Gehry Partners and others are looking to renovate Symphony Hall in San Francisco

Gehry Partners and others are looking to renovate Symphony Hall in San Francisco

Last month, a preliminary proposal from the San Francisco Symphony, Gehry Partners, and San Francisco-based Mark Cavagnero Associates was submitted to the San Francisco Planning Department. The application has officially begun the entitlement process for potential future renovations to San Francisco’s Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall at 201 Van Ness Avenue across the street from San Francisco City Hall and the city’s Fine Arts Opera House.

Plans have been released showing a $100 million renovation of the venue completed in 1980 by SOM and Pietro Belluschi. At Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall, Gehry Partners is looking to redesign the upgraded venue’s interior concert hall, building on its previous success at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, while Mark Cavagnero Associates will reimagine the building’s exterior and lobby with the addition of a new concert hall. The San Francisco company specified a precast concrete facade with a curtain wall topped with a copper roof. OJB has been brought in for urban design and landscape architecture. Arup will provide engineering services.

Proposed height (Mark Cavagnero Associates/Courtesy San Francisco Planning)

“Davis Symphony Hall opened in 1980, and as it approaches its 50th year, the symphony is exploring ways to enhance the physical space to make the building more accessible to the public, transparent and operationally efficient,” the San Francisco Symphony said in a press release. “Rethinking and reimagining how Davies Symphony Hall connects with the local community, audiences and musicians of the San Francisco Symphony is one way the organization seeks to reflect the flexible and collaborative nature of orchestral music itself to create more unique and engaging experiences that reach a broader audience.”

The proposed renovation is still in its early stages, and drawings submitted as part of the entitlement process are considered conceptual at this stage. The entitlement process, required by the city’s Planning Department to move forward with any potential modernization project, is expected to take two years.

Proposed plan (Mark Cavagnero Associates/Courtesy San Francisco Planning)

The impact of the renovation will be greater than the original. The new building will occupy the existing public space at Hayes, Franklin and Grove streets while offsetting it inside the building with impressive private balconies. The renewed design will create 39,000 square feet of outdoor space with new outdoor terraces spread throughout the building. The new 10,500-square-foot terrace above the atrium will face the elevation facing San Francisco City Hall. In the project description, the design team proposes to reduce the number of seats in the main concert hall from 2,700 to 2,100 seats and add a smaller concert hall.

The San Francisco Symphony is still in the early exploratory stage of the process, a press release said. “The symphony excitedly looks forward to sharing details about plans as they develop in the future,” officials continued.

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