Gallery: Artful Renovation Turns San Francisco’s Historic Pier 24 Into ...

San Francisco's Pier 24, a dilapidated 28,000 square foot warehouse that was abandoned for decades, is back in business as a world-class destination for fine art photography. Originally built as an annex in 1935, this historic site directly under the Bay Bridge was chosen for remediation by The Pilara Foundation. After its renovation by + envelope a+d it is now one of the largest and most energy-efficient exhibit spaces of its kind. We recently had a chance to check out this remarkable renovation during AIA SF's Architecture and the City Festival - read on for a look inside!

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.


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