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Best New Old Skyscraper 

450 Sutter (at Stockton)

When it comes to tense relationships, Hatfields vs. McCoys have nothing on architects vs. building code inspectors. Take the example of 450 Sutter St., the 26-story, Art Deco landmark designed by Timothy Pflueger, the architectural mind behind the Pacific Stock Exchange, Union Square Plaza, the Castro Theater, and the California Academy of Sciences. The historical landmark is an odd combination of Mayan motifs, Art Deco-style angled spires, and San Francisco bay windows — all clad in terra-cotta. And it works. When it was built in 1929, it was the city's tallest building, erected after the Great Quake and right before the Great Depression. Though it's San Francisco's premier Deco skyscraper, it's had a reputation for leaky windows. "This was caused by a last-minute demand by the city in 1928 that the windows be installed backwards in the openings," says David Wessel, who is working on a solution to replace 2,500 windows and refurbish the building's faded ceramic cladding. "We are correcting this deficiency by installing all new windows to match the original, and restoring the terra-cotta facades to their original splendor," Wessel adds. That is a lot of work to correct one bureaucrat's 78-year-old screw up.

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