2535El Capitan Theatre
Residence19243052 Pacific AvenueSan FranciscoPacific 3052Residence
Carnegie Library: Chinatown19211135 Powell StreetSan FranciscoPowell 1135Carnegie Library: Chinatown
Carnegie Library: Presidio19213150 Sacramento StreetSan FranciscoSacramento 3150Carnegie Library: Presidio
Hammersmith Building1907301-303 Sutter StreetSan FranciscoSutter 0301Hammersmith Building
Golden Gate Theatre19221 Taylor StreetSan FranciscoTaylor 0001Golden Gate Theatre
War Memorial Complex1932301 Van Ness and 401 Van NessSan FranciscoVan Ness 0301War Memorial Complex
3052 Pacific Avenue
Photographed 17 October 2019

Before the 1906 Earthquake and Fire, rich and powerful San Franciscans built their homes on Rincon Hill and then on Nob Hill. Since then, they have preferred Pacific Heights and Presidio Heights.

In San Francisco fortunes were made in gold, silver, banking, railroads, shipping, sugar, pineapples, coffee - and now, technology.

In March 2019, Forbes published an article titled "Richest Cities In The World: The Top 10 Cities With The Most Billionaires." Two United Sates cities were on the list. New York City with eighty-four billionaires was first. The city of San Francisco, with forty-two billionaires, was seventh. (The San Francisco Bay Area had eighty-two billionaires just trailing New York City.)

Much of this money is still pouring into Pacific Heights. It seems that almost every block has at least one gutted mansion being remodeled.

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