Monday, September 21, 2015
SF War Memorial Veterans Building Reborn
For over two years, a huge, $150-million+ seismic retrofitting and construction "improvements project" has been taking place at the 1932 Veterans Building on the corner of Van Ness and McAllister next door to the opera house. Though the upgrade won't be finished until early next year, a substantial portion has been completed, and the first two floors of the four-story building were open for tours last week.
The ground floor lobby has been cleaned up, with the round kiosk in the center removed and spiffy new elevators replacing the old metallic monstrosities.
The Green Room on the second floor has gotten a new catering kitchen and bar, and been given a fresh coast of paint and gilding, making it look even more luxurious for your wedding reception party.
The outdoor balcony area off of the Green Room has been retiled and is looking very elegant.
The Veterans offices and meeting rooms have been moved from the first floor to the second, which includes a lovely men's room where you can look into my living room window if you pull up the large shade. (Be sure to wave.)
Herbst Theater, which extends to both the first and second floors, has never looked better. The clunky old 1970s style boxes have been replaced with plush, red velvet versions that are going to be a huge help with the acoustics in the hall.
Elizabeth Murray, Managing Director of the War Memorial & Performing Arts Center, detailed how the ugly paint scheme from the 1970s rehabilitation of the theater had been jettisoned for a simpler color scheme which helps to make the 1945 United Nations murals pop out from the background.
The Herbst Theatre stage used to have virtually no wings, and though it's still a bit cramped in terms of backstage space, the offices in the back of the first floor have been transformed into artists' dressing rooms, complete with natural streaming light.