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SFSU: Performing Arts and Cinnamon Buns

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Photo Credit: Michael Maltzan Architects, Images via ArchDaily Begging the question of how it's going to be paid for, San Francisco State University revealed designs last week for a planned $260,000,000 center for the performing arts. Sited at the edge of their main campus at Lake Merced and Font Boulevards, next to the vast Park Merced complex and overlooking the Harding Park golf course, the Mashouf Performing Arts Center will replace a baseball diamond and is expected to take nine years to finish. Groundbreaking is planned for 2013, and the original $10,000,000 Mashouf gift dates back to 2007, but hey, 2021 will be here before we know it. The architect is Michael Maltzan, a former Frank Gehry staffer who's gone on to a substantial career of his own, primarily in Los Angeles, and it's great to see such world-class architectural ambitions in this part of town. Taking cues from the triangular site, folding onto itself like an origami animal and then spreading out, the center will house theaters, classrooms, rehearsal halls and broadcast studios over many thousands of square feet:

The building is almost like a city. It is meant to act like a small campus with those spaces and connective elements,” said Maltzan. “There’s one continuous horizontal layer, which connects across the entire project and many different disciplines. With informal as well as formal spots, in the choreography of that mix, you create the culture of the college. A 1,200-seat "opera style theater" is planned for the first phase of construction, to be followed by smaller theaters in subsequent phases. While "opera" sounds great, we suspect this place is going to pay for itself with touring companies of popular musicals like "Wicked" in a suburban-friendly setting with good freeway access.

No word yet of an EIR, parking or planned transportation options. Or dining options. Opera always makes us hungry! The nearest parking lot with the capacity to support a 1,200-seat theater is Stonestown Galleria, where there's no surfeit of fast food and cinnamon buns. Problem solved.
· Designed to Help Uplift the Poor [NYTimes]
· SFSU Unveils Plan for Massive Performing Arts Center [CBS Local]
· Michael Malzman Architecture [Michael Malzman Architecture]
· Mashouf Performing Arts Center at San Francisco State University / Michael Maltzan Architecture [ArchDaily]
· Great Performances in San Francisco [The Architect's Newspaper]