The loss of existing street-front access to Pat’s Garage in the SOMA district of San Francisco presented an opportunity to re-examine the material and spatial organization of the neighborhood repair shop. The project began with a complete inventory of the shop’s equipment and functions, vertical and horizontal circulation requirements, access and material flow, and the intricacies of car-owner and mechanic rituals. The challenge of incorporating the client’s ambitious program of hosting community events and drive-in projection required a tactical approach of discreet interventions to make the most of a tenant-client’s limited budget.

The offices, client reception, and technical administrative functions are consolidated into a dynamic wall. The foyer, office-bar, waiting zone, serve as a hybrid where various functions may overlap seamlessly, all organized parallel to the adjacent, but distinct zone of the automobile mechanical services.

A monolithic membrane of structural, thermally extruded polymer is inclined as a rigid acoustic curtain between the two zones. The full-height membrane is detailed to be a bilateral tissue that isolates the western-most structural bay from the rest of the warehouse volume. The membrane is penetrated in two locations by deep plywood frames that allow passage through the tilted wall and ensure protection of the openings from impact damage.


A long, waiting-bar stretches horizontally between the portals joining them and slipping through the membrane to accommodate the separate programs on each side. Clients sit here on stools watching the up-down of the car lifts as they talk to the chief mechanic at drop-off time, or at end of day pick-up, receiving auto repair counseling and maintenance therapy.



SITE: San Francisco, CA

SCOPE: Interior renovation, reprogramming