Preservation in Practice: Adaptive Use of Historic Buildings as Arts Facilities in the San Francisco Bay

Author/Creator ORCID
MA in Historic Preservation
Citation of Original Publication
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As a mature student, I had not researched and written a term paper in over thirty years. The last time I did so, I wrote the paper on a manual typewriter, and spent many happy hours in my university library, hoping to find relevant source material. Oh, how things have changed, and yet, interestingly, have stayed the same! Good research requires a keen understanding of the questions to ask, and that will never go away. However, the tools for obtaining information and historical research have proliferated well beyond the library stacks and card catalogs of my past. My approach to writing this paper was to select a topic of interest and relevance to my career and studies, but also one that enabled me to include primary research. I wanted to combine both library sources and contemporary perspectives in how old buildings in the Bay Area have been adapted and used as arts venues. The four buildings I selected were all built in the first quarter of the 20th century and adapted within the last forty years. I was able to speak with the executive directors of the resident arts organizations included, as well as architects involved in the projects. As I hoped, I was also able to spend time in libraries across the country. All had books and periodicals of use. But the wonder of the internet now means that I was able to look for research material on my local library’s website and order a copy from anywhere in the country, that archived materials in the Stanford University Library were at my fingertips, that I could find information in books, periodicals, and studies online, without having to leave my desk.