Art Deco San Francisco: The Architecture of Timothy Pflueger

Timothy Pflueger, the largely unknown architect who shaped some of the loveliest buildings in San Francisco, was actually well-known during his working years. He left school as a 13 year old, entering into apprenticeship in a drafting house to help rebuild the city after the 1906 devastation. He joined his mentor, James Miller, and was encouraged to attend the evening classes of the SF Architectural Club that embraced the academic style of the École des Beaux Arts. It was through this program that he prepared for the California Architects Board license exam.
Some of his major hits:
* Paramount Theater, Oakland (gorgeous lush Queen of movie palaces)
* Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Building (140 New Montgomery)
* 450 Sutter Medical Building
* San Francisco Stock Exchange (now a gym)
* Castro Theater (the original theater was in Cliff’s Variety Store building)
* Alhambra Theater (Polk & Union, now a gym)
* 155 Sansome St. (which houses the City Club and the Rivera mural)
* El Rey Theater (Ocean Ave, now Voice of Pentecost Church)
* New Mission Theater (he renovated a previous design, added the marquee which is now being taken down)
* Alamo School (23rd Avenue @ California)
* Roosevelt Junior High (Arguello @ Geary)
* George Washington High School (32nd Ave @ Anza)
* SF City College (Science Hall. Home to much of art done in the 1939-40 World’s Fair at Treasure Island)
* Bay Bridge (long story, his influence was somewhat destroyed by a lesser architect and the cost conscious engineers who drove the project), any of the nicer elements (Yerba Buena tunnel entrance)
* Transbay Terminal (now destroyed)
* Bal Tabarin (the bar at Bimbo’s 365 Club)
* The Cirque (at Fairmont hotel (murals done by Esther Bruton) – now only open for special events
* Top of the Mark circular bar
* I Magnin building on Union Square (now Macy’s, all that’s left is the marble 6th floor bathroom)
Influential in forming SFMOMA. Died unexpectedly early (54) of heart failure after a nightly swim at the Olympic Club. Encouraged his artist friends by giving them commissions in his buildings. Close to Stackpole, Rivera, etc.