San Francisco is now home to a world-famous LEGO® art exhibition by artist Nathan Sawaya, on display at 1 Grant Avenue. Visitors can see over 70 fascinating artworks comprising 1 million LEGO Bricks, all within this magnificent and historic city landmark.
According to NoeHill, the Union Savings Bank was constructed in 1910 by Walter Danforth Bliss and William Baker Faville, 2 MIT grads who modeled it after the Roman Pantheon. The impressive structure has an enormous concrete dome, grand bronze doors, and a gorgeous façade resembling an Ionic Temple. Six large columns support a bas relief of Liberty by sculptor Haig Patigian. You can see historic plans of the building from 1913 in the American Architect and Architecture journal.
Bliss and Faville started their partnership in San Francisco in 1898, often modeling their buildings after the work of architects McKim, Mead, and White, under whom they had apprenticed. Architecture journal Architect and Engineer praised them for having an “appreciation for the antique,” as back then appropriation of other works was celebrated.
The Union Savings Bank was part of the City Beautiful Movement, which flourished in the late 19th and early 20th centuries around North America. It was characterized by urban planning that encouraged civic pride while recalling European Classical architecture. During this time, cities such as Chicago and Washington D.C. welcomed monumental grandeur into their landscapes, and San Francisco followed suit. Other local buildings from this movement include the Wells Fargo Bank Building (2 Grant Ave) and the Phelan Building (760 Market St).
The 5-story, 24,408-square-foot space is a highly-coveted retail building that just went on the market for an undisclosed amount, via prominent New York investor Ashkenazy Acquisitions Corp. It last sold for $16.3 million in 2015.
The Union Savings Bank has opened its doors to the public for the spectacular The Art of the Brick LEGO art exhibition. The display has impressed over 7 million people globally and was rated by CNN as one of the world’s “Must-See exhibitions.” It’s still up now through September 5.