El Capistrano

Patterns from an Art Deco building

El Capistrano is a prominent building in the Mission District of San Francisco. Its size strikes in a minor street corner, compared to the much lower 2-3 story-tall neighborhood. Its distinct style and brick pattern makes it my favorite building in that part of the city.

When my friend told me they’d be visiting a friend in the building, I got invited over and we explored the patterns of the Great Depression-era structure in details, following the well-described South Mission Historic Survey Results:

“Built in 1932, 3440 25th Street is a 7-story, reinforced concrete apartment building designed in an eclectic style with elements of the Art Deco style. The rectangular-plan building is clad in cast stone at the entry and window bays, ceramic tile at the roofline, and brick on the remainder of the façade. The building is capped by a flat roof. The foundation is concrete.”
“The primary façade faces south and includes 7 structural bays. The recessed entry consists of a fully-glazed wood door with sidelights and a glazed transom with a molded wood surround. The door, sidelights and transom are covered with ornamental metal grilles.”
“The entry porch consists of a marble base, terrazzo stairs, engaged mushroom columns, stylized piers with fluting, and a shaped parapet with stylized Art Deco flower motifs. The entry is located on the center of the primary façade and is flancked by a molded concrete watertable.”
“The secondary (west) façade features 2 integral garages with roll-up metal garage doors. The remainder of the façade consists of alternating angled window bays and flat bays. Each 5-story angled bay features double-hung vinyl and wood-sash windows with spandrel panels. The spandrel panels also feature the same stylized Art Deco floral motif of the entry porch. Each angled bay is capped with a balconette with column-shaped balusters. Above each balconette are 2 segmentally-arched transom windows. The primary façade terminates in blind arcades infilled with ceramic tile and capped by a sculpted frieze with a zig-zag motiff.”
“The building appears to be in good condition.”