Garfield Center

Garfield Center

Architect
TEF Design
Location
San Francisco, CA, USA | View Map
Project Year
2021
Category
Community Centres
Bruce Damonte

Garfield Center

TEF Design as Architects

Encompassing the renovation of a 18,600-square-foot midcentury natatorium designed by William Merchant and the addition of a new 3,400-square-foot clubhouse and connecting entry lobby, this project responds to the wide range of recreational and educational needs in the Mission district, while strengthening its role as a rich cultural hub for community-building and interventional youth services.  

photo_credit Bruce Damonte
Bruce Damonte

The upgrade of the natatorium removed nonconforming exterior additions, and the south façade’s 1980 diptych mural “Primal Sea” was restored by its creator, Precita Eyes. The building’s canted western façade, obscured over time, was restored with a glass curtainwall featuring a colorful mural, by Bay Area artist Favianna Rodriguez, that celebrates the Latinx diaspora of immigrants in the Mission. Inside, the rehabilitated pool features a movable bulkhead to support simultaneous pool use by both lap swimmers and young children and elders with mobility challenges. Reconfigured and modernized restrooms and locker rooms enhance functionality and accessibility.   

photo_credit Bruce Damonte
Bruce Damonte

The glass entry lobby offers views through the courtyard and soccer fields beyond while supporting use of the clubhouse after pool hours. Clad in colored phenolic panels and housing public restrooms and a flexible multipurpose room, the new clubhouse defers to the historic natatorium and opens to a new courtyard connecting the structures.  

photo_credit Bruce Damonte
Bruce Damonte

The project was driven and shaped by three primary goals.  First, as one of 15 parks funded by a bond measure, improving “access to safe and high-quality recreational facilities” was a fundamental objective of the client, the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department (RPD). Years of deferred maintenance and ad-hoc measures had resulted in existing facilities lacking functional cohesion and in need of upgrading to modern safety and recreational standards.  

photo_credit Bruce Damonte
Bruce Damonte

Second, given the project’s location in the Mission district, near the rapidly evolving Bernal Heights neighborhood, its design also needed to address a diverse demographic and wide range of potentially conflicting community needs and uses with equity in mind.   Lastly, it was imperative that the Center’s role as a vital hub for Latinx history, culture, and community be celebrated and reinforced.  

photo_credit Bruce Damonte
Bruce Damonte

Dedicated in March, the complex supported a Community Hub to provide students with distance learning support, healthy meals, and recreation opportunities in the clubhouse until its delayed opening in July due to the pandemic.  “Garfield Square is beloved by the neighborhood…” said San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “This major overhaul ... is a project that both reflects and was shaped by the community.” 

photo_credit Bruce Damonte
Bruce Damonte

Project Team 
Architecture: TEF Design in joint venture with Paulett Taggart Architects 
Owner: City and County of San Francisco 
Structural Engineer: Rivera Consulting Group 
Mechanical Engineer: Guttmann & Blaevoet Consulting Engineers 
Plumbing / Electrical Engineer: E Design C, Inc. 
Civil Engineer: Leahy Engineering 
Landscape Architect: San Francisco Department of Public Works 
Acoustic Consultant: Vibro Acoustic Consultant 
Pool Consultant: Aquatic Design Group 
Cost Consultant: Saylor Consulting Group 
Lighting: Architectural Lighting Design 
Signage: Lowercase Productions 
LEED Consultant: STOK 
Waterproofing Consultant: Simpson Gumpertz & Heger 
Specifications: Emily Borland Specifications, Inc. 

Photography 
Bruce Damonte

photo_credit Bruce Damonte
Bruce Damonte
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