The Walt Disney Family Museum by Page & Turnbull and Rockwell Group
Cesar Rubio
The Walt Disney Family Museum by Page & Turnbull and Rockwell Group
Aug 20, 2010 Through a creative use of animated color and lighting, as well as advanced technology inclusions, Page & Turnbull and the Rockwell Group restore three, historic military buildings in San Francisco into an engaging Disney masterpiece.

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IMAGE INFORMATION
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The Walt Disney Family Museum by Page _01 The Walt Disney Family Museum
Presidio of San Francisco, California
Page & Turnbull, Architects
Rockwell Group, Interiors and Exhibits
Photographs by Cesar Rubio

The Walt Disney Family Museum is located within the Presidio of San Francisco, which is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area of the National Park Service. The Presidio was established in 1776 and was in continuous use as a military post under Spain, Mexico, and the United States through 1994, when the site became the nation’s first urban national park.

The Walt Disney Family Museum by Page _02 The Museum occupies three historic buildings in the heart of the Main Post: a barrack building (completed in 1897); the Post Gymnasium (1904); and a machine gun shed (1940). These buildings represent distinct eras of the Presidio’s construction and contribute to its status as a National Historic Landmark District and a California Landmark.
The Walt Disney Family Museum by Page _03 A 20,000-sf addition set into the U-shaped barrack courtyard provides added exhibit space and facilitates circulation through a dramatic spiraling ramp. The glass and steel addition defers to the historic building. It is set back from the edge of the heavy masonry walls and sits below the existing eave. Transparent glass at the enclosure’s edges reveals the historic façade to passersby. From the interior at the second level, visitors enjoy a breathtaking view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Locating the addition in the rear courtyard preserves the experience of the Main Parade Ground’s shaded porches and timeless views enjoyed by 19th Century soldiers.
The Walt Disney Family Museum by Page _04 Although most of the historic interior finishes had been removed over the last century, the design preserves the building’s original floor plan and spatial relationships while accommodating a rich array of multi-media exhibits, a store, and a café.
The Walt Disney Family Museum by Page _05 The existing brick masonry was tested for porosity and repointed to protect the structure and the museum’s collections.
The Walt Disney Family Museum by Page _06 Modest wood flooring, plaster walls, stamped ceiling panels, and original windows serve to ground the bright exhibits in which color was prominent, due to Disney’s successful focus on animation.
The Walt Disney Family Museum by Page _07 Advanced technology and building materials, including miles of cabling, wiring and mechanical systems, were discreetly integrated into all three buildings.
The Walt Disney Family Museum by Page _08 In some areas, natural light is controlled, while in other areas natural light provides a break, a chance to recharge before heading back into the exhibits.
The Walt Disney Family Museum by Page _09 Tech systems support a broad array of exhibits, from historic documents and artifacts, to listening stations and other interactive displays, to more than 200 video monitors. They also provide critical control of temperature, humidity and ultraviolet light.
The Walt Disney Family Museum by Page _10 LCD screens, audio lines, duct work and structural walls had to flow seamlessly inside a load-bearing masonry building with no floor cavities and few vertical shafts or mechanical chases.
The Walt Disney Family Museum by Page _11 Modern technology serves to create an engaging and educational exhibit that brings families into the world and history of Walt Disney.
The Walt Disney Family Museum by Page _12 A theatrical approach was taken to the lighting of the museum's interiors, with galleries alternating between light and dark, depending on the story being told.
The Walt Disney Family Museum by Page _13 Contrasts between light and dark, color and muted tones, and old and new serve to enhance the seamless flow of visitors throughout the space.
The Walt Disney Family Museum by Page _14 A former storage facility built in 1940, houses the mechanical equipment for the Museum campus. Locating most mechanical systems here freed space in the larger buildings for galleries, archives, and other needs.
The Walt Disney Family Museum by Page _15 The building was also seismically retrofitted and a below grade level was added to house a theater and learning center.