|The Geneva Car Barn and Power House
The Geneva Car Barn and Power House is located in San Francisco's District 11 at the juncture of the Excelsior and Ingleside neighborhoods. Designed by the Reid Brothers (who also designed the Fairmont Hotel and the Cliff House), the 1901 building served as a depot for the San Mateo Railroad, and then later for all San Francisco rail lines. The structure remains the last physical reminder of San Francisco's first electric railway.
In 1985, the Geneva Car Barn and Powerhouse was declared a San Francisco city landmark. Heavily damaged in 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, it was left to deteriorate. In 1998 the Geneva Car Barn and Power House faced demolition, as th e San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni) had not used the deteriorated building for more than a decade. The proposed demolition galvanized the community, who convinced Mayor Willie Brown to save the building. Ownership was transferred to the Department of Recreation and Park in early 2004, as the department was interested in the buildings as a flagship site for a new youth job training program.
District 11 has the highest percentage of youth in the city, yet the lowest percentage of youth services and virtually none in the arts. In response, the Geneva Car Barn and Power House will provide San Francisco's under-served youth with job skills in the culinary, media, literary, photographic, design and technical arts. Students will earn a paycheck while working, in the form of meaningful apprenticeships, with professional artists. In addition to specific arts-related job skills, programs will teach vital life skills such as time management, creative reasoning and teamwork.
The Geneva Car Barn and Power House's work with young people is motivated by the desire to empower under-served youth and to help span the growing employment participation gap amongst diverse communities. At the heart of our programming is the belief that when given the chance to express themselves creatively, and a beautiful building in which to do this, young people gain the confidence, skills and passion to imagine and pursue a positive future for themselves. And they become part of larger conversations where their voices are desperately missing, and needed.
Programming will begin off-site in Summer, 2010. The building is anticipated to open in mid-2012. To provide programming, the Geneva Car Barn and Powerhouse will partner with best-of-class arts organizations in the Bay Area with established track records and demonstrated excellence in serving under-served youth.
In the non-after school hours, the Geneva Car Barn and Power House will serve as an arts and culture center for District 11 residents – the only one of its kind. It will house a café run by culinary arts students, a flexible performance space, a gallery for local and student artists, a nonprofit incubator program, and an event space with catering kitchen, dance floor and stage.
In addition, art classes for adults and seniors will also be offered by our partner organizations, and meeting rooms will be made available for community members.
Earned income from revenue-generating activities at the Geneva Car Barn and Power House, including the café, event space rental, theater rental, gallery rental and adult art-education classes will fund operational expenses associated with the operation and maintenance of the building and the administration of the programming.
The Geneva Car Barn and Power House has sat empty at the geographic center of this lower-income, ethnically diverse district, across from one of the busiest transportation hubs in the City. It is a graceful historic building with enormous flexibility. It has the potential to energize the community, if successfully adapted for a new use.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation considers the adaptive reuse of vacant historic structures that were not built for housing, but no longer serve their intended purpose, as catalysts for attracting new investment in the neighborhoods that need it most. Accordingly, the Geneva Car Barn and Power House is a key component of the Balboa Park Station Area Plan, a transit-oriented development plan that was recently unanimously approved by the San Francisco Planning Commission. The plan is to be voted upon by the Board of Supervisors in late March 2009.
The Geneva Car Barn and Power House will strive to achieve a LEED Platinum rating. This initiative will serve as a superior example to the community of a city-owned building promoting resource conservation using an environmentally sensitive "green building standards" approach to development. Inherently sustainable, h istoric preservation is more environmentally friendly than new construction as it preserves embodied energy, reduces the need for new materials, reduces waste in landfills, and reduces pressure for development on the urban fringe.
District 11 is an area where creative solutions to open space, public amenity, and visual interest are of special need. The positive relationship between building sustainability, urban form, and the public realm will be emphasized. Instead of turning inwards and creating a distinct and disconnected internal environment, the Geneva Car Barn and Power House will look outward at its surrounds, through for instance, visible windows that allow natural light and air the building.
Most importantly, the building will the teach students who inhabit it about how to live more sustainably and prepare for the best possible future without exceeding ecological limits. The building will make its environmental impacts transparent and demonstrate solutions that reduce and recycle wastes, reward efficiency, and eliminate carbon emissions.