SFJAZZ Center by Mark Cavagnero Associates is the first freestanding building in the United States designed exclusively for the enjoyment and performance of jazz. Located in the arts district of San Francisco, the 35,000-square-foot Center provides the 30-year old SFJAZZ organization with its first permanent home and strengthens its mission to reach new listeners. The glass and concrete structure reveals the activities within Center’s 700-seat auditorium, 80-seat “lab” and cafe, engaging passersby and energizing the neighborhood. The building is expected to achieve LEED Gold certification.
+ Statement from Mark Cavagnero Associates
The SFJAZZ Center is the first freestanding venue in the United States designed specifically for the performance, appreciation and enjoyment of jazz. The transparent, three-story Center comprises the Robert N. Miner auditorium, Joe Henderson Lab, rehearsal spaces, digital learning lab, cafe, box office, and administrative offices. The Center, which opened in January 2013, provides SFJAZZ with its first permanent home in the organization’s 30-year history and establishes a hub of music, culture, and community. It is expected to achieve LEED Gold certification from the USBGC.
History: SFJAZZ, founded in 1983 by musician and entrepreneur Randall Kline, is one of the world’s most comprehensive and innovative jazz organizations. In the decade prior to opening the Center, SFJAZZ presented year-round programming for nearly 100 concerts annually, reaching an audience of 100,000 patrons, in venues throughout San Francisco. An anonymous $25-million gift–the largest in history given to a jazz organization–catalyzed an ambitious $63-million capital campaign to fund the creation of the SFJAZZ Center and bolster the organization’s endowment and programming.
The Future: The 35,000-square-foot Center unites SFJAZZ’s multi-faceted mission to showcase world- class jazz artists, nurture young musicians, and promote jazz education, preservation and experimentation. Located on the edge of San Francisco’s Civic Center performing arts district, the Center joins a constellation of established cultural venues that include the San Francisco Opera, the San Francisco Symphony, and San Francisco Ballet. The glass and concrete structure establishes a contemporary and dynamic counterpoint to these venerable neighbors, embodying the vibrancy of jazz and actively engaging its urban surroundings.
A transparent glass fa ade wraps the ground floor public spaces to reveal the excitement within. The floor-to-ceiling glass allows the lobby, cafe and ensemble room to activate the urban streetscape and invite the public inside. The all-glass, acoustically isolated, multipurpose ensemble room–the Joe Henderson Lab–puts artists within feet of passersby on Franklin Street, further enhancing the sense of accessibility and connection. On the upper two stories, a rhythmic fa ade of opaque and clear glass and street-facing balconies underscore the Center’s civic spirit.
While the public spaces open to the city, the Robert N. Miner auditorium is intimate and focused. This flexible, state-of-the-art room accommodates audiences from 350 to 700, and provides a range of experiences including views from behind the stage. A reconfigurable stage supports a wide variety of acts while raked seating establishes an intimacy that makes the audience itself part of the performance, contributing to a more dynamic experience.
Underpinning all of the spatial and visual design priorities is the most import goal: to create performance spaces with the highest quality acoustics throughout. Every detail from the custom seats to the wood slats wrapping the hall’s interior was developed to ensure an optimal live jazz experience. The Center also integrates next-generation technologies; the building is fully wired for recording, broadcasting and production.
Finally, the Center expands SFJAZZ’s capacity for educational programming and outreach, providing rehearsal space for the SFJAZZ High School All-Stars and serving as the new home of the SFJAZZ Collective. The Collective, established in 2004, brings together the world’s finest jazz musicians to examine the work of a great jazz master, followed by composing an original work. Through these experimental and educational efforts, the SFJAZZ Center promotes the vitality, evolution and cultural significance of jazz.
+ Project facts
San Francisco, CA
COMPLETED: January 2013
SIZE: 36,500 square feet
CONSTRUCTION COST: $33 million
ARCHITECT: Mark Cavagnero Associates
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Company
Project Manager: Ingram & Associates, Inc.
Structural Engineering: Forell/Elsesser Engineers
MEP/Architectural Lighting: WSP
Theater Consulting / Video Consulting: Auerbach Pollock Friedlander
Acoustics / Audio Consulting: SIA-Acoustics
Landscape Architecture: Monica Viarengo Landscape Design
Civil Engineering: KCA Engineers, Inc.
Façade Consulting: Maurya McClintock Façade Consulting
Telecom: TEECOM Design Group
Security: Guidepost Solutions
Signage: Propp + Guerin
Vertical Transportation: Syska Hennessy Group, Inc.
Code Consulting: ARUP
LEED Consultant: Green Building Services
Specifications: Emily Borland Specifications
PHOTOGRAPHY: Tim Griffith & Kyle Jeffers
+ About Mark Cavagnero Associates
Mark Cavagnero Associates is a San Francisco-based architecture firm noted for its design of cultural, education, civic and other community-oriented projects. Established in 1988 with a deep commitment to serving the public good through modern architecture, the firm’s work has been recognized with more than 45 awards, including the 2010 Distinguished Practice Award from the American Institute of Architects, California Council. In addition to the SFJAZZ, Cavagnero Associates notable projects include the Mammoth Lakes Courthouse in Mono County, Community School of Music and the Arts in Mountain View, the renovation of the Oakland Museum of California, and the ODC Theater in San Francisco.