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These Historic Northern California Buildings Are Golden
June 7, 2021

These Historic Northern California Buildings Are Golden

by The CE Shop Team

Northern California Architecture Is a Slice of Paradise

From Redwood forests to Silicon Valley, Northern California has provided more than its fair share of iconic contributions to society. But did you know that this California love also extends to architecture? While the history behind the Golden Gate Bridge may be a little more mainstream, the backstories of these three NorCal compounds might surprise you. 

Ahwahnee Hotel

Ahwahnee Hotel

One of the most iconic buildings in Northern California’s Yosemite National Park, the Ahwahnee hotel has a rich history to match its rustic charm. Stephen Mather, the National Park Service’s first director, sought to drive funding to his organization and Yosemite itself, which happened to be his favorite park. Mather opted to build a luxury hotel to attract wealthy patrons, bringing on Gilbert Stanley Underwood, a renowned, Harvard-educated architect. The lodge was named Ahwahnee, or “land of the gaping mouth”, to honor the Indigenous people who had called Yosemite home for centuries before the settlers arrived. The building opened for business in 1927, and it was declared a national landmark 60 years later. Today, you can explore this piece of history and join the list of illustrious former guests, including Lucille Ball and Queen Elizabeth the II, for as little as $341 per night.

Marin County Civic Center

Marin County Civic Center
Source: Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

When considering great architecture, a government building probably isn’t the first thing that springs to mind. The Marin County Civic Center, however, is the exception to the rule. The distinctive Hall of Justice, designed by visionary Frank Lloyd Wright, was constructed in 1969 to centralize the county’s many individualized departments. Wright paid particular attention to the interior, prioritizing open space, glass walls, and skylights to symbolize transparency in government work. The exterior is no less impressive, though. Even today, the campus is well known for its peach stucco facade and charming blue roof. Stop by for a walking tour or pay special attention the next time you’re tending to a parking ticket. After all, this building is an important piece of Northern California’s architectural history. 

Transamerica Pyramid

Transamerica Pyramid

The Transamerica Pyramid may be one of the most infamous structures on the San Francisco skyline. Construction, beginning in 1972, was initially met with public outcry, with residents disparaging the building’s unique shape. This specific shape, however, was actually selected to maximize the amount of light and air that could reach the streets of the Golden City below. Over time, San Franciscans warmed to the one-of-a-kind tower. Today, the Transamerica Pyramid represents some of the unique charm of the city, and it’s one of the most photographed buildings in the world. A pocket park at the building’s base provides passersby with stellar views, Redwood shade, and, in the summer months, a series of concerts and other live performances. Despite the public’s initial resistance, the San Francisco skyline simply wouldn’t be the same without this special structure.

Architecture and Real Estate

So, how exactly do these feats of engineering apply to your real estate practice? We promise we’re building up to something! Understanding and appreciating architectural design styles can help you become a more informed and helpful agent. Taking some time to learn about and reflect on different architectural styles can help you steer clients to the right home, whether they’re seeking a Craftsman or a Colonial. 

Plus, in-depth knowledge of your market is critical as an agent. Northern California’s real estate market is quickly heating up, so there’s no better time to grow your knowledge, build on your career, and differentiate yourself from the competition.

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