AIA San Francisco and Center for Architecture + Design Headquarters


AIA San Francisco and Center for Architecture + Design Headquarters

Aidlin Darling


In moving to a storefront in the Hallidie Building, the AIASF and Center for A+D gained public visibility. Capitalizing on this location, the client-architect team expanded and extroverted the program to include a café, gallery, lecture hall, meeting rooms and offices.

Accretive finishes within the historic building were removed to expose the raw concrete ceiling ribs and columns of the cathedral-like space. Selectively-introduced elements reinforce the primacy of the shell. The circulation balances movement and pause, providing moments to linger on artwork on the gallery walls. At the far end of the space, light from a newly cut skylight rakes over a green wall creates a living beacon for visitors. 

With an outpouring of support by the design/build industry, in-kind donations raised more than half of the funding for the Center. The design team recruited elite artisans and makers to donate their work, showcasing the breadth of design disciplines while achieving an unusually rigorous level of craft for a non-profit institution. 

The Center is designed to raise the public awareness of multi-disciplinary design, and serves as a catalyst to reoccupy the City’s center.