Join 3,438 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Delivering Genuine, Raw Fetish Since 1997!
January 11, 2007 7:02 PM   Subscribe

The San Francisco Armory, was built in 1914 and its 200,000 square feet spans an entire city block. For 30 years empty, abandoned, defunct, its imposing architecture, modeled on a Moorish castle, has long been an unsettling and intriguing curiosity for local residents. But new life will at least be breathed into this historic monument: the Armory has been purchased by Kink.com [nsfw], a fetish porn studio that will soon begin filming within its walls.
posted by bukharin (41 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh, how lovely. Still, I guess it's better than being torn down.
posted by keswick at 7:07 PM on January 11, 2007


In 1986 I lived in an international hostel at Mission and 15th for several months. (It was off-season and the management was lenient.) It never occurred to me that that big dump on the next block might be special.

By the way, I still miss the old Picaro, before it went upscale.
posted by davy at 7:12 PM on January 11, 2007


What, is there something wrong with San Fernando Valley? All the money the porn industry makes, and they gotta use a landmark to do their filming? Not that I care that much, living a thousand miles from SF.
posted by kozad at 7:23 PM on January 11, 2007


I see porn music is still alive and well anyway
posted by A189Nut at 7:27 PM on January 11, 2007


Nobody else came up with the cash for it, so good on them. It'll get the prudes up in arms, but big deal. The prudes are always upset over something anyway. It's a beautiful looking building that was left derelict for 30 years.

As for all the porn industries money my impression has always been that it's cash rich for a few, for some it's upper middle class (but you can lease a nice seven series bmw to make you look richer) and hand to mouth for the rest.
posted by substrate at 7:32 PM on January 11, 2007


long been an unsettling and intriguing curiosity for local residents.

I expect this won't change much now that the building has these new owners.
posted by Dave Faris at 7:37 PM on January 11, 2007


The Armory? I wonder if the new owners are going to rename it The Fistory.
posted by fandango_matt at 7:40 PM on January 11, 2007


The Armory? I wonder if the new owners are going to rename it The Fistory.

Oh, but why stop there?
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:45 PM on January 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


As for all the porn industries money my impression has always been that it's cash rich for a few, for some it's upper middle class (but you can lease a nice seven series bmw to make you look richer) and hand to mouth for the rest.

Sounds like the reality of any industry.
posted by dbiedny at 7:55 PM on January 11, 2007


Will they rename it Candlestick Park?
posted by Frank Grimes at 7:58 PM on January 11, 2007


I live down the street from this armory, which is from the photos more visually impressive than the San Francisco version.

We don't get porn though. The most impressive Rhode Island gets is when "Underdog" was filmed there.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:05 PM on January 11, 2007


I was always amazed nobody purchased this given that it takes up an entire San Francisco city block.
posted by vacapinta at 8:06 PM on January 11, 2007


I lived about a block from the Cranston Street Armory and everyone I knew in providence used to fantasize about finding a way in. Photos don't help to appreciate the scale of that building - it is at least a city block long, and perhaps half a block wide. MASSIVE. PROVIDENCE MASSIVE.
posted by casconed at 8:12 PM on January 11, 2007


1914? A historic monument?

That would make my house a historic monument as well.

Any porn stars looking for a historic monument to rehearse or shoot in, please contact me ASAP.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:20 PM on January 11, 2007



1914? A historic monument?

It's listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as it should be.
posted by bukharin at 8:26 PM on January 11, 2007


For some reason I've got an uncontrollable urge to defenestrate.
posted by shoepal at 8:47 PM on January 11, 2007


At least some assholes aren't going to tear another historical building down.

Although "assholes" and "tear" could probably be worked into a more appropriate sentence, given the situation...
posted by gottabefunky at 9:00 PM on January 11, 2007


Yeah, many have tried and many have failed to do something with that buiding. As recently as last month, there was still thought of trying to get housing in there. The seismic work alone must be pretty daunting.

This new plan and proposed use, though, makes me see the Drill Court space in a whole new light. Interesting note: The Examiner article linked here says the Drill Court was also used for filming the spaceship scenes in Star Wars.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 9:04 PM on January 11, 2007


Hope the anti-gentrification folks are happy, this from back in '00

"Earlier this month, big plans for the 190,300-square-foot monolith were scrapped once again when anti-gentrification protesters intimidated the new owners by turning a recent Planning Commission meeting into a near riot. Dallas-based Eikon Investments originally planned to create a dot-com office complex that would have employed some 600 people. But the Mission Anti-Displacement Coalition (MAC), the group of artists, activists and nonprofit workers that have become the vox populi for anti-dom-com sentiment, vociferously objected. They argued that a large, upscale office complex would drive up rents in the area, create congestion and further colonize the beloved working-class neighborhood with six-figure-earning pond scum."
posted by zeoslap at 9:04 PM on January 11, 2007



Thanks for the additional background. I figured there was some contention over this place.
posted by bukharin at 9:54 PM on January 11, 2007


Totally awesome. As a company Kink.com seems pretty great, too.
posted by wemayfreeze at 10:10 PM on January 11, 2007


substrate : and hand to mouth for the rest.

Who else read that way the wrong way?
posted by Grimgrin at 10:12 PM on January 11, 2007


This is 17 shades of cool.
posted by Ynoxas at 10:19 PM on January 11, 2007


... They argued that a large, upscale office complex would drive up rents in the area, create congestion and further colonize the beloved working-class neighborhood with six-figure-earning pond scum."

