Designed around existing pedestrian connections within Golden Gate Park and inspired by San Francisco’s history, this 400-seat music house with an outdoor amphitheater, music classrooms, café and retail space contributes to the park’s ongoing architectural discourse, which also includes the neighboring De Young Museum and the California Academy of Sciences.

Originally a port city, the Gold Rush spurred San Francisco’s growth into a modern metropolis, which required the construction of more land. As a result, ships were permanently docked and buried, creating a nautical graveyard under the city. [Unearthing] references this forgotten history through the inclusion of “masts” that protrude from various areas of the site. The open design of this public performance space blends interior and exterior spaces, and the use of warm, transparent materials welcome the public to each “discovered” musical experience. The inclusion of an outdoor amphitheater reinforces the idea that music should be accessible to all. 

The music house’s central courtyard also blurs the line between public and performance space. Heavy concrete conveys the timeless nature of music and its importance to the City of San Francisco, while the transparency of glazing at the venue entrances and the classrooms within provides a visual connection that promotes integration between professional performance and musical education. Like the inside of a guitar or violin, the interior use of natural wood supports acoustics and reflects light to create a welcoming beacon for nighttime performances.