The Phyllis Wattis Theater

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California U.S.A

EHDD served as both Associate Architect on the Snøhetta-designed San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) expansion as well as the architect for additional renovations throughout the original Mario Botta-designed building and new expansion spaces. 

Significantly, EHDD also had the opportunity to lend high level technical expertise to this project with its design of the newly-renovated Phyllis Wattis Theater, an important part of the overall SFMOMA expansion, given the theater’s constant use for film, lectures, meetings, and live performances. As part of the expansion, half of the original Wattis Theater was removed and replaced, keeping the same seating capacity as the original theater design of 275 seats. 

EHDD designed an intimate raked seating space wrapped by “transondent” - acoustically transparent –walls, which function similarly to audio speaker covers or grills. These slatted walls allow speakers mounted on the outer perimeter walls to project sound through the transondent walls and into the seating chamber without interference. The semi-transparent quality of the transondent walls also allows people to move behind them, from the audience seating up to the stage, without disappearing from view, as they did in the original design.

SFMOMA partnered with Meyer Sound to deliver optimal acoustics and flexibility of programming, including the installation of a Meyer Sound Constellation® acoustic system for active acoustics, as well as Meyer Sound cinema and sound reinforcement systems for film and live amplified events, respectively. 

Using a network of speakers and microphones around the room, the Constellation system allows the acoustics of the space to be tuned for different types of events and performances; for example, it can also be tuned to replicate the acoustics of a variety of performance spaces around the world, such as symphony halls and cathedrals. 




San Francisco

500 Treat Ave #201
San Francisco, CA 94110

(415) 285-9193