The Presidio is an artistic landscape of wilderness and historic military hallmarks taking on new dimensions. The one-time homes of Army Officers are now $4,000 a month rentals for young families looking for that classically simple lifestyle within the boundaries of the big city. And as the onslaught of entrepreneurs and technology workers converges on San Francisco, the Presidio is positioned to benefit in more ways than one.
Architect Robert Wallace keeps pace with this transformation as the Associate Director of Design for the Presidio Trust. He is proud to see this space thrive as a self-sufficient entity as the demand for the unique, richly restored environment takes off — both for residential and commercial tenants.
Some 18 years after the Army left, the Presidio is the très cool place to work or reside. Last April, I had the good fortune of taping Wallace as he escorted the public through the renovation of a former barracks on Montgomery Row. This time, I got to go back for a rare glimpse inside where people live and invent and some buildings that are still a work in progress.
One of those structures is the one-time stockade – or Army jail – that no one seems to know what to do with next. Perhaps it would be great to rent out to film crews, or as an archive building; but the best use for this 100 year old landmark has yet to be determined. There’s still no plans for the old movie theater where Bob Hope once performed, or for supply buildings that supported the former hospital which is now the site of LucasArts.
But it’s exciting to see this famed space while it’s still a work in progress and imagine what will land here next. Yesterday’s Army barracks are being re-designed for today’s slick new startups and brand new uses are still on the drawing board.