Hobart Building by Willis Polk

Hobart Building by Willis Polk

Designed by Willis Polk, completed in 1914 and now celebrating its centennial, the Hobart Building is located at 582 Market St. on the edge of the Financial District in downtown San Francisco.

Per usual, I was drawn to this building when I caught a glimpse of this gorgeous, over-sized chandelier gracing the lobby, but ornate detailing can be found throughout:

Hobart Building by Willis Polk

The black and metallic finishes seem a bit glam for an office building:

Hobart Building by Willis Polk

The lobby is luxurious but compact and oddly shaped — the building’s lot is a polygon, yielding these strange angles:

Hobart Building by Willis Polk

The walls are covered in marble and feature this matching clock:

Hobart Building by Willis Polk

The lobby’s black/metallic theme spills out onto the doorway:

Hobart Building by Willis Polk

The best vantage point, and as much of a true “front” as the funky Hobart has, is from 2nd St., which was a major street at the time of the building’s construction:

Hobart Building by Willis Polk

Hobart Building by Willis Polk

Viewed from down Market St., you can better understand the footprint of the building. There was originally a tall neighbor on the west side, which explains the lack of windows on the lower section of the Hobart [check out historic photos to see the original context]:

Hobart Building by Willis Polk

Willis Polk was born in Jacksonville, IL and worked in St. Louis, Kansas City and Chicago before settling in San Francisco as the West Coast representative of D.H. Burnham & Company. The 1906 earthquake provided Polk with many professional opportunities, and he convinced the city to adopt Burnham’s 1909 Plan of San Francisco.

Although “Make no small plans for they have not the power to stir men’s minds” is often attributed to Daniel Burnham, it is apparently a statement made by Willis Polk.

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