The Strand, American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.)

SOM's renovation of the Strand Theater resurrects the 100-year-old movie theater on San Francisco’s Market Street to provide a highly visible and experimental performance space for the city’s preeminent theater company, American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.).
The Strand
SOM's renovation of the Strand Theater resurrects the 100-year-old movie theater on San Francisco’s Market Street to provide a highly visible and experimental performance space for the city’s preeminent theater company, American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.).
  • 客户 American Conservatory Theater
  • 地点 San Francisco, California, United States

Located on San Francisco’s Market Street, the Strand Theater is a restored 100-year-old movie theater that has been transformed into an experimental performance space. With a new structural system and graphic identity, the renovated theater energizes the surrounding neighborhood.

Project Facts
  • 完成年份 2015
  • 设计完成年 2013
  • 尺寸 Site Area: 13,000 square feet Building Height: 50 feet Number of Stories: 2 Building Gross Area: 20,000 square feet
  • 奖项
    2014, American Architecture Award, Chicago Athenaeum 2016, Honor Award for Design: Historic Preservation, Adaptive Reuse, Renovation, AIA California 2016, Award of Excellence, Structural Engineers Association of California 2017, Merit Award for Signage and Wayfinding, Society for Environmental Graphic Design 2016, Global Award for Excellence, Urban Land Institute (ULI) 2015, Outstanding Architectural Engineering Project of the Year, American Society of Civil Engineers - San Francisco Section 2015, Excellence in Structural Engineering, National Council of Structural Engineers Association 2013, Spark Spaces: Gold, Spark Awards 2015, Award of Merit: Renovation/Restoration, ENR California’s Best Projects, Engineering News Record 2015, Revitalization Award, Community Alliance Awards, AIA San Francisco 2015, Construction Awards: Architectural, American Concrete Institute - Northern California and Western Nevada Chapter 2015, Communication:Spark!, Spark Awards 2016, Typography Annual: Award of Excellence, Communication Arts Inc. 2016, Certificate of Typographic Excellence, Type Directors Club 2016, A+ Award, Architecture + Branding Jury Winner, Architizer 2016, Interior Architecture Citation Award and Social Responsibility Commendation, AIA San Francisco 2016, SEAOI Excellence in Structural Engineering Award - Award of Merit, Structural Engineers Association Of Illinois 2016, Design Annual: Award of Excellence, Communication Arts Inc. 2016, Award of Excellence: Retrofit/Alteration, Structural Engineers Association of Northern California 2017, Gold Award, Environmental Graphics, Graphis 2016, Concrete Construction Award, American Concrete Institute 2016, Innovation by Design Award Finalist, Fast Company 2016, Best of Design Awards - Building Renovation, Architect'S Newspaper 2016, National Honor Award for Interior Architecture, American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2016, IESNA Illumination Award of Merit, Illuminating Engineering Society of North America 2017, Award of Excellence, California Heritage Council 2013, Unbuilt Design Award, AIA San Francisco
  • 合作者
    WSP Flack + Kurtz, Inc. Charles M. Salter Associates, Inc. Anderson Rowe & Buckley, Inc. Sprig Electric Co Pribuss Engineering, Inc. Prichardpeck Lighting, Inc. BKF Engineers Page & Turnbull The Shalleck Collaborative, Inc. Equity Community Builders LLC
Project Facts
  • 完成年份 2015
  • 设计完成年 2013
  • 尺寸 Site Area: 13,000 square feet Building Height: 50 feet Number of Stories: 2 Building Gross Area: 20,000 square feet
  • 奖项
    2014, American Architecture Award, Chicago Athenaeum 2016, Honor Award for Design: Historic Preservation, Adaptive Reuse, Renovation, AIA California 2016, Award of Excellence, Structural Engineers Association of California 2017, Merit Award for Signage and Wayfinding, Society for Environmental Graphic Design 2016, Global Award for Excellence, Urban Land Institute (ULI) 2015, Outstanding Architectural Engineering Project of the Year, American Society of Civil Engineers - San Francisco Section 2015, Excellence in Structural Engineering, National Council of Structural Engineers Association 2013, Spark Spaces: Gold, Spark Awards 2015, Award of Merit: Renovation/Restoration, ENR California’s Best Projects, Engineering News Record 2015, Revitalization Award, Community Alliance Awards, AIA San Francisco 2015, Construction Awards: Architectural, American Concrete Institute - Northern California and Western Nevada Chapter 2015, Communication:Spark!, Spark Awards 2016, Typography Annual: Award of Excellence, Communication Arts Inc. 2016, Certificate of Typographic Excellence, Type Directors Club 2016, A+ Award, Architecture + Branding Jury Winner, Architizer 2016, Interior Architecture Citation Award and Social Responsibility Commendation, AIA San Francisco 2016, SEAOI Excellence in Structural Engineering Award - Award of Merit, Structural Engineers Association Of Illinois 2016, Design Annual: Award of Excellence, Communication Arts Inc. 2016, Award of Excellence: Retrofit/Alteration, Structural Engineers Association of Northern California 2017, Gold Award, Environmental Graphics, Graphis 2016, Concrete Construction Award, American Concrete Institute 2016, Innovation by Design Award Finalist, Fast Company 2016, Best of Design Awards - Building Renovation, Architect'S Newspaper 2016, National Honor Award for Interior Architecture, American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2016, IESNA Illumination Award of Merit, Illuminating Engineering Society of North America 2017, Award of Excellence, California Heritage Council 2013, Unbuilt Design Award, AIA San Francisco
  • 合作者
    WSP Flack + Kurtz, Inc. Charles M. Salter Associates, Inc. Anderson Rowe & Buckley, Inc. Sprig Electric Co Pribuss Engineering, Inc. Prichardpeck Lighting, Inc. BKF Engineers Page & Turnbull The Shalleck Collaborative, Inc. Equity Community Builders LLC

