Human Gargoyles

As anyone who has traveled with me knows, I am fascinated by creatures on buildings — or, in this case, humans on buildings! Dotted all around this green terra cotta façade are male figures that could be either friend or foe. Are they benevolently guarding the building, like sentries, or are they menacing, like gargoyles? His expression is calm, but to me the devilish beard and the chopping-block pose look like a warning to other would-be criminals.

I went in search of answers about the original design intent, but my Google-fu has let me down. I was only able to find the basics: Is it’s now called Pacific Place, but was built in 1907 as the Pacific Union Building, the largest reinforced concrete office tower in the world. It was extensively rebuilt in the late 90s by Tipping Mar.

If you’re ever at Powell and Market in San Francisco and can see past the distracting Old Navy marquee, check them out.