The Center SF is proud to be located in part of a Historic landmark building formerly known as The Sacred Heart Church (we are in the rectory).
Here is a brief history of The Sacred Heart Church which you may find intriguing as do we:
The Sacred Heart complex consists of four buildings: Sacred Heart Church, a rectory , a school building, and a convent. (Only the church building with its towering campanile was nominated for the National Register.)
The imposing complex, two blocks from Alamo Square, stands near the crest of a hill and is visible from much of San Francisco including the hill, two miles away, where I now sit.
With its gable-roofed façade, its west-facing portico supported by Tuscan order columns; square campanile with arcaded openings and pyramidal roof; its arcaded corbel table below the eaves of the nave, its stringcourses on the nave and bell tower that mark the horizontal divisions between floors, and smooth-faced, monochromatic brick cladding, Sacred Heart Church expresses the individuality and variation of features that occur within Romanesque Revival churches in San Francisco.
The church building was designed by Thomas John Welsh and constructed for the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco in 1897. It survived both the 1906 Earthquake and Fire and the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake with only cosmetic damage.
The parish, once dominated by a large Irish-Catholic community, became heavilly African American after World War II. Later influxes of Latinos, Filipinos, and gays created one of the most diverse congregations in San Francisco by the turn of the millenium. Nevertheless, the Archdiocese decided to close Sacred Heart in 2004, citing the high cost of seismic repairs.
In 2005, the property was sold to a private owner who intended to reuse the buildings in the complex as a charter school. The school was never fully operational in this location and the complex, including the church, now stands vacant [as of January 2012].
Romanesque Revival architecture, which was based on medieval and early Christian Romanesque cathedrals of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, originated in the early nineteenth century in Munich, Germany.
Romanesque Revival buildings in the United States are simpler than their European counterparts. Common features of the style in the United States include:
- molded semicircular arches for window and door openings
- molded beltcourses that divide the exterior into horizontal bands
- the Lombard band which is a series of miniature arches located below the eaves
- column capitals and compound arches enriched with geometric Medieval or Byzantine-inspired ornament
- gabled roofs flanked by square or polygonal towers of differing heights and capped with pyramidal roofs
For Romanesque Revival churches, the typical plan is basilican, with a long, narrow nave, vestibule, central tower or paired side towers, and self-contained massing. Broad, smooth wall surfaces of monochromatic brick or ashlar masonry laid with thin mortar joints were favored.
New churches, schools, and public buildings were increasingly designed in an imposing variant of the Romanesque Revival style in the nineteenth century in the United States. Diplomats, theologians, educational reformers, clergymen, and rulers supported Romanesque Revival architecture in large part because of the style’s many associations with the staunch faith and communal solidarity of the early Christian era.
There were two phases of Romanesque Revival in the United States. Early Romanesque Revival structures of the 1840s-1850s resembled their Gothic predecessors with accurate interpretations of early Mediaeval forms. The best-known example of early Romanesque Revival in the United States is the Smithsonian Institution in Washington built between 1846 and 1855.
A later phase, Richardsonian Romanesque, originated in the 1870s in the work of the Boston-based architect Henry Hobson Richardson who attended Harvard and L’Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. He was inspired by Romanesque architecture in Spain and the south of France and experimented with these and a variety of other sources to create his own unique style typically characterized as massive, weighty buildings clad in polychromed and rough-hewn stone and punctuated by Syrian arches and sculpted Byzantine capitals.
The style was not used in San Francisco until the late 1880s. Although known by local architects, the style was not initially embraced due to its cost and its use of earthquake-prone masonry construction. Most early examples were designed by out-of-state architects, particularly Burnham & Root, who were early adopters of the style in their hometown of Chicago.
Today, The Center SF as it is known is a collective community with a mission to unite mind, body and spirit for the purpose of celebration. We offer this transformational developmental-space for classes, workshops, and events such as (but not limited to) yoga, meditation, martial arts, massage and other healing arts in our beautiful bamboo studio, lounge, industrial kitchen, and more.