Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wednesday Search Challenge (6/26/13): What are the names & styles of those buildings?

The buildings of downtown SF.  (Google Maps 3D view)
I was driving through downtown San Francisco on a beautiful, sunny day.  As I drove, I passed a pair of beautiful buildings that I wanted to learn about. 

As I passed the first building, I saw the name and quickly jotted it down on a pad of paper I keep in my car for just such moments.  Looking at my pad later, I saw that I wrote down the name as the “Adam Green” building in SF.

As I drove down the block, there was an even more beautiful building next door.  I didn’t get the name of this second building, all I know is that it’s a light, almost white color.

When I got home and tried to look up these two buildings, I started with the “Adam Green” building, but was surprised to learn that there *isn’t* any such named building in San Francisco!  Obviously, I made an error in transcription. 

Today’s challenges: 

1.  Can you figure out what the name of the two buildings are?
 2.  Can you identify the architectural styles of the two buildings?   (Note: Don’t give me your attempt to identify the style, please find an authoritative source that identifies their styles.) 

As we always do, please tell us HOW you solved this search challenge, and let us know how long you took to solve the challenge!

Search on!


  1. adam grant building - beaux-arts
    shell building - art deco/ art moderne

    for the how -
    searched: adam green building san francisco. then changed to green building san francisco (no luck). then: adam building san francisco and google auto-filled "adam grant"

    street view and google earth to find shell building.

    website: emporis - building directory had the styles. quick follow-up searches confirmed.

    10 minutes tops

  2. [ san francisco famous buildings ] Adam Grant looks close to Adam Green ! clearly states this is Beaux arts style. Click on MAP link and arrive in streetview where I drive around as you did and find next door another amazing building.

    So, First Building is Adam Grant, Beaux Arts style.

    [ 130 Bush St sf ] finds:

    Second is the Heineman Building for which I consult Vernacular Language North which is a research effort that promotes informed appreciation for the history of the San Francisco Bay Region and Northern California through the study of its built environment. It specifically deals with the origins, significance, and influence of Bay Area Tradition architecture and public art, as evidenced by the work of its leading architects, engineers, designers, artists, craftsmen, journeymen, and patrons.
    and find a grand description quoting various books. The style is described as Gothic, neo-gothic and gothic revival.

    I am now really looking forward to re visiting SF


  3. This fooled me for a while and several attempts around Adam Green got me nowhere.
    Then I suddenly realised that I was probably being too specific and that if you were writing this in a hurry, the beginning was probably right rather than the end so I tried
    [Adam building San Francisco]
    and bingo first result is Adam Grant building

    A slope off to Google maps for a look at Street View and a look around and I'm pretty sure this is it.
    Of course I can't tell what direction you were travelling in but nearby is a white building which looks interesting and again zoom in on Street View and I can see it says Shell Building.
    Wikipedia then tells me all about the Shell Building at SF as being a mixture of new Gothic and Art Deco.
    To double check I go to Google Books and a search there for ["Shell Building"]finds several books including San Francisco Art Deco By Michael F. Crowe, Robert W. Bowen and has several pages on the building.
    The Adam Grant building proves more elusive but a search for ["adam Grant building" san francisco] brings up as 4th result
    They call it "Beaux Arts" and talk about numerous changes that have made to it. Is that definitive enough?
    I'm sure there's a lot more out there but I stopped at that point.

    Took about 30 mins but a good portion of that was being fooled at the beginning by being too specific!

  4. Good day, Dr. Russell, fellow SearchResearchers


    [downtown san francisco adam * building]

    [Adam Grant Building] in Google Maps Streetview.

    [Adam Grant architectural style]

    ["adam grant building" intext:architectural style] in books. Found:
    National Trust Guide/ San Francisco: America´s Guide for...
    Found: 130 Bush Street "Heineman Building"

    [130 Street Bush San Francisco] in StreetView. Found "Shell Building"


    1. Can you figure out what the name of the two buildings are?
    A. Adam Grant Building and the other I believe is "Heineman Building" now called "Shell Building".

    2. Can you identify the architectural styles of the two buildings?
    B: Beaux Arts.

  5. need to recharge the old Tesla now - so much wandering about to find a green building and white one, near each other…
    then I'm being honked at as I travel down Sansome St. and bam! there's the Adam Grant building on my left and as I look for a parking place, there's the old Standard Oil building @ 225 Bush (by George William Kelham - he also did the Shell building, the Federal Reserve Bank of SF and a fair amount of work at Berkeley) anyway he was trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris in 1896 so I'm guessing you are looking for these to be examples of the Beaux-Arts style … he did work in NYC, pre-SF, and two of the best U.S. examples are there: Grand Central Terminal and the New York Public Library.

