V. C. Morris Gift Shop – San Francisco, California - Atlas Obscura
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San Francisco, California

V. C. Morris Gift Shop

Early prototype for Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim.  

This building, on Maiden Lane in downtown San Francisco, California, is instantly recognizable as having the touch of Frank Lloyd Wright. While the celebrated architect didn’t actually design the building, he did oversee a renovation in 1948.

Wright would go on to use the store as a physical prototype, or proof of concept, for the circular ramp inside of the main room at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City.

Xanadu Gallery, the current owner of the building, spent considerable amounts of money to restore the building to Wright’s vision from the ’40s. Xanadu had to retrofit the building for current amenities, like central air conditioning, without losing some of Wright’s architectural touches. Even the furniture inside of the building, most of it constructed of black walnut, was designed by Wright.

In 2007, the V. C. Morris Gift Shop was listed on the American Institute of Architects’ list of the group’s 150 favorite buildings anywhere in America. It came in at number 126.

Update: The High End Italian Mens Clothier Isaia opened in the fall of 2017. You are welcome to walk around the inside.  

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