Structure Type: built works - public buildings - hospitals

Designers: Bakewell and Brown, Architects (firm); Coffey, Alfred I., Architect (firm); Kaplan, McLaughlin and Diaz (KMD), Architects (firm); John Bakewell Jr. (architect); Arthur Brown Jr. (architect); Alfred I. Coffey (architect); James Diaz (architect); Ellis Kaplan (architect); Herbert P. McLaughlin Jr. (architect)

Dates: constructed 1926-1928

7 stories

355 Buena Park East
Buena Vista Park, San Francisco, CA 94117

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Building History

The Franciscan Sisters opened this Catholic hospital in 1889. A new building was erected by the Franciscans in 1926, which was later landmarked.

Like other hospitals in San Francisco, CA, Saint Joseph's lost money due to a paucity of patients and a lack of low-cost labor (nuns) to operate it. It closed in 1980, becoming senior housing. Some of its supplies were purchased by nearby Children's Hospital.

By the late 1980s, it was transformed into luxury condominiums.


The architectural firm of Kaplan, McLaughlin and Diaz (KMD) worked on the transformation of the former Saint Joseph's building into condominiums. KMD performed this renovation for the developer, The Aspen Group of San Francisco, CA. According to the book New Construction for Older Buildings (1990): "Saint Joseph's Hospital in San Francisco was built in the Spanish Revival style and consisted of three buildings: the hospital itself, a convent, and a chapel. Two of the buildings--the hospital and the convent--have been converted to 136 condominium units. San Francisco's strict environmental laws and regulations and an active citizen's association led to extensive negotiations before construction could begin. Originally, the developer proposed that new construction be added; this was required to be scaled back so that only existing buildings were included as part of the plan. The building also had to be reinforced to meet California's sesmic code. The hospital and convent interiors were completely gutted. Because the hospital building is only 38 feet wide, about half of the width of conventional buildings. the designers devised 29 separate apartment models that are quite long with numerous windows. The project saved the original windows and the entire exterior of the buildings. The chapel serves as a community center; the interior domed roof, murals, and stained glass windows were retained. Parking for the project was created by excavating unde the central plaza of the hospital building." (See Peter H. Semallie and Peter H. Smith, New Construction for Older Buildings, [New York: Wiley-Interscience Publication, 1990], pp. 55-56.)

PCAD id: 7011