Balboa Pool in San Francisco Reopens, Renovated by ELS Architecture and Urban Design / Kuth Ranieri Architects Joint Venture

San Francisco, Balboa Pool, ELS Architecture and Urban Desig, Kuth Ranieri Architects, Berkeley
Image courtesy of Kuth Ranieri Architects

Berkeley and San Francisco — Located in San Francisco’s Balboa Park, Balboa Pool reopened today, announced Clarence D. Mamuyac, Jr., FAIA, president/CEO of ELS Architecture and Urban Design, and Byron Kuth, FAIA, principal of Kuth Ranieri Architects. The two firms renovated the pool in a
joint venture for the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department.

Designed in the International Style by architect Frederick H. Reimers, Balboa Pool opened in 1956 and features a flat roof, scored concrete-clad exterior walls, bands of metal-framed windows, minimal ornamentation, and a semicircular ramp that leads to the central entryway. It is one of the only intact International Style facilities built for the San Francisco Recreation and Parks department during the wave of construction of recreational facilities that occurred in the years immediately following World War II.

The renovations by ELS / Kuth Ranieri preserved the historic character of the 1950s-era building while enhancing the user experience and upgrading the structural and environmental systems. The design team increased the pool’s programming capacity by reconfiguring the locker rooms and administrative spaces and carving out space for a new 800-square-foot community room.

The renovation also improved the building’s connections to its neighborhood context, with a redesigned parking area that enhances traffic flow, as well as a new drop-off area. A new civic threshold defines a clear point of entry with the addition of a canopy and discreet landscape and
lighting elements. Rebuilding the entry ramp and interior spaces allowed for ADA compliance from the entry throughout the building.

Other elements of the project include new locker rooms and a family changing room, a customer service area and lobby, an easy step-in pool feature, and new pool systems, mechanical systems, electrical systems, and plumbing systems.

Funding came from the 2012 San Francisco Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond.

About ELS Architecture and Urban Design
ELS Architecture and Urban Design was founded in Berkeley, California in 1967. The firm’s work includes sports and recreation facilities; educational projects, theaters and performing arts venues; mixed-use and urban design projects, and historic building renovations. ELS is listed among the 2018 Architectural Record Top 300 Architecture Firms. For more information, please visit

About Kuth Ranieri Architects
Kuth Ranieri Architects was founded in San Francisco in 1990. The firm’s projects range from small-scaled objects and museum installations to buildings and urban planning proposals. Current projects include SFO Terminal 1 Center and the Golden State Warriors Chase Center and Esplanade (both in association with Gensler) and the SFO International Terminal Renovation (in joint venture with SOM and Tsao Design). The firm recently completed the Randall Museum Renovation (in joint venture with Pfau Long Architects). For more information, please visit ​​.

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