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Smuin’s New Building2019-11-27T16:33:15-08:00

This Week at 1830 17th Street:

Support Smuin’s New Building

For 25 years, Smuin has rented studio and office space all over San Francisco. Our home at 1830 17th Street will give us the freedom to have rehearsals on our own schedule and join our artistic and administrative staff under the same roof for the first time.

We are thrilled to put down roots in a permanent home of our own and hope you will join us in making Company founder Michael Smuin’s dream a reality. 

October 30, 2019

Sneak Peek: The San Francisco Chronicle Looks Inside Smuin’s New Home

Smuin Contemporary Ballet dancers don’t normally use white respirator masks, but they have been vagabonds for 25 years and they weren’t going to wait another day. They were willing to breathe in paint fumes and dust to finally rehearse in their long-awaited and still-unfinished $10 million studio at the base of Potrero Hill.

The San Francisco company founded by the late choreographer Michael Smuin in 1994 had never managed to secure a studio lease, but now it owns a space in the city…” Read More

September 5, 2019

Inside & Out: Walls and Windows Surrounding Studio A

This week, Studio A is almost unrecognizable; almost every wall has been sealed in off-white gypboard, disguising the brightly-colored insulation that once defined the space. Most notably, the exterior of the building has now been enhanced with large storefront windows, as seen in the final photo. Soon, passers-by will be able to glimpse Smuin’s dancers during their daily rehearsals through these very same windows! 

August 22, 2019

Insulation Installation: Padded Walls & Sprung Floors

Smuin’s new building boasts not one, but two dance studios that will house and support the Company dancers’ daily rehearsals. The main rehearsal studio features three large windows overlooking 17th street, as seen in the far right of the first photo. The smaller window, visible in both photos, connects the Artistic Director’s office with the studio, which will allow the staff to occasionally observe the dancers without interruption. Over the last two weeks, the studio has been fully insulated in preparation for the drywall. Following the drywall installation, the custom-made sprung dance floor will be put in place.

August 8, 2019

Progress Report: Administrative Offices

Construction of Smuin’s administrative offices has progressed considerably over the past few weeks. Both plumbing and preliminary electricity have been installed and await the building inspectors. The upstairs offices have been fully insulated, and both the walls and ceiling are being sealed off with plywood and  gypboard (as seen in the first photo). The executive offices, restroom, and kitchenette have all been framed, and the conduit for the HVAC system (visible in the top of the second photo) leading to the “artistic penthouse” is now complete. Windows overlooking the open office space can be seen in the top right of the second photo, providing much-needed natural light.

July 31, 2019

Progress Report: Studio A

Insulation is being installed in the ceiling over Studio A and the lobby area, casting a rosy glow over the open space. Large bags (visible in the second photo on the left side) protect the insulation prior to installation. Also new are the HVAC ducts, and solar tubes (similar to skylights) which will let in natural light from the roof above while also minimizing heat.

July 29, 2019

Plumbing: Bathrooms, Showers and More

Installation has begun on the free-standing shower inserts. While just a few weeks ago the units were stored in Studio B, now the plumbing details (visible in the second photo) are being covered by Densglass, stucco, inserts, fixtures, and more. The third photo features an accessible shower unit on the ground floor, which will soon be accompanied by the remaining inserts.

July 25, 2019

Insulation Installation

The cotton candy pink insulation has filled in the walls of the second floor, bringing it one step closer to a usable office space. Notice the ceilings have also been filled in with preliminary drywall—the giant pile of debris on the floor is from the installation of the ceiling in the second floor open area, small offices, kitchen, bathroom, and more. Visible in the second photo on the left side is the doorway to the staircase down to the lobby.

July 15, 2019

Walled Off: Plywood Covers Studio Wall

Workers completed the wall framing between Studios A and B, putting up plywood boards over the vertical planks. With the studio now enclosed, it’s much easier to comprehend the actual dimensions of the space. One finishing touch before enclosing the wall: wooden blocks placed between the vertical wall beams (visible in the third photo) provide much-needed support for the mirrors and ballet barres which will line the studio walls.

