Collection by Diana Budds

San Francisco's "Forgotten Modernism"


While I was on a scouting trip for a future Dwell Reports story, I came across the work of local artist and architect Michael Murphy, his "Forgotten Modernism" series specifically. Three years ago, Murphy returned to San Francisco after a brief stint in London. Seeing the city with semi-fresh eyes made him realize that there are great modernist structures that get lost among all the Victorians, Edwardians, bay windows, Beaux Arts finery, and decorative cornices that city's structures are best known for (and which we do love). "There's so much good modern architecture in the city, but it gets ignored," says Murphy. "I was surprised that the city still has these undiscovered architectural gems and there are so many more out there waiting to be found," he continues. Murphy travels around the city, finds a scene, and creates a composite image of the surrounding the landmarks. While the view might not be exactly true to life, all the parts exist in that line of sight. There are 12 different posters in the series, which are available from Murphy's site or Zinc Details. In the slideshow that follows, have a look at six of them.

A modern version of the Painted Ladies inspired by a series of homes near USF.
The North Beach public library was the first in the series.
A montage of San Francisco's fire houses.
Looking Market street toward the Embarcadero Ferry Building.
Skidmore Owings & Merrill's One Bush building on Market street.
The Jack Tar hotel.