LOCATION: 850 Bryant Street, San Francisco, California
CLIENT: SWCA and the San Francisco Department of Public Works
DATE COMPLETED: 2015
The San Francisco Hall of Justice is a large public office building, courthouse, and jail complex located in San Francisco's South of Market Area. Designed by Weihe, Frick, & Kruse and built 1958-60, the austere, granite-clad building houses the Sheriffs' Department, the County Jail, the Coroner's Office, the District Attorney's Office, and various municipal courts. Until 2015 it also housed the San Francisco Police Department headquarters. The building is San Francisco's third Hall of Justice and it has served this function longer than any other building with the same name. Featured in many films and television programs, including Dirty Harry and Streets of San Francisco, the Hall of Justice is known by film buffs around the world. More important, the Hall of Justice has played an important role in real life crime and punishment in San Francisco, hosting various high-profile trials, including the trials of Dan White, Lenny Bruce, and the Zebra Killers.
The Hall of Justice, as the center of San Francisco's criminal justice system, is remarkably well-preserved. Unfortunately, it is also functionally obsolete and vulnerable to seismic activity. The San Francisco Police Department has already vacated the building and the Department of Public Works plans to build a new County Jail facility next-door. VerPlanck contracted with SWCA to prepare the Historic Resource Evaluation (HRE) for the project to evaluate the building's architectural and historical significance and to assess the project's impacts on the Hall of Justice and the surrounding neighborhood. The HRE concluded that while the Hall of Justice lacks architectural significance, it is historically significant. Nonetheless, the HRE also concluded that the project would not have a significant adverse effect on the environment.