I suppose they thought there'd be tension with the speedball-mainlining street scum.

It's pretty ludicrous that anyone would consider that particular stretch of Mission Street "beloved". It's a great place to park because the neighborhood is so crufty- there are always plenty of spots.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:20 PM on January 11, 2007




It's pretty ludicrous that anyone would consider that particular stretch of Mission Street "beloved".

Certainly that building does a lot to make the area around it somewhat dead, too. Maybe the reverberating howls of leather-bound lesbians being double penetrated by electric dildos will liven things up a bit.
posted by bukharin at 10:50 PM on January 11, 2007


Hope the anti-gentrification folks are happy...

I think you meant that sarcastically but, personally, I think this is a much cooler fate than a dot-com office complex.

And, yeah, that building seems to give off this silent hum of deadness into the surrounding area.
posted by vacapinta at 11:47 PM on January 11, 2007


planned to create a dot-com office complex that would have employed some 600 people

funny view of how the world works there; 'course, that was the height of the dotcom nonsense, when jobs were kinda materializing to fill the available space.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 12:39 AM on January 12, 2007


I'm still trying desperately to comprehend how 90 years could possibly be considered a long time. My house has foundations of Roman tiles, for Christ's sake.

Anyway, good for the fetish people, hope they manage to renovate it properly.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 2:02 AM on January 12, 2007


I'm still trying desperately to comprehend how 90 years could possibly be considered a long time.

I think what you have to do is consider that this is the west coast of the new world, and a bona fide world city that was raized to the ground about a hundred years ago to boot. Consequently buildings which have been landmark buildings for about as long as the place has been meaningfully inhabited, and which are stylisticaly unique, are inevitably of huge local historical importance.

Example: my girlfriend used to live in a house which was almost certainly made from stones stolen over the centuries from Hadrian's wall, and which may well be in their third or fourth building since they were taken. The place where I sat for many hours reading music mags whilst taking a dump - that was built from a statement of intent from one of the most successful and respected of all the Roman emperors. In its current form the place is at least 600 years old.

I suspect this building has far more local historical importance than that house does.
posted by vbfg at 4:41 AM on January 12, 2007


malusmoriendumest: Not the entire world is western Europe.

The town I currently reside in, there does not exist a single structure older than about 1890, because before 1890, my town was forest and pasture.

This is of course markedly different from London where every square foot of space has had something on it since, what, the Great Fire? The Reformation? Earlier?
posted by Ynoxas at 8:15 AM on January 12, 2007


Properties need to be 50 years old before seeking listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

Note that just being 50 years old is itself not sufficient. The building has to be significant for some reason -- unique architecture, famous owner or architect, last remaining example of a type, and so forth are all good reasons outside of having been associated with an historic event. I think this building easily meets many of those.

My dad used to run a historical society and museum out of our local armory, and it was (I believe) one of the first World War II associated sites listed on the Register. (Our National Guard contingent was activated to the Philippines, captured and marched to Bataan, and only one third of them came back.)

The point of a listing is to help retain the structure. The Register allows tax credits, grants, and other programs to be used for restoration and adaptive re-use. If this listing didn't happen, the structure might not survive at all. As it is, hundreds of listed structures are lost every year anyway.

Sorry to the Europeans who think that it's ridiculous for us to protect our properties so early, but fuck you.
posted by dhartung at 9:23 AM on January 12, 2007


Sounds like a good match, actually. Hope they really have the money to deal with that building.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 9:34 AM on January 12, 2007


Fantastic post. I live about 2 blocks from the Armory; I hadn't been to the Armory website, and didn't know about the new owners. Despite working with the prior Architect responsible for the 'Adaptive Reuse.' (scroll halfway down) I'm always the last to know.
posted by vaportrail at 10:00 AM on January 12, 2007



I suppose that plan is dead in the water, vaportrail?
posted by bukharin at 12:58 PM on January 12, 2007


The obsolete armory seems like a good place to keep the cities new Fucking Machines.
posted by homunculus at 1:20 PM on January 12, 2007


city's. I was distracted by... er... never mind.
posted by homunculus at 1:21 PM on January 12, 2007


bukharin, Adaptive reuse appears to be dead. Although it seems the term still applies.
posted by vaportrail at 1:40 PM on January 12, 2007


This is a beautiful building and if nothing else I do not really have a problem if kink.com owns it but I would hope, hope, that the SF preservation society will have (or try to have) a word on its restoration and use.

malusmoriendumest,
and my house is built on top of Aristotle's academy, so who are you to talk youngster?

The whole point of preservation is not to save something that is old but to save something that is noteworthy and representative of an era and a culture. One would hope that this has been a lesson learnt (in the hard way unfortunately). But obviously not, if people think like you do. Too bad your culture taught you so little.

posted by carmina at 2:06 PM on January 12, 2007


Kink was featured in a recent article in the San Francisco Bay Guardian.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:10 PM on January 12, 2007


Update, Plan to turn the Amory into a porn studio has run into troubles with community.
posted by Dave Faris at 1:46 PM on January 26, 2007


Salon's My Day at the Porn Palace is about a recent visit to Kink.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:41 PM on February 7, 2007


« Older Arago: People, Postage & the Post...  |  Happy anniversary, modern art.... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments