The American Conservatory Theater (ACT) redeveloped the 100-year-old Strand Theater to meet its growing needs. This new location along San Francisco’s Market Street provides the organization with a highly visible performance space. WSP USA provided MEP engineering, commissioning and built ecology services on the project.




  • San Francisco, California, USA


  • ACT Theater

Project Status

  • Completed in 2015


  • 2013 Citation Award, Unbuilt Design, AIA San Francisco
  • 2015 Award of Merit, California's Best Projects, Renovation/Restoration, ENR
  • 2015 Revitalization Award, AIA San Francisco

Theater Ventilation

The theater features a variable floor configuration, which required our design team to take a displacement approach to ventilation. Air is delivered at the floor level with very low velocity in order to provide comfort to the audience without disrupting performances.

A large storage cavity below the seating area was repurposed for ductwork for the displacement ventilation system. This approach uses higher-temperature air and conditions only the occupied space, reducing the cooling load and increasing the available number of economizer hours.