By Don Heckman
SFJAZZ today announced that long-anticipated plans to build a permanent home for the 28-year old San Francisco organization have finally come to fruition. The SFJAZZ Center will be located in the Hayes Valley neighborhood, at 205 Franklin Street, a few blocks from Davies Symphony Hall and the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center.
Architect Mark Cavagnero has designed a 35,000 square ft. transparent structure that he describes as “the first free standing building, that I’m aware of, that’s designed specifically for jazz.” The facility will include a large performance space created with both the pure acoustics and the unique, up-close visibility of jazz programs in mind. “We want the artists,” continues Cavagnero, “to feel the energy and the excitement of the room….We want the audience to feel like they’re in it together with the musicians. Like a large version of someone playing in the living room at a friend’s house.”
The facility will also contain a smaller performance venue, a café/restaurant, classrooms and educational spaces and offices for the SFJAZZ organization. In addition, the Center will provide a new home for the stellar players of the SFJAZZ Collective.
An on-going capital campaign to raise $60 million for construction of the Center has been led by an anonymous $20 million dollar contribution.
“Being truly an institution,” says Randall Kline, founder and Executive Artistic Director of SFJAZZ, “means bricks and mortar. It means having a place that people know to be the place that SFJAZZ lives. The real reason that we’re doing this, and why we believe people should be joining us in supporting this building, is because it’s culture for the 21st century. We want this to be something that embodies the spirit of jazz.”
Computer renderings of the SFJAZZ Center provided by SFJAZZ and Mark Cavagnero Associates.