The Page

45th Anniversary Blog Series Part II: The San Francisco Downtown Plan and a Really Big Earthquake

By the end of the 70s San Francisco had officially embraced its architectural history. Thanks to Charles Page and San Francisco Heritage, the Downtown Survey written by Michael Corbett and published as “Splendid Survivors,” meticulously researched older buildings and districts.  The Downtown Survey served as a model for preservation policies across the US. As the economic boom of the early 80s changed the city landscape with high-rise office buildings and condominiums, the preservation community along with Page & Turnbull would once again mobilize to save the City's historic character. Ain't nothin' gonna break my stride, Nobody gonna slow me down, oh no…I got to keep on movin' -Matthew Wilder Matthew Wilder’s classic 1983 song, “Break My Stride” was a perfect description of the decade’s sentiment (check it out on our Spotify playlist!). After a halting beginning, economic promise and development characterized the decade. San Francisco flourished and new skyscrapers dotted the financial district. As the city layered on twisting freeways and parking structures, it began losing its walkability and overall urbanity. The boom included high-rise condominiums in residential neighborhoods, leaving some dismayed at what they believed was a disintegration of the city’s small-scale charm. In an effort to create a more symbiotic relationship between being an international city of commerce and remaining true to its small-scale urban character, the Planning Department released its first Downtown Plan in 1983. The Department, under Allan Jacobs, released its first (and only) Urban Design Element of the city’s General Plan. The Element focused on the physical character of the city [...]

By |October 11th, 2018|Events & Activities|

45th Anniversary Series Part I: Splendid Survivors and the Environmental Movement of 1976

The 70’s were a time of social awakening, and San Francisco was at the cultural epicenter of it all. The world had seen the Earth from space for the first time in 1969, and this first glimpse of our universal home helped spark the environmental movement. The first Earth Day took place on April 22, 1970, and Congress passed the Environmental Policy Act that same year. Policymakers were examining ways to better utilize their city resources, and one of Page & Turnbull’s founding principals, Charles Page, saw his opportunity to make an impact. “A broader and more sophisticated understanding of environmental quality should encompass natural and man-made factors that make up our environment.”–Splendid Survivors The SF Downtown Survey In the mid-70's, San Francisco entered the greatest re-construction boom in building since 1906, and preservationists were losing their fight to save important historic buildings. In 1975, Charles began working with San Francisco Heritage, a nonprofit organization with a mission to preserve the city’s unique architectural and cultural identity. They realized that a more comprehensive preservation strategy was needed, and in 1978, an intensive architectural survey of downtown San Francisco was completed.  In 1979, the Downtown San Francisco Survey was published in Splendid Survivors: San Francisco’s Downtown Architectural Heritage, written by Michael Corbett. Through careful research and awareness of the potential of older buildings, historic preservation and environmental conservation began to intersect. The San Francisco Downtown Survey underscored the value of these buildings and environmentalists took note, realizing these historic properties were often well constructed and better suited [...]

By |August 16th, 2018|Architectural History, Events & Activities|

Why I chose Architecture (or how it chose me)

When I was younger I remember walking through the Ferry Building Marketplace with my family and thinking to myself how great it was to see a landmark building adapted into a multiuse space. Standing in the marketplace I was struck by the opening in the floor above, revealing the exposed steel-framed Beaux Arts style architecture which allowed natural light to flow into the space. This experience was one of a few moments that I would have that led me to pursue architecture, and is depicted in one of my very first school projects. Little did I know that a decade later I would be working for the firm that played a key role in the redevelopment of the Ferry Building. Page & Turnbull was not only present in the renovation that happened from 1998 to 2003, but also produced Design Guidelines in 1978 that would be used for future changes. These guidelines showed how Adaptive Reuse could have a positive impact on a neighborhood, reinvigorating a building that once only served a single purpose into something that serves the community in multiple ways. The building immediately became successful after reopening and provided a path for which other Adaptive Reuse projects could follow. We’ve also worked with EHDD on the Exploratorium at Pier 15 in converting a historic pier and warehouse into a public educational museum. Like the Ferry Building, the Exploratorium became successful right after reopening at their new location. We’re also working on renovating the St. Joseph’s Church, converting it from [...]

By |January 5th, 2018|Events & Activities|


Page & Turnbull Office Salons is a quarterly-ish series of conversations about broad themes in architecture and conservation. Designer Lingxiu Chong shares her thoughts on our most recent Salon about Color held in San Francisco with guest speaker, London-based academic and designer Adam Nathaniel Furman. Enjoy this read about Adam’s research into architectural polychromy and how our work celebrates California’s colorful past, present and future!  One of my favorite things about working at Page & Turnbull is that as a multi-disciplinary office, we constantly collaborate and exchange ideas across architectural design, history and conservation. It keeps us curious, open-minded and excited about the work we do in historic environments. The Office Salons came about as a platform for us to expand our conversations about broader, emerging themes we’ve noticed in our cities, throughout California, or the profession in general. One such theme is color. In historic architecture, color is often one of the most transformative and controversial aspects of conserving and adapting buildings for new uses. It is also one of those elusive qualities of a historic building that requires extensive sampling, testing and archival research to pin down. We love thinking and talking about the ‘color’ stories we’ve encountered in our projects. So we were thrilled to have Adam Nathaniel Furman join us during his recent visit to the Bay Area. Adam leads an international research project called Saturated Space, supported by the Architectural Association. Besides championing the cause of bringing color back into in contemporary architecture, Adam and his collaborators [...]

By |July 12th, 2017|Events & Activities, Firm News, News|

The Historic House that Moved Across the Street

The Peabody Werden Duplex Move On June 30, 2016 the East LA Community Corporation (ELACC) took the next step in its preservation efforts of the ca. 1890 Peabody Werden Duplex in Boyle Heights by relocating it to the other side of the street. The Peabody Werden House is a two-unit, two-story residential property in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. Constructed ca. 1890, the House is one of the oldest and few remaining examples of a turn-of-the-century duplex residential property composed in the Queen Anne style. It was found to be individually eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places (National Register) in 2001 as part of a historic resources survey for the Los Angeles Metro Authority’s Los Angeles Eastside Corridor Environmental Impact Report (EIR). Page & Turnbull was hired early on to study the feasibility of relocating the sizable duplex. Though it would be challenging, due to the sheer size of the house, Page & Turnbull concluded that relocation was indeed possible. Page & Turnbull was then further retained to prepare permit drawings to relocate the house to a receiver site across the street. The Duplex was moved intact, following removal of non-contributing additions to the rear of the property. The relocation of the historically significant building was required as part of ELACC’s Cielito Lindo affordable housing development. Future rehabilitation and reuse of the Peabody Werden Duplex will occur as part of a separate development, the Soto Station Joint Development project, which is being developed by ELACC in partnership with [...]

By |July 18th, 2016|Page & Turnbull Projects|
Load More Posts