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Cranespotting: Cultural Beacons

Signs that the arts will endure—from a world-class museum to an everyday movie house.

SFMOMA Expansion

Courtesy of Snøhetta

(1 of 3)

A.C.T Strand Theater

Courtesy of Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill LLP

(2 of 3)

Alamo Drafthouse New Mission

Courtesy of Kwan Henmi

(3 of 3)

1. SFMOMA Expansion (Yerba Buena)
151 Third St.
The metamorphosis
While SFMOMA’s three-year construction project has some quibbling over the loss of the Botta staircase, look at the big picture: This new complex, dominated by the white canvas of the Snøhetta building, will transform the blocks around it, opening up Howard between Third Street and New Montgomery and converting neglected Natoma Street (and the museum itself, with its free street-level gallery) into a public thoroughfare. Cultural/Spring 2016/204 ft.

2. A.C.T. Strand Theater (Mid-Market)
1127 Market St.
A fresh plotline
Stories of this area’s renaissance tend to start the same way: “Once upon a time, a tech company met a tax break.” But here’s another version: “A World War I– era vaudeville playhouse turned condemned porn palace was rescued by the American Conservatory Theater, and a beachhead of high art lived happily ever after on Market Street.” Cultural/Winter 2015/56 ft.

3. Alamo Drafthouse New Mission (Mission)
2554 Mission St.
Dinner and a movie without leaving home.
Gentrification of the Mission is hardly news, but an upscale movie theater abutting a condo project—involving the conversion of the New Mission Theater and the lot of an old 99-cent store—is a milestone of sorts. The 348-seat theater will have a lobby bar and four screening rooms and will be flanked by eight stories of modern condos. Mixed use/2014/85 ft.


Castles in the Sky: Downtown Titans
Nabe Changers: Neighborhood Defining Apartment Buildings
Open for Business: Office Buildings, Malls, and Hotels
Cultural Beacons: The Arts Will Endure
Urban Levittowns: Planned Communities, Hold the Vanilla
Service by Design
Modern Overhauls for Civic Stalwarts


Originally published in the November issue of San Francisco

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