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    Industrial Facility Turns to the Arts

    by ArchitectureWeek

    An aging bus repair shop may seem an unlikely place for a progressive art school. But when the shop is a classic monument to mid-20th century industrial architecture, and when the school is eager to marry art and pragmatism, the result works beautifully.

    The San Francisco architecture firm of Tanner Leddy Maytum Stacy has renovated a Greyhound Bus maintenance facility that was designed by Skidmore Owings and Merrill in 1951. They have converted it into a solar-heated, multi-disciplinary educational environment for the California College of Arts and Crafts.

    The transformation of this dramatic 60,000 square-foot (5600 square-meter) industrial building into a new educational environment is noteworthy as a successful model for the preservation of industrial urban fabric, the reuse of existing built resources, and the integration of sustainable design strategies.

    The California College of Arts and Crafts was founded in 1907 on the conviction that the poetry of art and the pragmatism of craft are unified components of the creative process. Today, the college offers a unique, interdisciplinary curriculum in design and the arts. To accommodate expanding programs, the college needed new studios, shops, and exhibition spaces. They required a variety of flexible spaces to foster community and creative interaction between diverse disciplines while maintaining departmental identity.

    The original SOM structure is a striking example of the firm's tectonic approach to industrial architecture. It was a cavernous maintenance garage, a 150 by 400-foot (46 by 122-meter) long clear-span space characterized by its structural expression, monumental volume, and abundant natural light. Thirty-foot (nine meter) high glass curtain walls on three sides of the space and large skylights overhead accentuate the rhythm of huge, tapered concrete roof beams. The interior of the space enjoys dramatic views of downtown San Francisco and nearby residential areas.

     

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    ArchWeek Photo

    The new Montgomery Campus of the California College of Arts and Crafts in San Francisco.
    Photo: Richard Barnes

    ArchWeek Photo

    The 1951 SOM bus maintenance facility required seismic bracing, toxic soils remediation, and other treatments.
    Photo: Richard Barnes

     

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