It doesn’t hurt to ask. I was back in San Francisco for the first time in almost a year, coaxed by a photographer friend to join him and another photog for an evening of shooting the Chinese New Year parade. As we were looking for a bite to eat, someone had mentioned the Mechanics’ (Institute) Building and its famous staircase was nearby and was open until 5pm. Come to find out we were only a block away, only to find out from the lobby guard that building access is for members only. We were ready to accept our no access fate until I asked if it was ok if we just took a few minutes to photograph the staircase. Sure enough, after being asked to sign into the visitors’ log, given a quick briefer on what we could not photograph, we were given a few minutes to climb the staircase and shoot away.
Building Notes: Designed by Mexico-born architect Albert Pissis, another attendee of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, the Mechanics’ Institute Building was completed in 1910. Classical in style, the buildings materials were hand selected by Pissis, including white sandstone from Utah for the exterior, quarter-sewn Eastern Oak for the interior woodwork, and Belgian black marble and Tennessee pink marble for the walls of the stairway. Now considered a San Francisco Historical Landmark, the building can be toured most Wednesdays at noon. The building is still used by the Institute and contains the library, chess room, offices, and rental space.
EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center-weighted metering mode, ISO320, 35mm (prime lens), f/2.8, 1/125 sec
San Francisco (CA), Circular Iron Stairway, Opaque Round Ceiling, Monochrome. Mechanics’ Institute Building, San Francisco, CA. February 11, 2017. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.