    Dan - isn't jotting and driving illegal in the People's Republic of SF?;•)

    anyway, a little background on Adam Grant: am going to give the Bush Street Cafe a try for coffee… then back to Spear. may be terminated for spending so much time out driving around searching for ground truth…
    Adam Green

    1. Did you REALLY drive around looking for Ground Truth? (Now *there's* a great name for a coffee shop...) Excellent.

  6. Dan - I followed a similar path as Mr. Lilley & Ms. George to arrive at the Adam Grant, but there appears to be divergence on the 2nd building - ambiguity is refreshing sometimes.
    Know there are many options, but would hate to see you ticketed, rear-end someone or end up in the hoosegow - you might give this a tumble instead of 'jotting'… not that paper/ink/graphite are bad.
    Goo Keep

  7. Facts known
    San Francisco downtown - building with Adam Green label. Second bldg similar, white.
    Query ["san francisco" "adam green" building architecture] no results
    Query [ san francisco landmark buildings "green"] Image of Transamerica Pyramid Bldg.
    Query [san francisco green building] Wiki Transamerica bldg-
    Address 600 Montgomery Avenue> Coordinates>Maps>Google Maps Earth
    Query [street view ] Montgomery Street near Pyramid Bldg- no definite results
    Query[san francisco green buildings] Green Buildings SF- [control f - green] no results
    Using Google earth Street View literally went around the block of this building- nothing stands out visually.
    Up until now focused on "green" but running into all the 'green buildings'
    So different approach 'what if adam is correct name'
    Query [ san francisco building "adam *"]
    Second result Adam Grant building 114 Sansome Street - 4 blocks from Transamerica Pyramid so can't be this building even though it is an amazing building.
    So now go for a walk around the block for building next door.
    Shell Building 100 Bush Street > wiki > refers to it as modern gothic
    Heineman Building 130 Bush Street > skinniest building makes it noteworthy> easily overlooked but it is next door.
    Authoritative architectural style
    Query [architecture styles san francisco database]
    Pacific Coast Architectural Database Structure Adam Grant and Heineman Bldg but no comments regarding architectural style.
    San Francisco Property Information Map Database 114 Sansome Street Adam Grant Building
    Built originally 1908 - Architect John Galen Howard - Style Chicago School Influence
    130 Bush Street Heineman Building Built 1910 Architect MacDonald & Applegarth Style Gothic Ornament.
    Time - Once I redirected my search it took about 30 minutes to find the two buildings. The search for style took longer. Total time probably close to 2 hours.

  8. There is no simple answer...

    I assume you meant the building at 114 Sansome Street, aka The Adam Grant Building, built in 1908 as a six story building. It underwent major changes in 1926, adding eight stories for it's current height of 14 stories.

    Now here's the not so simple piece... you said next door... in which direction? North or East? There are two buildings adjacent to the Adam Grant Building. To the East there is, 130 Bush Street, aka The Heineman Building, built in 1910 (San Francisco's skinniest)or to the North 140-142 Sansome St... a nondescript building.

    Or did you not see 130 Bush Steet and only noticed 100 Bush Street aka The Shell Building?

    Well if you were travelling East on Bush... How did you notice the name of the building? The name is on Sansome... there is no lettering on Bush Street. Were you travelling North on Sansome? but 140-142 Sansome is only "beautiful" in a mother's eye.

    At this point I must give up guessing... and go onto the Architectural Styles.

    Still no clear answer... The Adam Green Building is labelled Beaux-Arts. A bit of a stretch if you know your Architectural Styles. At best it could be called an American Commercial with Beaux-Arts details.

    The nondescript building of 140-142 Sansome is Art Deco.

    The Heineman Building (skinniest of San Francisco) is a Gothic Revivial...

    The Shell Building is Art Deco, although the wiki page tries to add Gothic Moderne... but there are no Gothic details and I've never heard of Gothic Moderne... but wait did they too miss the little masterpiece of The Heineman Building as well!

    I give up... there's no way to tell

  9. I was short of time but I might have found the answer if only I hadn't stubbornly assumed that "Green" would have to be part of the building's real name (or "type" of building; indeed, that's what I assumed and looked for "green buildings" in SF).