July 11, 2019

Stepping Up: The Stairs are Framed

Gone is the metal ladder ascending to the second floor—fully framed stairs now lead from the ground floor lobby to the administrative offices upstairs. Visible under the staircase is a soon-to-be kitchenette, which will include a refrigerator, microwave, and more. From the top of the stairs, the high ceilings appear as tall as they really are—soaring 20 feet into the air. A window next to the second floor staircase landing will allow a view from the administrative offices into the lobby below.

July 1, 2019

The Second Floor Takes Shape

The framing for the second floor is coming together! The future home of Smuin’s administrative team, the second floor contains four private offices, open office and meeting space, a kitchenette, and a bathroom. High windows along the south wall allow natural light into the space. The “Artistic Penthouse” (the staff’s joking name for the southeast “corner office” soon to house Artistic Director Celia Fushille and Ballet Master Amy London) is visible at the right side of the first photo, or from the doorway in the third photo.

June 27, 2019

Framed! The Studio Walls Are Up

The 20-foot walls surrounding Studios A and B are up! With long planks extending floor to ceiling, the warehouse space at 1830 17th Street has begun to look much more like the spacious dance studios it will become. The view from the entrance lobby in the first photo now shows the windows looking into Studio A on the right, with a ladder on the far end leading to the second floor (the staircase will be put in much later). The third photo shows a similar window looking into Studio B from the lobby area. Curious what the large objects currently stored in Studio B are? Look closely—they are prefabricated shower inserts waiting to be installed in the locker rooms! 

June 17, 2019

Uncovering History

Currently on the southeast corner, the lobby and main doors of 1830 17th Street are in the process of relocating to the southwest corner. During demolition, workers discovered a mechanical roll-up door, likely part of the original warehouse constructed in 1949 on a freight rail line owned by the Western Pacific Railroad. The roll-up door (now organically fused to the building!) had been covered for nearly 30 years, likely since the 1990s when the warehouse was renovated as a dance hall. Most recently, the building was known as the Metronome Ballroom, until the organization relocated in 2015. Note in the May 22, 2019 photo the structure covering the roll-up door prior to demolition.

June 13, 2019

Second Floor Sprints Ahead

Floor 2 of 1830 17th Street is well under way, with the initial covering complete (and an access ladder going up, for workers to complete the roof work). Visible in the fourth photo are roof ducts: pipes providing ventilation for the roof drains. Other plumbing (for the upstairs kitchen and bathrooms) is coming soon, as evidenced by the holes cut into the floor. Note the floor plan built literally out of 2’x4′ beams—the initial framing is next on the installation list!

June 10, 2019

A Tour of the Building⁠—Studio A

Just in the last few weeks, the wall separating Studio A from Studio B has risen 20 feet from the ground. The metal struts supporting the exterior walls have been removed following the addition of the metal trusses (the metal latticework will remain exposed after construction is complete). Framing has also begun on the ground floor office, media room, and conference room (visible in the far corner on June 7, 2019).

June 6, 2019

The Second Floor is Underway

Just assembled a few weeks ago, the second floor is now receiving its section of the roof. The upper level of Smuin’s new building will house administrative offices for the full-time staff, as well as a kitchen and bathrooms. Look carefully to the upper left on June 6, 2019 to see cut-out spaces: preparation for long horizontal windows to let in natural light!

May 22, 2019June 6, 2019

June 3, 2019

Smuin launches the public phase of our Capital Campaign!

The $10 million campaign will allow the Company to grow and thrive in the dance district along 17th Street. Our Fund for the Future will support the renovation of the existing building and establish funds for artistic innovation and community engagement.

May 29, 2019

The View from the Lobby

The entryway of Smuin’s new building is a long corridor along the left side, eventually featuring a reception desk and seating area before the staircase to the second floor. From the lobby, visitors will be able to sneak a peek into both Studio A and Studio B (though those walls aren’t framed yet). Imagine a red statement wall, featuring pictures from Smuin’s 25 years of performances, and a portrait of the man himself, Michael Smuin.

May 22, 2019

The Artistic Penthouse

This is the staff’s joking name for the “corner office” on the second floor, future home to Artistic Director Celia Fushille and Ballet Master Amy London. May 22, 2019 marked the first time we could visit the second floor to take photos of the work in progress. The space offers great views of the construction work going on down below. The corner windows will give Fushille and London a chance to peek in on rehearsal⁠—if they’re not already teaching on the dance floor!

