Oh, Frank Lloyd Wright… I’m not sure how livable or practical his buildings are, but experiencing them in person has an almost spiritual effect on me, and the V.C. Morris Gift Shop in San Francisco is no exception.
The fortress-like brick exterior features a semi-circular entrance:
These façade details are classic Wright:
Inside, a circular mezzanine is reached by ascending a spiral ramp made of white reinforced concrete:
Illuminated circular openings pierce the curved wall of the ramp and highlight small art objects on display [the building is currently home to the Xanadu Gallery, which specializes in fine Asian antiques]:
If the ascent is reminiscent of Wright’s Guggenheim Museum in NYC, that building was designed before this one was constructed. The V.C. Morris Gift Shop serves as a small-scale proof-of-concept for the internal spiral ramp element:
The ceiling features a grid of interlocked translucent globes suspended above the circular space:
This Space Age-looking bubble detail actually dates to 1948:
If you’re unable to visit this building in person, check out a video walk-through. Want even more Wright? Peep my photos of the Westcott House in Springfield, OH, his redesign of the Rookery lobby in Chicago, his home and studio and various other buildings in Oak Park, IL.