Accordion Inspired Architecture

As the tryptophan-induced Thanksgiving haze wears off, I thought I’d share a couple examples of accordion-inspired architecture that I’d run across recently. The first comes from Buenos Aires, where the city has just dedicated a new monument to tango music in the shape of a giant steel bandoneon. The tango has long been an integral part of Argentinian culture and this monument joins statues and plaques in Buenos Aires honoring tango legends like Carlos Gardel, Osvaldo Pugliese and Astor Piazzolla.

Bandoneon Monument in Buenos Aires

The second isn’t reality (yet), but is a design by London architect Ken Shuttleworth for a 10-story accordion-shaped building that will border Christopher Wren’s Monument to The Great Fire Of London. The building’s rooftop garden will double as a sundial, using the shadow from Wren’s Monument to indicate the time.

Accordion Building in London

My favorite piece of accordion architecture, though, is still the old San Francisco accordion school — Theodore School of Music on Union Street — with its entire second floor shaped like an accordion.

Theodore School of Music, San Francisco


  1. Awesome. Is the SF build still up? I’d love to take a field trip.

  2. Sadly, it’s no longer there. I’m not sure exactly when it was torn down.

  3. My dad actually studied accordion there!!! LMAO!

    He was just telling me about this place, and his old teacher Theodore Pezzolo, and I found this great picture for him! HA HA! Thanks for the pic…do you know what happened to Pezzolo? Like when he died or anything?

  4. Hello Accordianists,
    My father was a student of John Pezzolo who was also my mother’s uncle. I am working on a family tree including the 6 Pezzolo brothers, John, Cesare, S. Pezzolo, Theodore, Ralph, and Gene who were all in the San Francisco area in the 1930s.

    I would appreciate any guidance the accordian community can provide into where the brothers moved to (or died) as they retired.It would be nice to trace their “roots” to living relatives.

    John (“Uncle Johnnie”) as we knew him retired to Sunnyvale and died in 1973. My records show that S. (first name unknown) died in 1971, Theodore in 1973, Ralph in 1972, and Gene in 1966.

    I did find a fantastic picture of all the Pezzolo brothers with their accordians in the office of the Italian Cemetery in Colma in 2008.

    Thank you in advance!

  5. Did not john pezzolo have a resort around clear lake in the thirties and forties? I think he used to give accordion concerts—perhaps with as many as 20 accordions. I think my cousin met him a few times. Ihis resort was a very popular place and I knew many poeple from san francisco that used to go up there.
    Don Giannoni

  6. I never remember anyone in the family talking about a resort near Clear Lake. So far all records show him living in the North Beach area of San Francisco. In the late 50’s / early 60’s, he moved his studio to Mission Street. He and his wife later retired to Sunnyvale until his death.

    As a child I remember visiting his accordian studio on Columbus Ave./ Vallejo Street near Sts. Peter and Paul’s Church in North Beach. In fact, I was browsing a photo book at COSTCO called ” San Francisco Then and Now”, and lo and behold on page 88 was Uncle Johnnie’s studio in August 1944.

    I have come across references to an “Accordian Festival” (or perhaps picnic) held annually in Petaluma where the Pezzolo brothers would play. It appears that there was quite an accordian culture centered in the SF Bay area.

    Best wishes and thanks for keeping this thread alive.

  7. I went to Pezzolo’s Resort in clear lake for 18 summers. The resort was owned by Ralph (another brother) and his wife Rose. He played at dances twice a week at the dance hall on the resort, they also played bingo twice a week in the same hall.It was a wonderful place of independent housekeeping cabins. The resort was located in the Loch Lomond area of Lake County a few miles from Hoberg’s resort.

  8. I am Rose and Ralphs newphew and spent every summer at Pezzolo’s Resort. Ralph left me his accordion and all his sheet music. It is such a treasure to play the music that I grew up on bring back old memories of Lake County. There is a book ” The Golden Age of Accordions” that tells the whole story of the Pezzolo Brothers.

  9. I took accordion lessons from John Pezzolo at his studio on Mission St in the early fifties. I can hear his Oump Pa Pa now!!

    15 years or so ago I attended an accordion festival at Fisherman’s Wharf featuring “Those Darn Accordions?” and was introduced to Zydeco.


  10. I also took accordion lessons from John Pezzolo in the early fifties. I enjoyed watching his toupee as he played “next week’s” lesson song for me. I loved him, and can also hear his oump pa pa now.

  11. Thank you for adding to the Pezzolo family history. I will get a copy of the “Golden Age of Accordians”. I am also appreciative of adding to the knowledgebase of the Pezzolo family in the Clear Lake area owned and operated by Ralph and Rose Pezzolo.

    I also remember visiting John Pezzolo’s studio on Mission Street in San Francisco in the 1950’s after he left the Columbus Ave location. Does anyone know the address of this studio? I am planning to do a “Then and Now” photoshoot of all the relatives’ homes.

    John Pezzolo’s North Beach studio was in the restaurant next door to the “Stinking Rose” restaurant on Columbus Ave.

  12. I took lessons from John Pezzolo in the late 40s. My dad and I would take the bus to North Beach and his studio on Columbus. I remember the black tiles at the front of his studio and they are still there where the Stinking Rose restaurant is located. Those were great times!

  13. Hi Al and Howard,
    I can’t believe reading about your comments about Pezzolo’s. What fun times during the 50’s and early 60’s for me. Ralph would practice the accordion every day but he would get so excited playing the accordion on Wednesday and Saturday nights that he often made mistakes, but nobody cared. His enthusiasm carried the day. We had a broom dance that his wife Rose would start. It was a type of musical chairs but no one sat out. When the broom was dropped, you switched partners. The person left took up the broom and dropped it when he or she felt like it. I remember we had some talent shows. My folks went every year for over 10 years. We stayed for a month or more. I remember the bocce ball court. I don’t ever see people throw the ball like the old timers did. I remember going to Italy in the Tuscan area and having the same feelings as Pezzolo’s although I didn’t know anyone.