SFJAZZ Center Sneak Peek + Win Tickets to See Robert Glasper!Author:Lindsey Shook
All reports to the contrary, jazz is alive and thriving in San Francisco. The heart of jazz is beating so hard that SFJAZZ, the organization that has promoted jazz in the Bay Area for thirty years, is nearing completion of a state-of-the-art performance facility in Hayes Valley.
Randall Kline, founder and executive director of SFJAZZ, has led the effort to fund and build one of the few dedicated jazz performance spaces in decades. During a recent construction tour, it was obvious that this facility will rival New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center, both in quality of the space and in the musicians that it will attract. Tapping Mark Cavagnero Associates, SFJAZZ selected one of the Bay Area’s most gifted architects to design the Center. Cavagnero’s recent cultural buildings include the renovation of the Oakland Museum and the ODC Dance Theater’s permanent home in the Mission district.
On a tight urban site in the Hayes Valley district near the San Francisco Ballet, Symphony, and Opera venues, Cavagnero has inserted a transparent jewel box of glass and concrete. The predominantly glass facades along both Fell and Franklin Streets allow pedestrians and drivers multiple views inside the building. At one vantage point, passersby will be able to see from the street clear through to the performance stage—a view that Kline said “is reminiscent of peering through the right field fence at AT&T Park.”
The centerpiece of the facility is the Robert N. Miner Auditorium. Assisted by acoustician Sam Berkow and theater designer Len Auerbach, the architect has crafted a multi-configuration music hall whose stage can be adjusted from quartet-size to large enough for an orchestra. Similarly, the seating configuration can be altered in three steps: 350, 550, and 700 seats. The facility will also include an 80 seat ensemble room, rehearsal spaces, digital learning lab, café, ground floor lobby, retail shop, box office and administrative offices.
Constructor Hathaway Dinwiddie is working feverishly to complete the $53 million center in time for a January 21, 2013 ribbon cutting and an opening night concert and gala on January 23. By any estimation, the SF Jazz Center will be an architectural, musical, and educational gem in the Bay Area cultural scene.
Go ahead, New York. Be envious.
While you are waiting to check out SFJAZZ’s new home, sign up for the CH+D newsletter below to enter to win tickets to see Robert Glasper Experiment at the Palace of Fine Arts November 1! The winner will be selected and notified on Friday, October 26 at 11 a.m.
We have selected a winner for this contest. Thanks to everyone for participating! – CH+D
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