Thanks to the generosity of people who love the Palace of Fine Arts, work is already under way to renovate and restore one of San Francisco’s most treasured landmarks. Our chief restoration partners are architects Carey & Co., Inc., and landscape architects Royston, Hanamoto, Alley and Abbey.

For an insider’s view of Palace improvements in progress, be sure to visit our Work in Progress in the future.

Spring 2010 - Fall 2010

Work on the project's final phase, begun on January 11, 2010, will restore a number of original Palace features, designed by Bernard Maybeck, that have been lost over the years. When the restoration of the western side of the site is completed you'll see:

• Vistas that evoke the ideas of Bernard Maybeck, who worked with John McLaren, famed landscape architect and supervisor of Golden Gate Park, to create the visual effect of a palace that seemed to grow directly out of the lagoon.

• Landscaping that recalls the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition's dream to make San Francisco the “Athens of the West.” Native plants that thrive in the City's Mediterranean climate will be used to enhance the Palace's classical architecture.

• New North and South Entrances that create “architectural rooms,” envisioned by Maybeck to draw the visitor into the site in a more intimate way, and leading into the more grand composition.

• A decorative floor for the Taube Family and Friend Family Rotunda based on Maybeck's original design, replacing the current ragged asphalt and gravel. Donors above $100,000 will be recognized with elegant individual bronze medallions, set into the pattern of the floor, that feature the Panama-Pacific International Exposition's logo of “Hercules Parting the Continents.” All donors of $1,000 and above will have their names inscribed on the beautiful new Rotunda Terrace overlooking the Lagoon.

• Six Interpretative Panels that give much-needed educational context to the site and tell the story of Maybeck and the Palace architecture, the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition and its enduring impact on California, and the Lagoon's wildlife and environmental importance.

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Fall 2007 - Spring 2009

Work focused on the Palace Rotunda and Colonnades. The interior dome was repaired, seismic strengthening were added to the Rotunda, architectural elements were pinned, structural repairs were made to the Rotunda and Colonnades, new roof membrane was applied to the Colonnades, and preservation cleaning was completed for all structures.

To see examples of the damage and repairs that were needed, please visit Palace in Need.

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Fall 2004 - Fall 2006

The Palace campaign extends heartfelt thanks to the Taube Family Foundation, the Friend Family Foundation, and the Koret Foundation, whose generosity has supported progress so far on our reconstruction of the Palace. In their honor, we name the Taube Family and Friend Family Rotunda, and Koret Gardens, which surround the Palace.

In Fall 2006, the Palace’s general contractor, Aquatic Environments, Inc., completed work on the eastern portion of a new stone wall around the lagoon. Step one in the reconstruction involved placing steel sheet piles against the water’s edge to provide structure. Steel was then capped in concrete and topped with a low stone curb above the water level. The stone, from a quarry in Napa, complements the color of the Palace rotunda and colonnades. Work continues on the west side of the lagoon. (click photo to enlarge)

Because the Palace provides habitat for birds and other creatures as well as a beautiful place for people to enjoy, plants to border the lagoon were chosen with care. New plantings favor species that will thrive along the lagoon’s damp edge and provide color and texture within the greater Palace landscape. Plantings include daylilies, Douglas and Japanese iris, sword ferns, willow trees, coreopsis, and gunnera. (click photo to enlarge)

In August of 2005, landscape experts began restoring the lagoon and eastern landscape of the Palace. Here they’re rebuilding the lagoon’s crumbling edge, which now consists of a sheet pile wall with a concrete cap, topped with basalt cobbles. (click photo to enlarge)

Thanks to the aquamog, which dredged the lagoon bottom and removed sediment, water quality and circulation in the lagoon are already greatly improved. Additional lagoon work includes adding soft edges to provide easy access for turtles and waterfowl, plus new native plantings for food and shelter. (click photo to enlarge)

In the fall of 2004, work began on the Palace dome. To stem further water damage, experts repaired the rotunda’s ceiling membrane and clad the dome with a urethane rubber roofing membrane, in burnt orange to match the dome’s original shade. Here workers can be seen applying the new roof. (click photo to enlarge)

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