The building is designated in the National Register, so its renovation had to preserve the site’s historic architectural integrity. Envelope a+d responded to this challenge with a design that embraces the pier’s raw warehouse quality. New materials were chosen to compliment the original artifice – not blend into it – and everything added to the space can be removed to restore the building to its found condition.
Pedestrians enter the gallery from a boardwalk above an inactive rail spur off the Embarcadero promenade. The modern double door entryway juts into the first gallery box, where visitors are introduced to the completely climate-controlled environment. Unlike a typical museum, there are no title plates or descriptions. Exhibits are accompanied by a map and a catalog, and vinyl numbers in the middle of each room identify your location. This lack of visual distraction creates a contemplative environment that encourages closer study of the photographs on display.