SF considers granting landmark status to house designed by Golden Gate Bridge architect

San Francisco’s first known modern residential building is on its way to receiving landmark status.

The home at 171 San Marcos Ave. in The City’s Forest Hill neighborhood is known as the “Cowell House” because of its association with composer Henry Cowell. It was also designed by renowned architectural firm Morrow & Morrow, several years after Irving Morrow designed the architectural components of the Golden Gate Bridge.

At its meeting Wednesday, the Historic Preservation Commission will consider a resolution to recommend that the Board of Supervisors grant the home landmark status, after initiating the lengthy landmark designation process over the summer.

The Cowell House was commissioned by Henry Cowell’s stepmother in 1933, and it served as a performance and gathering space for the New Music Society that was founded by Henry Cowell for performers and composers to make and discuss music.

The home itself is credited as one of The City’s earliest single-family houses with a modern design.

“The detached, redwood-clad building is an early iteration of what would later become known as the Second Bay Tradition style,” according to city documents. “The house embodies a woodsy, yet sleek aesthetic that came to characterize the region-specific interpretation of European-style Modernism.”

The Historic Preservation Commission meeting takes place at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.

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