Dramatically framed by Morphosis’s glassy Federal Building looming behind it, the revived Strand theater, a gleaming red experimental performance space and education center for the American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), clicks into its site on San Francisco’s Market Street like one of the final pieces of a complex puzzle.
Long neglected, the surrounding Central Market and Tenderloin districts have in recent years benefited from neighborhood regeneration efforts and the city’s economic boom.
The Strand—which began its life on the Great White Way theater row in 1917 as the Jewel movie house, later became an adult cinema, and finally was abandoned in 2003—was becoming progressively more conspicuous: an eyesore along a rapidly emerging corridor.
An intensive restoration, renovation, and adaptive-reuse project breathes new life into this century-old cinema while providing a second facility for a 50-year-old nonprofit arts organization.
But it is also a linchpin, nodding to the civic center and its cultural institutions across Market Street while knitting together the vibrant retail district to the northeast and the burgeoning residential and commercial development to the southwest—where Twitter and other tech companies are putting down roots.