Geneva Car Barn & Powerhouse


Geneva Car Barn & Powerhouse

Aidlin Darling Design

Built in 1901 as the home of San Francisco’s first electric railway, the Geneva Car Barn & Powerhouse is one of the last physical reminders of the system. In 2009, the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department together with the Friends of the Geneva Car Barn and Powerhouse began an effort to adaptively reuse the building as a community cultural and education center.

The design highlights layers of history while deftly inserting new program elements into the historic shell. The building’s decay and lack of seismic stability required that the rehabilitation touch every surface. A full seismic upgrade and a new roof mitigate the potential effects of future earthquakes. All brick surfaces required lead abatement, which was completed with a wire brush and sealed in order to preserve the layers of history evident on the existing surfaces. Plaster surfaces were repaired sparingly with a subtly different color to distinguish old from new. Years of graffiti were retained, commemorating the building’s recent history and its past. Throughout the space the interplay of new and old that enlivens the reading of each, resulting in a revitalized building that serves the community while honoring its past.

Key Team Members

Aidlin Darling Design , Architect
San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department , Owner
Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates (WJE), Structural Engineer
Guttmann & Blaevoet, Mechanical Engineer
Conger Moss Guillard, Landscape Architect
BKF Engineers, Civil Engineer
JS Nolan + Associates, Lighting Designer
Auerbach Pollock Friedlander, Theater and A/V Consultant
Salter Inc. , Acoustical Consultant
Thornton Tomasetti , Green Building Consultant
Preview Group , Code Consultant
John P. McCaffrey, Specifications Consultant
Matthew Millman Photography, Photographer

About the organization

Aidlin Darling Design bridges the demands of artistic endeavor, environmental responsibility, functional pragmatics, and financial considerations. As a multidisciplinary firm, we believe that innovations discovered through the process of design and construction can be applied to projects of any scale, use, or purpose. Partners Joshua Aidlin and David Darling have cultivated a team that strives to deliver the highest level of project management, service, and design. Our approach is client and site specific, and questions conventional assumptions. A collaborative process with clients, consultants, fabricators, and builders allows an open and impassioned exploration and enables a clear understanding of appropriate solutions. In each project, we seek to uncover an inherent spirit of place and interpret constraints as catalysts for performative design. The individual character of each project emerges through poetic spatial relationships, material richness, and exacting detail. The memorial seeks to preserve individual memories and communicate the magnitude of the issue inbuilt space, and hopes to foster a national healing process that begins with a recognition of the collective loss and its impact on society. The exhibition of the Memorial has closed in Chicago and will open at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. in April 2020. The installations in Chicago and Washington, D.C. are the first steps to recognizing the great need for a national, permanent memorial to gun violence victims.