ODC Theater Center
General Contractor: Oliver & Company
Civil Engineer: Van Maren & Associates
Structural Engineer: Jon Brody Structural Engineers
Mechanical Engineers: LMR Consulting Mechanical Engineers
Electrical Engineers: Silverman & Light Consulting
Acoustical Consultant: Charles M. Salter Associates
Theater Consultant: Shalleck Collaborative Inc.
Located on a corner site in San Francisco’s Mission District, a converted 1909 box factory served as ODC’s home since 1981. After initially exploring a modest renovation, ODC saw the opportunity to expand its facilities and more fully achieve its long-standing goal of providing an international center for contemporary dance and performance on the West Coast.
The renovation of the historic building dramatically increased the existing theater’s height and volume and introduced natural light, while addressing preservation and code requirements. Enhanced flexibility and acoustics, as well as sprung wood floors and a seating structure capable of doubling as a performance set, further elevate the venue’s stature as a creative hub. The three-story studio building replaced an earlier two-story addition and incorporates three large studio classrooms, a green room, support spaces, and a café. The café and theater lobby unify the project’s contemporary and historic components and, through their transparency, strengthen ODC’s connection to the neighborhood.
Accommodating this enriching, expanded mix of uses on such a small urban site required close collaboration between the architects, the engineering team and city officials. A steel frame structure, with trusses that recall the box factory’s original heavy wood beams, stabilizes the historic brick building while supporting the expanded theater volume and administrative offices above. Within the theater, steel mesh panels distinguish the new structure from the old, and conceal absorptive material that improves the space’s acoustics.