AKA: P, G & E Jessie Street Substation #2, San Francisco, CA

Structure Type: built works - infrastructure

Designers: Polk, Willis, and Company (firm); Willis Jefferson Polk (architect)

Dates: constructed 1905

1 story

Jessie Street
San Francisco, CA

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Architect Willis Polk undertook a number of commissions for the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG and E) after 1900. He remodeled, rebuilt and enlarged PG and E's Jessie Street Sub-station on three occasions: in 1905, 1907 and 1909. He first did a large-scale remodel of an existing power plant erected in 1881. Polk's remodeling effort burned in the Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 04/18-19/1906. He re-erected this important electric facility in the wake of the devastation one year later. It symbolized the modernization and renewed vitality of the city following this withering trauma. The architect also enlarged the building once more in 1909. The building presented an austere but complex and tasteful facade to the city, a sanitized industrial building during the City Beautiful era.In 1994, the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency offered the historic Pacific Gas and Electric Substation, designed by noted San Francisco architect Willis Polk (1867-1924), to the Contemporary Jewish Museum for use as a gallery space. Four years later, the the Polish-American architect, Daniel Libeskind (b. 1946), who was also Jewish, was selected to create a blockbuster museum, whose very sculptural qualities would attract tourists. Like all of Libeskind's buildings, this radical design introduced considerable structural engineering issues. After ten years of work, Libeskind's Contemporary Jewish Museum of San Francisco opened on 06/08/2008.

PCAD id: 15728