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Baby Brutalist Reborn

Katie Henry
13 Nov 2019

Since opening in 1956, Balboa Pool has been a beautiful fixture in the neighbourhood of Balboa Park in San Francisco.

Featuring a sleek horizontal form, scored concrete-clad walls, extensive glazing, exposed wood and concrete ceiling and the central entryway led up to by a swooping semicircular ramp. 

Balboa Pool remains one of the only still-intact International Style facilities built during the wave of recreational facility constructions in San Francisco after World War II. It was originally designed by architect Frederick H. Reimers, and the pool has now been renovated in a joint venture between ELS Architecture and Urban Design and Kuth Ranieri Architects. The reconstruction was designed to reflect the 1950s-era building and preserve its historic character as well as enhancing the user experience through improving structural and environmental systems. 

The team chose to reconfigure the locker rooms and administrative spaces in order to carve out space for a new 800-square-foot community room and increasing the pool’s programming capacity. They also redesigned the parking area and created a new drop-off area, as well as a new entry canopy and a rebuild entry ramp for ADA compliance.

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