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San Francisco Conservatory of Music Ute and William Okay. Bowes, Jr. Heart / Mark Cavagnero Associates

San Francisco Conservatory of Music Ute and William K. Bowes, Jr. Center / Mark Cavagnero Associates

© Tim Griffith

San Francisco Conservatory of Music Ute and William K. Bowes, Jr. Center / Mark Cavagnero Associates - Exterior Photography, Windows, Cityscape, FacadeSan Francisco Conservatory of Music Ute and William K. Bowes, Jr. Center / Mark Cavagnero Associates - Exterior Photography, Windows, FacadeSan Francisco Conservatory of Music Ute and William K. Bowes, Jr. Center / Mark Cavagnero Associates - Interior Photography, ChairSan Francisco Conservatory of Music Ute and William K. Bowes, Jr. Center / Mark Cavagnero Associates - Interior Photography, Living Room, ChairSan Francisco Conservatory of Music Ute and William K. Bowes, Jr. Center / Mark Cavagnero Associates - More Images+ 9

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https://www.archdaily.com/994026/san-francisco-conservatory-of-music-ute-and-william-k-bowes-jr-center-mark-cavagnero-associates
San Francisco Conservatory of Music Ute and William K. Bowes, Jr. Center / Mark Cavagnero Associates - Exterior Photography, Windows, Cityscape, Facade© Tim Griffith

Text description provided by the architects. Located in the heart of San Francisco’s Civic Center, the city’s performing arts district, the Ute & William K. Bowes, Jr. Center for Performing Arts at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) was designed by Mark Cavagnero Associates (Cavagnero) as a “vertical campus” that incorporates student housing, dining, classrooms, rehearsal rooms, performance spaces, and a radio station all under one roof.

San Francisco Conservatory of Music Ute and William K. Bowes, Jr. Center / Mark Cavagnero Associates - Exterior Photography, Windows, Facade, Cityscape© Tim GriffithSan Francisco Conservatory of Music Ute and William K. Bowes, Jr. Center / Mark Cavagnero Associates - Exterior Photography, Windows, Facade© Tim Griffith

The Center is named in honor and recognition of the $46.4M gift from the William K. Bowes, Jr. Foundation, which marks the largest capital gift ever made to a music school; the Foundation’s namesake was a longtime SFCM supporter and trustee. Walking distance to SFCM’s Ann Getty Center at 50 Oak Street, the Conservatory’s home since 2006, the Bowes Center creates housing for up to 420 students. The building also includes 27 rent-stabilized apartments, which upgrade and replace existing units from the site’s previous building for its prior tenants.

San Francisco Conservatory of Music Ute and William K. Bowes, Jr. Center / Mark Cavagnero Associates - Exterior Photography© Tim Griffith

Cavagnero’s design emphasizes openness, engagement, and light through its exterior of white and transparent glass. Filled with the sights and sounds of music, the Bowes Center invites passersby at this active intersection to see performances through floor-to-ceiling windows in its ground-floor jewel-box Cha Chi Ming Recital Hall. The top two floors glow like a beacon at night, with floor-to-ceiling windows, the 200-seat Barbro Osher Recital Hall, flexible event space, and roof terrace offering unparalleled views of City Hall, Davies Symphony Hall, the War Memorial Opera House, and other landmarks.

San Francisco Conservatory of Music Ute and William K. Bowes, Jr. Center / Mark Cavagnero Associates - Interior Photography, Chair© Kyle JeffersSan Francisco Conservatory of Music Ute and William K. Bowes, Jr. Center / Mark Cavagnero Associates - Interior Photography, Living Room, Chair© Tim Griffith

Building on the firm’s innovations in the design of SFJAZZ, Cavagnero’s design for Bowes achieves the transparency of a glass exterior while exceeding its rigorous acoustic requirements. To achieve a cohesive design language, while meeting its high acoustic demands—which change from floor to floor, with a mix of performance, practice, recording, and residential spaces throughout its twelve stories, and are made more complex by the neighboring Van Ness Avenue —the Cavagnero team designed a custom curtainwall system that integrates all acoustic requirements into one seamless envelope. Collaborating with Kirkegaard Associates, Tipping Structural Engineers, and curtainwall fabricator CS Erectors, Cavagnero pushed the boundaries of glass’s capacity to perform at high acoustic levels. The design utilizes double-glazed walls and a floating structural slab to isolate noise and vibration transmission from the street while maintaining transparency in the performance spaces. The double-glazed system also provides a sustainable element to the design, creating an additional thermal buffer.

San Francisco Conservatory of Music Ute and William K. Bowes, Jr. Center / Mark Cavagnero Associates - Interior Photography, Chair, Windows© Tim Griffith

On the Bowes Center’s second level, the Center for New Media features studio space, lesson rooms, and critical listening rooms for students participating in the Conservatory’s Technology and Applied Composition Program. Capitalizing on the school’s location in the performing arts district, and proximity to Silicon Valley, the program prepares classically trained composers to score the film and video games. The center is also used by students in SFCM’s Roots, Jazz, and American Music Program, created in partnership with SFJAZZ. Classrooms, keyboard labs, a black box technology hall and a recording studio for all SFCM students are located in highly acoustically controlled spaces below ground levels. Floors three through 11 hold one, two, and three-bedroom housing units, each acoustically isolated for practicing. One floor is dedicated to housing San Francisco Ballet Students as an extension of the Conservatory’s unprecedented partnership with the nearby SF Ballet.

San Francisco Conservatory of Music Ute and William K. Bowes, Jr. Center / Mark Cavagnero Associates - Exterior Photography, Windows, Glass, Facade© Kyle Jeffers

Project Description. A “vertical campus” that incorporates affordable student housing, dining, classrooms, rehearsal rooms, performance spaces, faculty offices, and a radio station under a single roof, the Bowes Center is designed to enable students to create, learn, and share music in an integrated, collaborative environment. Named in honor and recognition of the $46.4M gift from the William K. Bowes, Jr. Foundation, the Bowes Center doubles the school’s square footage and features state-of-the-art teaching facilities and three new performance halls.

San Francisco Conservatory of Music Ute and William K. Bowes, Jr. Center / Mark Cavagnero Associates - Exterior Photography, Windows, Facade© Kyle Jeffers

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