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  • Bayview Opera House exterior
  • Bayview Opera House exterior
  • Bayview Opera House interior
  • Bayview Opera House grand opening stage
  • ground level cage rocks and fruit tree
  • Side details rock box and lights
  • view of seating from deck

Bayview Opera House

The $5.7 million renovation project for the Bayview Opera House improved ADA access in and around the historic landmark and transformed the plaza adjacent to the building into a more inviting community gathering space for music and performing arts programs. 

The project was led by the San Francisco Arts Commission, which owns the property, in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office on Disability, San Francisco Public Works and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority. Renowned landscape architect and artist Walter Hood of Hood Design in partnership with TEF Design/Knapp Architects, Joint Venture oversaw the redesign of the plaza, which improves the streetscape of the entire intersection at Third and Newcomb.

The plaza expands the cultural center’s programming potential with a newly designed wood stage and permanent seating surrounded by sustainable landscaping, including a grassy area that was created especially for children’s activities and larger community-wide events.

The architects worked closely with the Mayor’s Office on Disability to develop a design that was sensitive to the historic character of the building, while making much needed upgrades for accessibility and functionality. The exterior entry staircase was enlarged and connected with elevated walkways to the side porch and back stage, creating a more operational and seamlessly accessible facility that improves circulation throughout the compound. Interior improvements include three fully accessible ADA restrooms and seismic stabilization of the historic balcony. Extensive dry-rot mitigation, resulted in an entirely new south facing wall, which is located behind the outdoor stage.

Deborah Frieden & Associates provided valuable consultation to ensure that the project captured the community’s priorities, served its primary purpose as an arts center and maintained the historic features of the building while meeting 21st-century needs.

Additional project support was provided by: OneSF, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, the Community Challenge Grant program, Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure and Office of Economic and Workforce Development. This project also was made possible by the generous support of The Kaiser Permanente and the John & Marcia Goldman Foundation.

About Bayview Opera House Ruth Williams Memorial Theater
Built by the Masons in 1888, the BVOH, is the oldest standing theater in San Francisco and survived both the earthquake and fire in 1906. It is the first and so far only building in San Francisco’s District 10 to be included in the National Register of Historic Places. Run by the non-profit, Bayview Opera House, Inc., the facility is dedicated to providing arts education for at-risk youth year-round for free or at a low cost. The organization also presents many cultural events throughout the year for all ages, including art exhibits, concerts, plays and community celebrations, as well as the recently established 3rd on Third event.

Rec Centers & Playgrounds
Special Projects
STATUS Completed
4705 3rd Street
$5.7 million
Bayview Opera House, Inc.
Project Team

San Francisco Arts Commission
Mayor’s Office on Disability
San Francisco Public Works
San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority
Walter Hood of Hood Design
TEF Design/Knapp Architects
Joint Venture
San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development
The Community Challenge Grant program
Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure
Office of Economic and Workforce Development
Kaiser Permanente
John & Marcia Goldman Foundation