Anchoring a neighborhood’s transformation

The SOM-led renovation of the Strand Theater revitalizes a 100-year-old movie theater on San Francisco’s Market Street to provide a highly visible performance space for the city’s preeminent theater company, American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.). The redefined theater incorporates educational facilities, a new 282-seat theater, a 120-seat black box theater and rehearsal space, stage support, a public lobby, and a café. These new elements are inserted within the shell of the former 800-seat cinema, overlaying essential modern theater elements on top of the raw backdrop of the original building.

The design creates an inspiring civic presence by opening the lobby and facade to the street and sidewalk, energizing both the building and the surrounding neighborhood, and representing a key component to the regeneration of this once vital part of the city. The Strand Theater is strategically located between the city’s booming retail district and Civic Center, in the midst of tech companies and residential developments that have begun to transform the neighborhood.

ACT The Strand Theatre
The lobby cafe.
The Strand
The 285-seat main theater.
The Strand
The 120-seat box theater.

Restoration and adaptive reuse

SOM’s design includes a meticulous restoration of the historic facade to preserve the character of the original exterior while also revealing new interior elements. The cast stone relief that once adorned the street level theater entrance has been replaced, while a new lightweight steel and glass canopy replaces a deteriorating 1950s marquee. The new canopy recalls the original 1918 projecting canopy, extending across the full width of the facade. The upper two levels of the building feature the original oak windows that have been restored to frame views from the new black box theater beyond.

The theater’s lobby has been conceived as a dynamic stage set where students and audience members are performers and the stair, balcony, and transparent LED scrim are a backdrop. The lobby is activated by the box office, café, and an open plan that accommodates pre-show gatherings. Double-height windows offer dramatic views from the street into the lobby and from the lobby toward Market Street. The centerpiece of the lobby is a suspended, transparent LED scrim that spans the full height of the space.

A central stair is organized around the scrim and links the theater on the lower levels to the black box theater at the upper level. Recalling the movie screen from the theater’s years as a cinema, the scrim wall displays a wide range of still and motion images, video art, and branding, as well as the graphic identity for performances and special events. The scrim also serves as a marquee, displaying information for upcoming shows and events. Even when the theater is closed, the imagery on the scrim dramatically transforms the character of the building, projecting the energy of the theater into the street.

It was our goal from the beginning to create a thrilling public space that would not only invite theatergoers inside but truly transform a neighborhood… The results are beyond what we could have dreamed.


New identity for a new space

As part of the renovation, SOM developed a graphic identity for the intimate performance venue and education center—one clearly identifiable as A.C.T., a 50-year-old institution, but tailored to reflect the new space and its mission. Focused on new work, emerging artists, arts education, and community outreach, the Strand’s identity had to convey the unadorned immediacy of experimental theater and reflect the gritty, transitional aspects of its surrounding neighborhood.

The stencil, a staple of backstage labeling, was used to express the direct, stripped-down simplicity of the Strand’s space and program. This theme was carried throughout the building’s environmental graphics and signage, including the exterior blade and canopy, interior wayfinding, and donor wall. Lettering and pictograms were painted directly on the walls, or cut into metal sheets to resemble industrial stencil sets.

The Strand
Image © SOM

Retrofitting the structure

The building’s historic shell was carefully upgraded with a new structural system. Existing load-bearing systems were retrofitted and rehabilitated in a way that reuses 81 percent of the original steel and concrete structure, thereby reducing the carbon impact of construction. Supported by a new floor plate, an upper-level multipurpose space is used as a black box theater, rehearsal room, and classroom. A basement level was excavated below the proscenium theater’s stage to house the actors’ lounge and dressing rooms.

Before
Existing condition.
ACT Strand Theatre
Post-renovation.

The original second floor of the theater was demolished to create a double-height lobby, which reduces the foundation loads impacting the underground BART and Muni rail structures. Further spatial drama is added through the addition of cantilevered viewing balconies, a monumental stair, and mezzanine levels that extend from the building’s core into the lobby’s 60,000-cubic-foot void.

Theater
Pre-construction building condition.
SOM's renovation of the Strand Theater resurrects the 100-year-old movie theater on San Francisco’s Market Street to provide a highly visible and experimental performance space for the city’s preeminent theater company, American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.).
Post-renovation.

Shear walls are added to reinforce The Strand’s structure and incorporate the architectural concept of layering into the interior design. By articulating a series of frames from the stage to the street, the structure helps express the theater’s new form, which revitalizes not only the building but also the surrounding neighborhood.