The home for the San Francisco Conservatory was inserted into the shell of a historically significant Catholic Boys Club in the Civic Center performing arts district. A substantial eight-story addition, with two of those stories underground, supplemented the original building. The facility includes teaching studios, practice rooms, classrooms, offices, and three major spaces that accommodate both rehearsals and performances.

The ornate ballroom of the Boys Club was re-purposed as the audience chamber of the 450-seat concert hall. A new stage, equipped with an orchestra pit lift and adjustable acoustic banners, was built in the addition. The resulting blend of old and new has proven popular as a rental space, in addition to being the primary rehearsal and performance space for the Conservatory’s large ensembles. Classes, recitals, and lightly-staged opera productions also use the hall.

The 160-seat recital hall offers an intimate, clear, supportive setting for traditional recitals. An asymmetric design with a shallow balcony gives the room a pleasing sense of drama.

The Salon is perhaps the best-loved space in the building – an elegant flat-floor rehearsal room that can seat up to 120 and welcomes less-formal recitals. Its warm, clear sound suits a wide range of music. Because its floor is at the building’s lowest level it can also be entered at mid height, where a generous landing serves as an overlook with a birds-eye view of performers, and a gracious internal stair draws audiences down.

The upper floors within the original building are organized around an atrium that is sprinkled with social space and study space for the students – an important amenity in an urban school. Nooks and niches at every level of the atrium are popular with the Conservatory’s many guitar students.

Project Details
Mechanical Noise Control
Room Acoustics Design
Sound Isolation
Simon Martin-Vegue Winkelstein Moris (SMWM) now Perkins + Will, Architect, San Francisco, CA
Auerbach Pollock Friedlander, San Francisco, CA
73,000 gsf
450-seat Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall; 100-seat Osher Salon; 121-seat Sol Joseph Recital Hall
San Francisco
Best of 2007 - Performing Arts Winner - California Construction