February 14, 2005
Image Courtesy Contemporary
Jewish Museum of San Francisco
Perhaps the third time really will be
a charm for the Contemporary Jewish Museum of San Francisco.
The Museum has unveiled scheme number three for a site that
uses the preserved brick façade of an early twentieth
century, Willis Polk-designed power substation as its main
entry. Located in the cultural district of the city, the site
has cultural institutions designed by Botta, Maki, Polshek
and Legoretta as neighbors.
The first design, in 1997 by Peter Eisenman, raised huge
public ire over the plaza in front of the building. In 2000,
the Museum unveiled a fresh attempt by Libeskind in joint
venture with Chong Partners of San Francisco. While more welcome
by the public, construction on this 100,000 square foot version
was delayed due to a reorganization of the institution. The
third incarnation, by the same team, is a scaled-back and
streamlined version of the second scheme. At 60,000 square
feet, this version still contains the potential spatial excitement
of the interior and the provocative strategy of the smooth
shining body of the galleries rising up behind the historic
façade. Construction on the $41 million project is
slated to begin in spring of 2006barring any new difficulties.