The community of Pleasanton, California, has a special appreciation for the arts. But even with an established Civic Arts program, a 600-seat proscenium theater, and a downtown museum, many of the town’s residents still felt the need for a more intimate multi-purpose arts facility that could reflect Pleasanton’s lively past—and they looked to an old firehouse, built in 1929, to satisfy their creative appetites.
Berkeley, California-based ELS Architecture and Urban Design was tasked with transforming the historic Firehouse No. 1 site, located just a block off Main Street on a triangular plot of land adjacent to the old Central Pacific Railroad line and Wayside Park, into a unique venue that could facilitate the education and presentation of performing and visual arts. But the two-story brick structure presented some challenges for the design team. The greatest of these was to find a solution that would not only incorporate the firehouse into the new design but also adequately celebrate it.
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