Hosfelt Gallery | San Francisco, CA

An engaging and luminous entrance to an art gallery. +

Commissioned by the owner to create a space in which to build the expanding business and the growing international reputation of the Hosfelt Gallery, we converted an industrial warehouse into an upscale exhibition, work, and storage space that accommodates more artists, clients, and inventory than the gallerys previous space. Transforming the concrete-frame building presented two main challenges: to create a minimalist yet lively gallery space and a visually dramatic yet inexpensive entrance.

Leaving the exterior untouched, we recast the still-functional loading dock as a glowing, open-air entry. Sandblasted glass panels-weather- and graffitiproof- are held in place with custom steel brackets and backlit with continuous strips of neon light. This passageway of smooth, reflective glass vividly connects the two contrasting spaces of the rough alley without and the refined gallery within. Ingeniously differentiating old from new, street from inner sanctum, its design calls attention to both the nature of urban culture and art-viewing itself. Gallery visitors walking up the light-filled ramp are themselves momentarily seen as objects on display.

The interior holds three viewing rooms: a main gallery for large works, a smaller one for photographs and works on paper, and a windowless gallery for video art. Administrative functions are placed along the front fa├žade, shielding the exhibition spaces from direct sunlight. The opposition of old and new acts as the organizational principle. Simple white gypsum board walls-kept separate from the existing structure throughout-float as abstract planes in an otherwise unadorned space. Existing concrete columns are also kept separate from the new walls and ceiling, creating a liquid space that revitalizes the building without changing its character. The eye is in constant motion, as walls break and turn corners, exposing the art and the people on display from a multitude of angles.

The gallery's integration of building technology and art, texture and light, space and dimension has encouraged an increasing number of diverse and internationally acclaimed artists to present work at Hosfelt. Some even create with the space in mind, in conversation with the gallery's continuous visual vocabulary.

  • Awards:
  • 2001 Best of the Bay and Beyond
  • Press:
  • 2010/06 The Architects' Take