Diane B. Wilsey Center for Opera
Renovation, Historic Preservation
Owner’s Representative: D.R. Young Associates
General Contractor: WEBCOR Builders
Structural Design/Build Subcontractor: Tipping Structural Engineers
Mechanical Design/Build Subcontractor: AIRCO Mechanical, Inc.
Electrical Design/Build Subcontractor: Decker Electric Co. Inc.
Plumbing Design/Build Subcontractor: Pribuss Engineering, Inc.
Historic Preservation Consultant: Carey & Co., Inc.
Architectural Lighting / Daylighting Consultant: ARUP
Acoustical Consultant: ARUP
Theater Consultant: ARUP
Green Building Consultant: Thornton Tomasetti
Specifications: Emily Borland Specifications
Code Consultant: ARUP
Glazing Consultant: Maurya McClintock Façade Consulting
Signage Consultant: Kate Keating Associates
Security Consultant: Guidepost Solutions LLC
The fourth floor of the historic War Memorial Veterans Building is the new home of the Diane B. Wilsey Center for Opera. The center consolidates most of the San Francisco Opera’s operations into a single site and provides two performance venues to accommodate smaller, experimental performances compared to the adjacent Opera House. The fourth floor was originally the home of SFMOMA for over six decades, then a law library and dormant for many years—until February 2016 when it reopened as the Wilsey Center and returned to a public art function.
The center houses a 299-seat Atrium Theater, a flexible Education Studio, costume studio, support spaces, two public exhibition galleries, and administrative offices. The 4,500 square foot atrium theater is reconfigurable to house raked seating and stage options to accommodate an array of productions. The theater is acoustically isolated and utilizes state-of-the-art technology to provide the best in viewer experience.
Historic detailing within the space had been covered over the passing decades and was carefully revealed and restored during construction. New design elements of glass and steel are used to be deferential to the existing Beaux Arts detailing, and by contrast celebrate the historic architectural splendor. Wherever possible, new elements are held back from the existing; new glass walls touch the historic plaster with light, thin frames and raised floors are held back from the columns or walls to not change the proportions of the historic. The building is designated as a National Historic Landmark and California Historic Resource. The project received LEED Gold certification from the USBGC.