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KQED’s New Headquarters Nears Completion

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 (Jason O'Rear)

Updated August 9, 2021; KQED's September 25 Grand Opening celebration has been postponed to a later date to be determined. Please see the note at bottom of this release for more information.

KQED, the PBS and NPR member station for Northern California, announces that the major renovation of its San Francisco headquarters is nearing completion. Designed by the award-winning San Francisco-based architects EHDD, the project transforms the station’s 2601 Mariposa Street headquarters from an industrial-style building into a vibrant, accessible state-of-the-art center for civic and cultural engagement, live events and locally focused journalism.

Community service, participation and inclusion are core KQED values that support its mission to inform, inspire and involve; these values guided EHDD’s new design and the station’s plans to activate the space. The reimagined building reflects the innovative spirit of the Bay Area with a dynamic workplace that inspires creativity; spaces that enable collaboration and community engagement; and modernized production and studio spaces that incorporate robust technology expanding KQED’s ability to provide trusted, quality programming where, when and how audiences want it.

KQED purchased and moved into the 2601 Mariposa Street property in 1991. At the time, the station was principally focused on television and radio production. Today, KQED serves audiences on broadcast and other digital platforms such as the web, podcasts, digital video and social media plus live and virtual events. Over this same time, staff has doubled and the station’s news and content services have expanded and diversified. KQED is now home to one of the largest newsrooms in California. The major transformation of 2601 Mariposa reflects, supports and elevates this transformed KQED and its vision for the future.

“KQED will redefine public media for the Bay Area, making it more diverse, participatory and community powered,” says Michael Isip, KQED President and CEO. “The new headquarters will enable our staff to thrive in providing crucial programming and education services, and will expand possibilities for our community to come together to find common ground.”


Design and New Building Features
EHDD’s design increases the station’s visibility to the public, maximizes space with flexibility to accommodate community partners and creates new spaces that enable the public to engage with KQED through events, media-making and community building opportunities on site. The headquarters is designed to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, given by the U.S. Green Building Council) Gold certification.

A new corner entry at Mariposa and Bryant Streets establishes a more prominent position in the Mission District neighborhood with a glass facade that reflects KQED’s transparency, accessibility and vibrancy. With wood-stepped seating and engaging visual touches, including a video wall, community art, and a large timeline installation highlighting KQED and public media’s content, history and mission, the lobby interior offers a vibrant and welcoming entrance for the community.

“We’re lifting up the façade to invite the community in,” says Rebecca Sharkey, EHDD Principal. “This new building represents the physical place of KQED engagement, a place to connect face-to-face with journalists and neighbors, to experience the breadth of KQED content, and to engage in dialogue about issues that matter most to the Bay Area and beyond.” Throughout the building new program spaces with visual transparency and abundant daylight flow seamlessly from ground floor to new rooftop level, creating a dynamic, open, light-filled environment.

The heart of the new KQED is a 238-seat multipurpose event center called The Commons. The venue will make the mission of public media tangible with KQED Live, a new multiplatform events program dedicated to bringing journalism to life onstage, amplifying local culture and exercising civic imagination. Featuring reporters and personalities from KQED, NPR, PBS and a host of community partners, KQED Live will host 60-80 events yearly that serve the Bay Area’s needs in person and online with thoughtful dialogue, performances, screenings, food experiences, live storytelling and behind-the-scenes productions of radio and podcast shows onstage. With significant investment in new broadcast infrastructure, KQED can also capture these events for distribution on television, radio and digital platforms.

“In a protracted time of separation and isolation, we’ve learned how to better use digital tools for virtual dialogue and participation.” says Isip. “We’ll continue to use technology to fill gaps and extend the reach of our work, but bringing people together for personal connection is essential for a strong, vibrant community.”

Community Partnerships
KQED is also launching community partnerships to activate areas and programs in the space. KQED is collaborating with award-winning audio journalism and storytelling producer PRX to launch The PRX Podcast Garage at KQED, a space that will enable podcast producers to gather and build community, learn about podcasting and make their own. Part recording studio, classroom and event space, this unique and inclusive production space will serve podcast creators at all experience levels. The PRX Garage at KQED will host regular workshops on the art and business of audio, as well as high-quality training with state-of-the-art recording and mixing equipment.

In addition, BAVC Media (Bay Area Video Coalition), KQED’s longtime, nonprofit neighbor, will move its San Francisco executive offices from across Bryant Street into the new KQED headquarters. BAVC empowers media makers to develop and share diverse stories that create social change.

A 20-seat community meeting room will be available for community partners to reserve and collaborate. The space will also be home to a community art program featuring works from local artists and organizations. The inaugural exhibition will feature works from Creativity Explored, a Mission District art program and gallery that partners with developmentally disabled artists.

The public will also be able to experience other areas of the building through the station’s tour program. This includes the newsroom; radio studios; the television studio where iconic KQED programs such as Check, Please! Bay Area!, KQED Newsroom and pledge drives will be filmed; master control rooms and the station’s rooftop boardroom and outdoor terrace, which will also be used for events.

State-of-the-Art Technology
The renovation also includes major upgrades to KQED’s technological infrastructure to improve current services and position the station for the always evolving future of broadcasting. Decades-old video and audio cabling and equipment are being replaced with a sophisticated high-speed network to support the cutting-edge work of news and content teams. This, as well as public event spaces such as the lobby and The Commons, will allow for expanded audio and video production opportunities. Other improvements include a newly imagined video and television studio with a green screen and virtual set connected to audio and video production control rooms.

“At a time when people can choose their preferred content and their delivery device, we need to empower producers, editors, storytellers and engineers with the latest, most sophisticated tools and systems,” adds Isip. “The better connectivity we have inside, the more quality programming and more reliable service we can provide to the Bay Area.”

The entire project is expected to cost $94 million, which includes hard and soft as well as transition costs. The renovation is made possible by Campaign 21, a multiyear fundraising effort launched to catalyze the growth of the reporting teams and the expansion of programming, and to support the renovation of KQED's headquarters. Campaign 21 is separate from other fundraising initiatives, including pledge drives, that support ongoing programming and annual operations.

About KQED
KQED serves the people of Northern California with a public-supported alternative to commercial media. An NPR and PBS member station based in San Francisco, KQED is home to one of the most listened-to public radio stations in the nation, one of the highest-rated public television services and an award-winning education program helping students and educators thrive in 21st-century classrooms. A trusted news source, leader and innovator in interactive technology, KQED takes people of all ages on journeys of exploration — exposing them to new people, places and ideas. www.kqed.org

About EHDD

EHDD is a global design firm founded in San Francisco in 1946. EHDD seeks to create built environments that enhance our culture, honor the natural environment, and respect and delight the people who use them. EHDD serves clients worldwide in Education, Commercial and Workplace, Mixed-Use Development, Aquariums, Cultural, and Civic sectors. EHDD is a seven-time winner of the AIA COTE Top Ten Award and is featured in "The Habits of High-Performance Firms, Lessons from Frequent Winners of the AIA COTE Top Ten Award." EHDD has offices in San Francisco, CA and Seattle, WA. ehdd.com

Please note: With COVID-19 cases rising and measures to mitigate spread being reinstated by local authorities, KQED has postponed its Grand Opening Celebration, previously scheduled for September 25. KQED takes the health and wellbeing of its community, staff and partners seriously. For this reason, the station will save a gathering of this scale and nature for a future date. KQED will continue to host smaller, more adaptable KQED Live events in the new headquarters beginning September 25, 2021. Visit kqed.org/events for details.



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