Retrofit Magazine | September 5, 2023
The American Institute of Architects, San Francisco (AIASF) announces the official opening of the Center for Architecture + Design (the Center) on September 8, 2023, in conjunction with the 20th Anniversary of our Architecture + the City Festival.
The Center occupies the ground floor of the historic landmark Hallidie Building at 140 Sutter Street in the heart of downtown San Francisco. It contains a lecture hall, gallery, a storefront café space, meeting rooms, allowing for the expansion of events, exhibitions, speaker presentations, and film screenings. Système D by Cento Coffee will occupy the storefront café. The new Center will serve as a cultural hub for all things architecture and design; and a place for AEC professionals and the public to connect, learn, and collaborate to address the environmental and social challenges facing our city and region.
“The opening of the Center is a significant moment in the history of architecture in San Francisco. Finally, we have a place dedicated to helping our diverse city understand the importance of well-designed spaces and places,” said Charles Higueras, FAIA, Chair of the Board for the Center for Architecture + Design. “The Center’s emergence now plays a key role in engaging the public in creating a more enduring and vibrant city.”
The 10,000-square-foot facility will play host to design-forward conversations and its store-front presence will bring new life to San Francisco's downtown streetscape. Designed by the award-winning architectural team at Aidlin Darling Design and realized by BCCI Construction, the new build-out demonstrates the organization's inclusive, community-minded, and ambitious sustainability-oriented vision for the future of professional and public programming.
"By creating our new home in the Center for Architecture + Design, we can significantly expand educational offerings, making these activities more accessible to a broader and more diverse audience. As we build on the successes of our current programs, we will host workshops, social gatherings, tours, gallery talks, youth programs, and exhibitions in this innovative space," notes Stacy Williams, AIASF Executive Director.
The new Center features a flexible lecture hall designed with advanced AV and acoustics for hosting significant events. Additionally, the Center will provide much-needed gallery spaces, a concierge desk, and expanded meeting rooms that allow concurrent gatherings and accommodate AIASF’s growing staff.
"Design is about community empowerment. By building the new Center for Architecture + Design, those curious about architecture, design, and the vitality of our built environment will have a new venue to learn and collaborate," said Joshua Aidlin, FAIA, Founding Partner at Aidlin Darling Design. "The Center is about bringing together people from different backgrounds in a physical space—a cultural destination for the community, where one can be inspired by the power of design."
“AIA San Francisco is grateful to our membership for helping us secure the necessary funding for the construction loan to build our new home. AIASF applauds the continued generosity of the supporters of its ongoing “Shape Your City” capital campaign, which is dedicated to funding the operation of the new Center,” said Daniel Perez, AIA, President of the AIASF Board of Directors. “This initiative is made possible through the commitment of design, construction, and architectural firms, as well as numerous individuals”.
For a comprehensive list of the project team, collaborators, and in-kind donors, we invite you to visit AIASF's capital campaign website.
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