St. Francis Square Co-op

St. Francis Square Co-op, Geary Boulevard between Laguna and Webster Streets, San Francisco, California.

Designed by Marquis & Stoller (architects), Lawrence Halprin (landscape architect) in 1963


Robert B. Marquis studied architecture in 1946 at the University of Southern California School of Architecture, and from 1949 to 1950 at the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Florence, Italy. He founded Robert B. Marquis Associates, in San Francisco in 1953 and partnered with Claude Stoller in Marquis and Stoller, Architects from 1956 to 1974. Marquis contributed significantly to the built environment of the Bay Area, particularly to its public housing and educational buildings. He designed the St. Francis Square housing complex of 1963, a low-rise grouping of moderate-income cooperative apartments that was nationally recognized as a model for sensitive urban design with his former partner, Claude Stoller, and the landscape architect Lawrence Halprin.


St. Francis Square Cooperative is an owner-occupied residential complex in San Francisco’s Western Addition/Japantown neighborhood consisting of 299 apartments housed in 12 three-story walk-up buildings that are oriented around shared landscaped courtyards.

St. Francis Square was constructed in 1963, with sponsorship of the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union.


St. Francis Square is open and accessible to the public. It is a common shortcut for pedestrians through the center of otherwise busy blocks. I tried to get a sense of the atmosphere of the housing by photographing a single unit, a long row of apartments, and part of the courtyard and paths. On a quiet weekend, with spring flowers in full bloom, St. Francis Square is a quiet, inward looking alternative to the typical street-facing housing around it, and a far remove from the Geary Street thoroughfare that borders it to the north.  

St. Francis Square Co-op