A San Francisco apartment building was redesigned to look less luxurious after a planner criticized its heavily-glazed windows for appearing “class and privilege.”
Myrna Melgar, then a member of the San Francisco Planning Commission, pushed back on the original design for the building at 1900 Mission Street in 2017.
Stated that the windows would not fit in with the neighbourhood and were a statement of class privilege.
However, Melgar was living in her own million-dollar home with large panoramic windows at the time.
The 1900 Mission Street building was intended to be a seven-story apartment complex with floor-to-ceiling windows. Developers proposed demolishing an auto body shop to make way for retail on the ground floor and apartments above the street.
Community activists raised concerns about the project, citing fears that it would disrupt the neighbourhood’s established community and destroy a local business.
The matter was referred to the San Francisco Planning Commission, then led by Melgar.
During the commission hearing, Melgar expressed her dislike for the building’s design and stated that large windows were a statement of class privilege.
She claimed that poor people did not have everything out on the street, and the design rankled her.
Other commission members agreed with Melgar, and ultimately the architects were forced to redesign the building with a more muted facade that would fit better into the neighbourhood’s landscape.
The building is now near completion, and some people have expressed disappointment with its less interesting appearance.
Some have also criticized the idea of designing buildings by committee, arguing that it could lead to bland and uninspired designs.
According to Zillow, Melgar now serves on the board of supervisors and continues to live in her three-bedroom, 1,815-square-foot home worth about $1.8 million.