San Francisco War Memorial Veterans Building Gets Theatre Planning/Design Assist

by Frank Hammel;
in Newsroom
The Herbst Theatre at San Francisco’s War Memorial Veterans Building. Auerbach Pollock Friedlander provided theatre planning and consulting for the 900-seat venue. Photo by Kyle Jeffers
The Herbst Theatre at San Francisco’s War Memorial Veterans Building. Auerbach Pollock Friedlander provided theatre planning and consulting for the 900-seat venue. Photo by Kyle Jeffers

SAN FRANCISCO — For San Francisco’s War Memorial Veterans Building, which was re-opened last September, Auerbach Pollock Friedlander provided theatre planning and consulting for the 900-seat Herbst Theatre and support spaces. Auerbach Glasow French, meanwhile, provided architectural lighting design for all public spaces including the performance venues, all lobbies, circulation corridors, historic stairs, San Francisco Arts Commission exhibit space, offices and the exterior.

More details from Auerbach Pollock Friedlander and Auerbach Glasow French (www.auerbachconsultants.com):

The dedication of the San Francisco War Memorial Veterans Building by Mayor Edwin Lee on September 16, 2015 marked the reopening of the newly renovated and transformed historic Beaux-Arts building after lengthy seismic upgrades and improvements through the Department of Public Work’s Seismic Upgrade & Improvements Project that began in 2011. Originally opened in 1932 as part of the War Memorial Complex, the Veterans Building was one of the last Beaux-Arts buildings to be constructed in the United States.

“The War Memorial Veterans building is one of our most treasured historic buildings and we can now continue to tell stories of our nation’s heroes and the people of our City for generations to come,” said Mayor Lee when signing the legislation to fund the project.

As part of the project team led by Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, Auerbach Pollock Friedlander provided theatre planning and consulting for the 900-seat Herbst Theatre and support spaces; Auerbach Glasow French provided architectural lighting design for all public spaces including the performance venues, all lobbies, circulation corridors, historic stairs, San Francisco Arts Commission exhibit space, offices and the exterior. The San Francisco Department of Public Works managed the project and provided architectural services.

Auerbach Pollock Friedlander’s scope in the Herbst encompassed expanded stage wing space, renovated boxes, new seating, rigging replacement, orchestra lift upgrades, a new orchestra shell, and improved theatrical lighting. The new backstage suite offers accessible stage level dressing rooms, a multi-purpose rehearsal space and a performers’ lounge.

The architectural lighting scope for Auerbach Glasow French included an extensive initial inventory of hundreds of historic fixtures original to the building that were then meticulously restored and upgraded to be re-used throughout the building. Contemporary state-of-the-art lighting was designed for areas that did not feature the vintage fixtures. The entire building is now centrally controlled by a processor-based system designed by Auerbach Glasow French that aggressively reduces lighting electrical loads.

Auerbach Pollock Friedlander | Auerbach Glasow French has completed numerous projects in the Civic Center Arts District during the firm's 44-year history including the War Memorial Opera House renovation in 2007 which is also part of the War Memorial development.

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