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Newsletter | Mar/Apr 2007


The San Francisco Conservatory of Music at the Civic Center
by Margaret R. Goglia, AIA

Design of the Conservatory of Music's new home at 50 Oak Street, San Francisco speaks to the Conservatory's vision: preserving music of the past while exploring boundaries of new music. Combining historic and contemporary architecture, while achieving superlative acoustics, is a balance of science and grace that requires the harmonious interplay of design, engineering, and construction.

The new interior construction for this facility was designed by SMWM with the utmost care, in collaboration with world-renowned acoustician, Kirkegaard Associates, to insure superlative acoustical performance. All spaces, from the smallest practice room, to the main concert hall, are built with massive walls for isolation and responsiveness. Variable acoustic systems were also integrated in performance spaces to guarantee varying requirements of differing musical styles and intensities could be accommodated elegantly.

Preservation of William Shea's 1914 50 Oak Street façade and the grand ballroom, while removing the rest of the building, required a complex structural solution that in its execution is analogous to separating Siamese twins. All existing columns were shored and supported while a new foundation was built to compensate for the site's marshy soil. The ballroom now hangs in place from transfer trusses at the roof level. A concrete moment frame that is part of the new building supports the 50 Oak Street façade.

The Conservatory's new home is 126,000 sf and eight stories tall. It accommodates three performance spaces, a 450-seat Concert Hall, a 140-seat Recital Hall, and a 100-seat Salon, in addition to a complex assortment of classrooms, teaching studios, and practice spaces.

On April 10th, Liza Pannozzo, AIA, LEED AP, will be discussing the design and construction of this unique building and leading our tour. She is a Senior Associate at SMWM. Ms. Pannozzo is an architect with 15 years of experience in the design of projects for academic and civic institutions. An expert in the design and technical coordination of diverse academic projects ranging from classroom buildings to athletic and theatrical facilities, Ms. Pannozzo has worked on some of the firm's most significant educational projects in San Francisco. She has been the project architect for a recent classroom addition to the Urban School, the Drew College Preparatory School, and Lick Wilmerding's Library, Arts + Humanities Center. Ms. Pannozzo's approach to the design for the new Conservatory of Music was motivated in part by the idea of celebrating historical architecture in the context of contemporary design, a recurring theme in much of the firm's work.

Karla Avila, Communications Coordinator at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music will also be on hand at our April tour to answer questions about the Conservatory's programs.

Tue, Apr 10, 2007
6:00 pm
OWA Program : Tour the SF Conservatory of Music Speaker: Liza Pannozzo, Sr. Assoc., SMWM
Lisa Petri, Senior Mgr., Communications,
SF Conservatory of Music

New Building in the Civic Center
50 Oak Street
San Francisco 94102
RSVP: info@owa-usa.org