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Out of the ark: the San Francisco Community Center Project Robertson, Sean Bryan 1998

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OUT OF THE ARK: THE SAN FRANCISCO COMMUNITY CENTER PROJECT by SEAN BRYAN ROBERTSON B.A., The University of British Columbia, 1994 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARCHITECTURE in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES School of Architecture We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSlTYM9FTrRrnSH COLUMBIA May 1998 © Sean Bryan Robertson, 1998 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of A f t^ f f t^g^ f fS The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date ^2-W$rf°P DE-6 (2/88) ABSTRACT In January 1997, with the support of the Office of the Mayor, an invited design competition was held to select the architect of a Community Center for San Francisco's Lesbian, Gay.Bisexual, and Transgendered communities. This thesis adopted this problem as its point of departure from a Directed Study on the history of sexuality, lesbian and gay visual cultures, and queer spaces. The intriguing aspect of this approach was developing an understandingof the identity of the Client as a way into the design; understanding that the Community is diverse and continuously both resists and accepts multiple identities. The work investigated the Client's relation to space and visual culture for vestiges of identity. The socio-spatial history of the Client is marked by a particular relation to public space of the metropolis: it was the ground for the contestation of contemporary social strictures. Public space is taken as precedent for the design; the project attempts to "institutionalize" public space or to be an exacerbation of "publicness." This is explored in two ways. Firstly, the plan is organized along a central spine that potentially extends into the adjacent property to the west (a future acquisition for the Center) and into the library and, theoretically, into the city to the east. The section of the project is legible on the elevation at the cafe, the rooftop patio staircase, the smaller bar "building" first level (at Market Street's street wall), and the ceremonial room. This strategy implies a continuation of the project beyond itself — the sections of building and city (street wall, overpass) seem to overlap and imply new interiors. Secondly, the project allows for public occupation at numerous positions from the basement to third floor, proffering opportunities for public activity beyond the street level. The visual history of mannerism in architecture has resonance with the world-view commentators associate with queers. Instead of limiting the intentions of a design to structural, economic and programmatic requirements, such architecture pursues complexity and contradiction: an exercise in excess and, arguably, an ineffectual endeavor. Queer culture embraces similar edicts. The attempt at gesture in building, as described above, is one such example in the project. Other moments articulate different formal problems. The canopy is too big for the door, but almost right for the scale of the city...the public elements of the small bar building have their own identity, yet form one whole under the same canopy...the Waller Street fenestration schedule is juxtaposed by the ceremonial room's double-height requirement. ii TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract i i Table of Contents i i i Acknowledgement iv Conceptual Montage In-Between Spaces ; v Plans Figure Ground/ Site Plan (1:400) vi Basement Level (1/16") vii Ground Level vi i i Mezzanine Level ix First Floor x Second Floor xi Third Floor xi i Fourth Floor xi i i Fifth Floor xiv Sixth Floor xv Sections Along Spine, Looking North xvi Along Spine, Looking South xvii Through Library and Auditorium, Looking South xviii Through Auditorium and Spine, Looking West xix Through Spine, Looking East '. xx Elevations Market Street/ Octavia Street Elevation, Looking North xxi Waller Street Elevation, Looking South •. xxii Perspectives View of Main Entrance, Information Desk, and Library Lounge, Looking East xxiii View of Lobby (Spine), Auditorium, and Cafe, Looking West xxiv View of Library Lounge, Looking West toward Auditorium and Lobby xxv Models Site Model, Looking West (1:500) ......xxvi Diagrammatic Model in Site Model, Looking North at Market Street Elevation (1/16") xxvii Diagrammatic Model in Site Model, Looking South at Waller Street Elevation (1/16") xxviii Final Model, Market Street Elevation, Looking North (1/8") xxix Final Model, Waller Street Elevation, Looking South (1/8") .„.......xxx Final Model, Octavia/ Waller Street Elevation, Looking West (1/8") xxxi iii ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I am extremely grateful for all of the efforts of my Committee — George Wagner and Bill Pechet (Co-Chairs), Ante Liu, and Andrea Sauder - who contributed to both the work and my marriage to it. I am also indebted to Sylvain Bombardier, Joel Meneses, Carman Kwan, Andrew Emde, Christine Lang, Kim Johnson, and Lisa Martella for their encouragement and efforts. iv • • ' • Guerrero Street lllllllBII |K fcglin Park Valencia Street CP Q o CD Q L O O o o r 

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