Elsie Street House

Elsie Street House (Veverka House), 141 Elsie Street, San Francisco, California

Designed by Gerald J. Veverka in 1985-1988


Gerald (Jerry) J. Veverka attended the University of Illinois and worked for several Midwestern architecture firms before moving to San Francisco in 1968. After 13 years of practicing in San Francisco, Veverka returned to graduate school earning a Master of Architecture degree from UC Berkeley, and then teaching for three years at California Polytechnic State University. In 1980 Veverka returned to San Francisco, where he worked on managing several large office park projects as an Associate at MBT Associates. Six years later, in 1985, he began his private practice, primarily designing residential and commercial projects in and around the Bay Area.


Jerry Veverka’s own house in the Bernal Heights (built1985-1988) neighborhood is a small, monochrome structure that perches high on the upper side of Elsie Street. The house is pared down to the basic elements that define a vision of “the house” for many Americans: the upright proportion, end-gable roofline, large windows, and prominent entrance. Veverka’s papers include an astonishing number of sketches and preparatory drawings for this house, along with a beautiful model, showing the layers of refinement that went into designing such a disarmingly simple house.

The house’s situation on the uphill side of the street precluded a standard frontal photograph of the house, but an upward-looking view captures the proportions and spare detail of the building, which prove to be very faithful to the vision Veverka laid down on paper.