The David Ireland House Restoration

Developed in collaboration with Jensen Architects and ARG Conservation Services, a meticulous renovation and conservation effort was completed by The Foundation in January of 2016 to create public access to the restored home and improve conditions for the art without altering the original spaces. A modest addition to The House now utilizes the full footprint of the property and provides new exhibition spaces, an archive room for Ireland’s work, an outdoor terrace, and spaces to accommodate public events and activities related to The 500 Capp Street Foundation.

These elements extend the architectural language of Ireland’s work through a similar palette of materials while clearly delineating the new and original structures. The renovation also included the installation of an elevator in The House to provide more universal access to the second floor and basement levels. In collaboration with construction management firm Oliver & Company, Jensen Architects also reengineered the home’s existing foundation, seismically upgrading the structure and stabilizing the environment for Ireland’s installed spaces.

ARG Conservation Services, who recently completed the structural restoration of Coit Tower, completed a sensitive restoration of The House’s interior surfaces to their original appearance when Ireland completed his primary “maintenance action” in 1978. ARG brought expertise in the philosophy and ethics of conserving vernacular architectural spaces and worked closely with the architect and contractor to assess vibration impact, clean and protect Ireland’s artworks, and conserve every interior feature, intervention, and piece of historical material altered by the artist’s hand—including testing various methods to restore the most accurate level of sheen to the high-gloss walls.

Additionally, the color of exterior of The House was restored to its original ‘battleship grey’ using lead-free paint, and the iconic gold leaf signage on the front window and ‘500’ House number were returned to their original condition.

ARG Conservation Services has worked with public and private entities to secure the future of a host of historic and cultural landmarks, serving as a leader and resource for conservation professionals. Projects range in scope from one-day graffiti removal to multi-year structural upgrades. Principals work throughout the western United States, Hawaii, and Alaska. Clients include the National Park Service, California State Parks, Stanford University, and Intercontinental Hotels.

Jensen Architects are passionate about creating buildings and environments that enrich the experiences of organizations and individuals. Guided by a responsibility to achieve the most using the fewest resources and to engage a broader cultural perspective, they develop solutions that embody each client’s values and larger purpose. They are recognized for innovative applications of proven building systems and materials and valued for their collaborative approach to design and construction. Their accomplishments are rooted in a culture of camaraderie that fosters longstanding relationships with clients, consultants, and colleagues. They offer clients an opportunity for creative exchange that informs their practice as much as the resulting work.

Oliver & Company was originally founded as Oliver & Coburn in 1946, just night years after Lloyd Oliver helped complete the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge. Today they are a hands-on, full-service construction company with over 1,000 buildings completed across Northern California. Oliver & Co. handle the work themselves—they are not a construction broker. Their crew includes over 75 carpenters and experienced field staff supported by a 25-person in-house project management team. They all work together, solving problems daily to keep each project moving forward. Oliver & Co.’s ability to execute stems from the long-term relationships they have with their employees; the average tenure for an employee of Oliver & Company is over seventeen years, with some employees staying their entire careers.