300 Funston Avenue

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300 Funston Avenue, San Francisco. Taken 2016

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).

History

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.

Reading Room Fire

Internet Archive reading room photo, day after fire, November 2013.

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.

Function

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.

Trivia

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.

The Internet Archive is believed to be the only datacenter with a fully functioning pipe organ. Donald Knuth has played on it a number of times.[1]

The Physical Archive contains both a Connection Machine (because Brewster Kahle worked on it) and a complete Sun Microsystems "Datacenter in a Box".[2]

In 2007, the FBI secretly sent a national security letter to the Archive demanding a patron's information. The Archive sued the FBI to make the fact they submitted this non-secret and won.[3]

Over 15,000 new items are uploaded by users and contributing parties every single day. The Archive is well over 50 petabytes (50,000 terabytes) of material.[4]

External links

References