Holly Courts Housing Project – San Francisco CA


From FoundSF: “Although widely used in European cities throughout the 20th century, publicly funded housing did not seriously penetrate the U.S. landscape until the Great Depression. An effort to create better and cheaper housing, the first subsidized housing program of 1937 wasn’t enacted until it could be coupled economically with the more pressing objective of reducing unemployment and thus stabilizing the economy….

Work began quickly on three of the projects, the most prominent of which was Holly Courts, located on the southern side of Bernal Heights between Holly park and Mission. Designed by Arthur Brown Jr. , also the designer of Coit tower, the project called for 118 units fronted on the street, surrounding an interior of landscaped courts and play spaces…

The deterministic nature of early public housing shaped a panopticon-like, segregated microenvironment, later expressed clearly by HUD as “a city within the city”. The Holly Court design of 1938 is structurally a stylized borrowing of the self-enclosed ward grafted on to the loosely urbanized landscape of Bernal Heights in pre-World War 2 San Francisco.”

Arthur Brown, Jr. was the Beaux-Arts architect of San Francisco City Hall and UC Berkeley’s Sproul Hall as well.

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Location Info

100 Appleton Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94110

Location notes:

Coordinates: 37.738385, -122.422850

2 comments on “Holly Courts Housing Project – San Francisco CA


    Is there any way to find out more about these buildings? I happen to see them on a walk. Now that I know they are 80 years old I’m even more impressed at their tidy appearance, proportions, and condition. As a structural engineer, I would like to know the wall thickness and story height. I’m also curious about how efficiently they are heated slash cooled and the architectural, interior wall surface.

  2. This was my first home back in the sixties. My dad went to Berkeley and this was student housing for families.

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