SFSU unwraps plans for $260 million performing arts center
By Gil Riego Jr.
On Thursday San Francisco State University unveiled designs for a new, $260 million dollar construction project that has been in the works for four years: the Mashouf Performing Arts Center.
“It is time to replace the current creative arts building,” SFSU College of Creative arts Dean Kurt Daw said. “Things have changed over the years – but the biggest is that the arts are not so much separated, but a large interactive community.”
“The site will sit at the corners of Front and Lake Merced Boulevards,” architect Michael Maltzan said. “From that point, it will lead you into the campus as a whole.”
The 240,000-square-foot building will be spread across its plot of land and its highest point, a 1,200-seat theater, will be visible from Winston Drive, according to Maltzan.
“Instead of a tall building, we decided to spread it out,” he said. “SF State has a particular landscape, almost primeval. We decided that the landscape of the building should be just as dynamic and fit into the surrounding area.”
Beyond the 1,200-seat theater, the installation will include a 450-seat theater for dance and performances, a 250-seat experimental theater, a 300-seat music recital space and a 75-seat student-run theater.
“The learning and teaching facilities will literally flow from one side of the building to the other.” Maltzan said. “The community, students and faculty can literally flow together as well. It won’t be a learning experience [just] for the students, but also the community.”
Eighty percent of the funding for this futuristic institution is planned to come from public funds such as bonds, and 20 percent from private fund-raising. The first phase is scheduled to be complete in five years from its start, with the entire project to finish in a total of 10 years.
The official date of groundbreaking for the project is going to depend on the passing of bonds, according to Simon Lam, SFSU associate vice president of capital planning, design and construction.
The actual construction shouldn’t present any complications for local traffic, according to Lam: “The building will be placed on what is basically an empty lot.”
Currently on the site of the future performing arts center are a baseball field, basketball courts and tennis courts. Those would be torn down to make way for the center, and once Mashouf center is completed the existing creative-arts building will be demolished and rebuilt for classrooms
“[The new center] shouldn’t be any competition to cultural venues in place,” Lam said. “It will be adding to the cultural community of all of San Francisco. It will definitely be [a] local public facility.”
Gil Riego Jr. is a San Francisco journalist and photographer.