This is a proposal for a music hall located in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Most often, music hall’s are programmatically bottom-heavy, meaning that their massing and relationship to the ground is bottom-weighted with social and circulation spaces. This proposal inverts this relationship, becoming vertically oriented fostering contextual continuity under and through the music hall. The vertical dislocation from the ground encourages perceptions of ascension, setting in motion a series of visual and spatial veils.  

Golden Gate Park has a multiplicity of atmospheric, botanical, and geographic effects that often border on eerie. Maybe its the obscuring fog, the central pond’s strange reflections, or the bizarrely canopied trees, but its an almost film Noir setting apt for a music hall. The peculiar, even at times foreboding qualities encountered in the park's scenography lends to a sense that something curious is lurking just under the veil of enclosure or repose. The Music Hall advances this feeling through a series of visual and spatial veils that confuse the distinctions between silhouette and mass, front and back, object and field, and inside and outside.  A colonnade of nine arch-cut cylindrical volumes creates a confetti like figure-ground plan that prolongs the experience of threshold between the park and the music hall's interior and which straddles an interior mass in section, thickening the space between the inside and the outside by framing internal social spaces, theater spaces, and galleries within external colonnade legs and framing views across the park. This colonnade not only disturbs the legibility of envelope and volume, but also prohibits an easy declaration of frontality. The ‘in-the-round’ quality of the music hall renders all sides and corners equally as the front, thus producing a tension between the internal organization and the exterior form’s contextual obligations. This tension is a productive one in which the park setting and the Music hall exchange omni-directional views with each other; each surveilled and surveilling.

The exterior materiality suggests both a process of architectural becoming and of architectural decay. Geometrically precise, as if intricately cut stone, the music hall suggests a logic of tectonic assembly more appropriate to today; veneer or surface applied pattern. Yet, the effects of its cracking when taken as a whole and the lack of repetition suggest a monolithic quality of a time past. A subtle gradient - possibly paint or possibly careful attention to rock color variations in the process of stacking - from lighter at the bottom to darker at the top assists in the top-heavy quality of the Music Hall's verticality. Yet, the gradation from grey to darker grey also suggests a kind of material realism about its age and environment as the top appears to have darkened due to its continued saturation in fog.

Copyright, Endemic Architecture 2018