by Zahid Sardar for the San Francisco Chronicle.
San Francisco's new Mint Plaza is a symbol of urbanity. It is studded with the Old Mint, a venerable 1870s Greek revival stone building with vestiges of its Gold Rush past, and surrounded by frayed single-room- occupancy buildings, elegant cafes, restaurants and chic, revamped live/work lofts in 16-story buildings. That was exactly what attracted a pair of young men from the Peninsula who live amid suburban homogeneity, although one of them works at Google's hip headquarters, to buy a penthouse pied-a-terre on the plaza.
The bare-bones standard condominium was stripped to its steel and concrete shell and Hollis restored a minimum of partitions to form two bathrooms, a private study and guest room. The slope of a ramped L-shape entryway is now barely discernible. Lightweight walk-through aluminum chain-link curtains and see-through glass walls divide the remaining space.
When parties swell to larger numbers, revelers can spread upstairs to the roof deck where Hollis has supplied a stainless steel barbecue and more seating alongside Paola Lenti ottomans on an artificial-turf carpet.