Bay Area Modern Cards

Photo by Arnold Del Carlo. Courtesy of Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History


Card design by Rob Keil

How well do you know Bay Area Modernism?

Test your knowledge, or play a game of Rummy, with this deck of 52 architecture cards, each featuring a modern building in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Each card suit showcases 13 buildings, which could be used as the foundation for a self-guided architecture tour.

* Please contact us for bulk orders (4 or more decks) and international shipping.

Photo by Heather David

“From International to Organic, from Googie to Brutalism, explore some of the unique architecture of the San Francisco Bay Area.”

Explore the Deck

Distinctive in design, the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts (1972) represents an architectural “who’s who” of some of the brightest minds of Taliesin Associates, Frank Lloyd Wright’s atelier. An excellent example of organic modernism, both exterior and interior spaces are characterized by spiral ramps, decorative arches and spheres.

Center for the Performing Arts, vintage postcard

San Francisco’s iconic Transamerica Pyramid stands an impressive 853 feet. Designed by architect William Pereira, the idea behind the building’s shape was to allow for natural light to hit the city streets below. The building, which is covered in white quartz, dates to 1972.

Transamerica Pyramid, photo by Heather David

The Paul Masson Champagne Cellars and visitor’s center opened in Saratoga in 1959. Designed by John Savage Bolles, the ultramodern winery inspired a traveling photographic exhibition, featuring the work of Ansel Adams. A giant metal sculpture by Gurdon Woods called "Effervescence of Champagne" once stood at the entrance.

Paul Masson Champagne Cellars, vintage postcard

The College of San Mateo, designed by architect John Carl Warnecke, opened in 1963. Buildings were constructed using a combination of concrete, glass, and steel. The campus’ visual centerpiece was, and continues to be, its library.

College of San Mateo – Heather David

Built on a sloping hill in Marin County, Case Study #26 (1962 – 1963) is Northern California’s only Case Study house. To minimize excavation, architect Beverley David Thorne utilized an innovative design that offsets the main living area from the carport/entry way. All the major rooms of the home, with the exception of the kitchen, breakfast room, and foyer, offer panoramic views.

Case Study House, photo by Matt McCourtney

San Jose’s award-winning IBM campus, designed by architect John Savage Bolles, opened in 1958. Buildings were accented with brick and multicolored tiles, the tile pattern said to mimic an IBM punch card. The centerpiece in the IBM campus’ art collection was the Hydro Gyro, a giant kinetic metal sculpture designed by the artist Bob Howard.

IBM San Jose - Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History, photo by Arnold Del Carlo


SFMOMA Gift Shop
151 3rd St.
San Francisco, CA 94103

William Stout Architectural Books
804 Montgomery St.
San Francisco, CA 94133

Antiques Colony
1881 W San Carlos St.
San Jose, CA 95128

23 Skidoo
427 S Bascom Ave.
San Jose, CA 95128

1065 Ashby Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94710


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Photo credits. Clockwise: Eichler Fairbrae Swim Center, Heather David - Nolan Round House, Liz Rusby - Marin Civic Center Post Office, Heather David - Sunset View Mortuary, Ken Duffy