300 Funston Avenue
300 Funston Avenue is the official physical headquarters of the Internet Archive. The full address is Internet Archive, 300 Funston Avenue, San Francisco, 94118-2116. It bears the distinction of being a very large, church-like building that "looks like the Internet Archive logo" (which is one of the reasons it was purchased).
Located at in the Richmond District of San Francisco, the building was originally built by the Church of Christ, Scientist (Christian Scientists) as a place of worship in 1923. Built after the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, it was designed with earthquake-proofing in mind. Like multiple Christian Science churches around the country, it was called the "Fourth Church of Christ Scientist", the words of which are faintly visible at the base of the building in the present day.
Declining numbers and shifting priorities caused the building to become more and more disused, with services only held occasionally. Due to the historic classification of the building, it could not be razed and replaced with different real estate, making it a white elephant. In 2009, Brewster Kahle and the Internet Archive purchased the building and renovated it as a combination datacenter and office building. It replaced the previous home for the Internet Archive, a building in the Presidio, where it was housed from 1996 to 2009.
Renovation included rebuilding the previous Sunday School floor into offices, adding power and network facilities for the servers, and deconsecration (removal of religious symbols and blessings). In original considerations of how to renovate, Kahle considered a wholesale reworking of the inside of the building, but instead ultimately chose to modify as little as necessary to maintain the layout and look of the original structure. As a result, the building still contains pews, a working pipe organ, (non-working) holy water fountains, and other trappings from the building's original role. The main layout of the assembly hall allows for seating by hundreds of attendees.
Currently, the building contains a large portion of Internet Archive servers as well as most main office functions. It shares hosting functions with the Archive's direct and shared hosting around the world.
Reading Room Fire
Adjacent to the main building was a Reading Room, which had been converted into an outreach and scanning center for the facility. In November 2013, a fire broke out and burned the reading room, damaging a neighboring building as well as scorching the side of the main Archive building. The Reading Room structure was ultimately razed and currently contains an empty lot used for public functions.
On multiple occasions, the increased amounts of power consumption by the Archive caused power outages in the neighborhood, which were followed by upgrades by the power company.
Multiple times a year, the Internet Archive hosts functions, announcement events, celebrations and meetings that are open to the general public or available via ticketing.
- Wikipedia entry on the Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist (San Francisco)
- Internet Archive blog entry about the Reading Room Fire, November 6 2013
- Internet Archive Reference Photo Album by Jason Scott (May 2013)
- XCHURCHES.ORG Entry on 300 Funston Avenue
- Scientific American Blog: "The Internet Archive--Bricks and Mortar Version", April 13, 2016
- Atlas Obscura entry for the Internet Archive
- Loopnet Listing for 300 Funston Avenue in 2008