Jewish Community Center of San Francisco
How do you replace a venerable community center with a modern seismically resilient building that fits into a traffic-dense residential neighborhood?
Jewish Community Center of San Francisco

The Jewish Community Center existed at the corner of Presidio & California Streets for over 100 years in a revered, yet seismically deficient building, and the JCC programs no longer fit. The constrained site was further challenged by difficult rock excavation and high water table issues. The resulting buildings creatively packed the dense athletic, fitness, education, and theater functions into two buildings that are seismically separated.

Forell Elsesser provided structural engineering services for this new 125,000 s.f. reinforced concrete signature structure. This mixed-use facility is 3-stories above grade containing a natatorium, theater, community rooms, public assembly area, restaurant, offices, and a gymnasium. Two stories below grade contain an aquatics facility and underground parking.

Customized Solution

  • Prior to the decision to create a new building, Forell | Elsesser conducted a seismic investigation of the existing community center structure. Both seismic upgrade schemes and replacement schemes were considered, and it was determined that it would be not only cost-effective for a new building to be constructed, but the only way to fit the expansive program requirements.


  • Architect: Gensler in association with Steinberg Architects
  • Owner: San Francisco Jewish Community Center
  • Reinforced concrete and structural steel
  • Arched concrete girders clear-spanning the pool also support the upper two floors of fitness studios and a large basketball gymnasium
Jewish Community Center of San Francisco
Jewish Community Center of San Francisco
Jewish Community Center of San Francisco


Jewish Community Center of San Francisco

Allen Nudel

Director of Business Strategy