This renovation for the lecture hall at the San Francisco Art Institute is an investigation into new systems, including lighting, audio, handrails, while also redefining the stage area and lectern. In order to resist the overwhelming sculptural and linguistic context, we related the anatomy of new elements to the action of the participant.
We accomplished this through selecting and amplifying aspects of the program. Sidewalls were stripped back to the original wood siding and treated as sites, where a parasitic layer of passage and systems was introduced. The existing thresholds are wrapped in steel plates, setting up an armature that supports all the necessary lighting, sound, exit, and emergency systems required for the theater. The doors, narrow and low, provided a station point where the user is momentarily engaged in the system. It is here the individual becomes the cyborg; technological systems spread their tentacles along the surface of the auditorium, while the participants, holding the rail as they ascend the stair, also become part of the theater’s systems. The darkened room stops movement and reduces the audience to eyes and ears. Thresholds then become steely totems that stand guard over the darkened space.
The lectern is closely related to the body of the user as well. The piece was developed to support a folded hot rolled steel plate that accommodates a reading stand, light, and microphone. The lectern is an outline, a profile of a tectonic body fitted with animistic accessories; hands, legs, feet, and voice box.