Allison Leahy

Artful Renovation Turns San Francisco's Historic Pier 24 Into Enormous Photography Gallery

by , 10/04/11

pier 24, pilara foundation, contemporary photography, rail-spur, waterfront, dimmer, lighting, hvac, historic waterfront, san francisco, two-track lighting, magnetic lighting, concrete floor, green design, eco design, eco friendly, environmental design, environment, sustainable design, sustainable living, green living, eco habitat, eco conscious, green infrastructure, infrastructure, green transportation, co2, climate change, green technology, eco art, solar, envelope a+d, art gallery, photography exhibit, aia, architecture and the city

A two-track electronic and magnetic lighting system provides gallery techs with a huge range of lighting options while reducing operation costs. Before the dimmers were installed, monthly electric bills could run as high as $13,000. Motion sensors and five-minute timers turn off lights in vacant rooms, helping to bring that cost down to $4,000. As photographs are light-sensitive, natural lighting was not an option – windows are covered with a removable 3M film to protect the artwork from direct sunlight.

To make the most of the Bay’s windy and otherwise unpredictable weather conditions, seven HVAC systems were installed. These units adjust inside temperatures by recovering heat and redistributing air. Concrete slab flooring includes a water vapor barrier to protect the gallery from moisture rising off the Pacific Ocean, equalize pressure, and help heat the spacious interior.

Flow between the room-scaled boxes isn’t predetermined, and roaming the gallery provides a sense of discovery and awe. This feeling only increases when you reach the north bayside corner of the warehouse, which opens up to a sensational view of the Bay Bridge and the sailboats beneath it.

The gallery’s completion comes at a serendipitous time with America’s Cup just around the corner and the recent release of “Port City”, a San Francisco Architectural Heritage book that chronicles the rich history of San Francisco’s maritime past. Tours are available by appointment only, so be sure to call ahead.

+ Pier 24

+ envelope a+d

+ AIA’s Architecture and the City Festival

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