Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall is the concert hall component of the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center in San Francisco, California. The 2,743-seat hall was completed in 1980 at a cost of US$28 million to give the San Francisco Symphony a permanent home. Previously, the symphony shared the neighboring War Memorial Opera House with the San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Ballet. The construction of Davies Hall allowed the symphony to expand to a full-time, year-round schedule.
Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Pietro Belluschi along with acoustical consultants Bolt, Beranek and Newman, its modern design is visually elegant both inside and out. A “cloud” of movable convex acrylic reflecting panels over the stage enables the acoustic space to be adjusted to suit the size of the orchestra and audience, while adjustable fabric banners around the auditorium can alter the reverberation time from approximately one to two-and-one-half seconds. Acoustic isolation of the performance space was obtained by constructing a building within a building. The outer building uses one inch thick structural glass as a curtain wall, with the next structural wall forming the back wall of the lobby spaces. Passing through a door leads to a hallway, bounded on one side by the lobby wall and on the other by the structural wall of the inner building. This continuous hallway acts as an acoustical isolator and is surfaced with sound absorbing material.
In addition to the concert hall itself, an adjoining building contains the Harold L. Zellerbach Rehearsal Hall, comprising three separate rehearsal spaces. The largest of these was designed to be the same size as the stage of the Opera House across the street to accommodate Opera and Ballet rehearsals. Davies Hall also contains offices for Symphony staff, a music library, dressing rooms, a recreation room and lockers for Symphony musicians, and the Wattis Room, a private dining room for major donors. A proposed recital hall was never built; that portion of the site remains empty, and is used for employee parking. A Henry Moore bronze sculpture, Large Four Piece Reclining Figure 1972–73 (1973), is displayed outside the hall at the corner of Grove Street and Van Ness Avenue. Davies Hall also occasionally hosts non-orchestral performances by contemporary musicians.