San Francisco Landmarks

San Francisco Landmark 132: Savings Union Bank 14 June 2008
San Francisco Landmark #132
Savings Union Bank
1 Grant Avenue At Market
Built 1910

The Savings Union Bank building was designed by the partnership of Walter Danforth Bliss and William Baker Faville, both graduates of MIT, who began their San Francisco practice in 1898.

The Savings Union Bank building is an example of what Architect and Engineer called the first period of Bliss and Faville's work characterized by an "enthusiasm for the antique" and an interest in the work of McKim, Mead and White, in whose office both architects had apprenticed.

The Savings Union Bank building and the Wells Fargo Bank building across the street (San Francisco Landmark 131) are a gateway to Grant Avenue. These two buildings along with the adjacent Phelan Building (San Francisco Landmark 156) and other immediate neighbors form a splendid group of contemporary designs embodying the ideals of the City Beautiful Movement. This gateway to Grant Avenue is perhaps the best of the older Market Street intersections.

The building is derived from the Roman Pantheon. Its steel frame is clad in granite and surmounted by a reinforced concrete dome. The main Grant Avenue facade is formed by a pedimented Ionic Temple front with a bas relief of Liberty by Haig Patigian. The bronze doors represent "the historical succession of races in the state."

In 2008, when the photograph was taken, the building housed an Emporio Armani store.

Adapted from San Francisco City Planning Resolution 8901 approved 9 April 1981

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