May 9, 2019

Truss Installation

One key 60-foot truss supports the ceiling over Studio A, the larger of two studios where the Smuin dancers will rehearse after construction is completed. The 60-foot truss over Studio A was lifted into the air with scissor lifts and installed between two steel support posts by a team of workers. Smaller 20-foot trusses brace the 60-foot truss at various points over the studio. Studio A is on the south side of the 1830 17th Street building, while Studio B shares a wall just to the north. In Studio A, mirrors will line the north wall separating the two studios, leaving the south wall to retain the three banks of windows facing 17th Street.

May 6, 2019

The Trusses Have Arrived

Measuring up to 60 feet at the largest and 20 feet at the shortest, these metal trusses will replace the weaker and worn-down wooden beams that previously supported the roof. Made out of steel, the trusses were custom built for the 1830 17th Street space and needed a large team to unload and install them. The delivery truck arrived at 4am, so unloading the 60-foot truss would not block traffic! The metal latticework of the trusses will remain exposed after construction is complete, to assist with hanging a lighting grid and sound equipment.

April 26, 2019

From the Outside

Smuin’s new building resides at 1830 17th street, at the intersection with De Haro–right next to the 22-Fillmore bus stop. Also in the neighborhood? Center for the Book, the San Francisco Design Center, and all manner of start-ups and boutique restaurants. The Greek keyhole pattern decorating the exterior of the building will remain a part of the new facade, as a tribute to the rich history of the space. Coming soon: new windows, entrance way, and fresh paint. Keep an eye out for Smuin’s signature red!

April 24, 2019

Building Up

Torn all the way down to the studs, the north end rooms on the ground floor are now building back up in their new configuration. Featuring bathrooms, locker rooms for Company members, a wardrobe room and storage, the ground floor is full of complex elements to build in. The second floor will return eventually–but not until after the roof has been removed to make space. Full supports now brace each of the major wooden trusses in the building, which will eventually be replaced with metal trusses.

April 4, 2019

Dancers Visit the Construction Site

The building at 1830 17th Street looks completely different from even just a few weeks ago—all of the interior walls have been demolished and removed, leaving only the studs. Construction is now focused on many of the “unseen” elements, including plumbing and support structures. With a clean concrete floor, some of the Smuin dancers visited the construction site to see the work in progress (and take a few photos, of course!). Lines etched on the floor mark the planned outlines of the new space, and the dancers envision rehearsals in a brand-new dance studio—coming in September 2019.

January 29, 2019

Interior Demolition

The former administrative offices, bathrooms, and storage in the north end (also known as the back of the building) are being torn all the way down. How many different paint colors can you spot? The building at 1830 17th Street has served many different purposes in its time, but Smuin’s new home might look a little different than pastel purple and teal!

January 18, 2019

In the Beginning

Construction is beginning—or rather de-construction! Supports shore up a weak truss as workers begin to remove parts of the old building, including insulation, drywall, and other debris. Can you spot the wall of mirrors? Originally a warehouse, the building at 1830 17th Street was also home to a ballroom dance studio before becoming the future home of Smuin. Look closely under the dust for the beautiful wooden floors. While not planned for use in Smuin’s construction, the material can be recycled for other local building projects. Currently on the southeast corner, the lobby and main doors will be moved to the southwest corner to leave space for the 22-Fillmore bus stop.

August 15, 2018

Smuin is turning 25 and we’re celebrating in a big way–with a brand new home! Learn more about Smuin’s plans for a new space of our very own as told by the San Francisco Chronicle:

“Smuin finally has its home, in a 1949 warehouse next to the old freight line on Potrero Hill. ‘This was always [Michael Smuin’s] dream,’ said Company member Erin Yarbrough-Powell, while looking out the long front windows as the 22-Fillmore line rumbled by on 17th Street at De Haro.

After 25 years, Smuin will be spelled out in big block letters across the top of a long facade facing 17th Street. ‘Michael would be amazed with what we’ve done,’ said Artistic Director Celia Fushille. ‘Not only that his company continues, but that there is going to be a building in the city with his name on it, after all of his contributions to the arts.'”

– Sam Whiting, San Francisco Chronicle

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