Cheap Bling

November 22nd, 2015

All the gold on this façade was done with one and a half packages of leaf, or about $22. Amazingly thin stuff at around 7-millionths of an inch—the same as gold plate—it’s thin enough sunlight can pass through.

Order Behind Disorderliness

November 14th, 2015

“All discord [is] harmony not understood,” noted Alexander Pope. Discovering harmony in architecture, in what at first looks like discord, lends a wonderful richness and intrigue. Take this house on Vallejo Street. Study the ostensible jumble of unaligned windows and they’ll slowly reveal the internal layout of rooms and stair behind the façade. A similar work without the underlying […]


November 7th, 2015

Bertrand Russell on conformity, from “Furniture and the Ego”: “Tolstoy describes somewhere a newly married couple who are giving their first evening party; when it is over, they congratulate each other on the fact that it has been exactly like anyone else’s evening party. Those to whom this is the highest ambition evidently fear contempt […]

Catching Rays

November 1st, 2015

The solar energy that today lands wasted on thousands of acres of deteriorating San Francisco roof membranes will in the future be treated as a hotly contested resource. Rooftops will have to be thoughtfully partitioned, with sunlight allocated in proper proportion to roof gardens, interior daylighting (skylights), photovoltaics, and solar hot water (though increasingly efficient PV panels are […]

Bus Stop & Toilet Zealots

August 25th, 2015

  There’s a difficulty in designing one thing for multiple locations, such as a bus shelter or a public toilet. You can’t design for context since the surrounding of each installation is unique. Whatever the design, it can only display the unity of its own system. Too often, this frees a designer to promulgate his particular style at the expense of […]


March 22nd, 2013

The very normal-sized side door to this apartment house on Church is given proper entry status by an enormously over-proportioned broken pediment.  Most delightful is how the thing weighs so heavily on the doorway it actually crops off the top of the door within. The architect might have squeezed a normal pediment at the conventional […]

Geof Talks at DWR

September 18th, 2011

Geof was one of three architects to present at Design Within Reach in San Francisco, July 21, 2011. The theme was “Modernizing Your Space”. Geof talked about modernism, history, and nature in his work.