Many visitors walk past the diminutive building with the red-tile roof just southeast of the Main Parade Ground without realizing what it is – or what treasure it contains. This petite structure is actually the historic "Powder Magazine," constructed by the Army during the Civil War to house gun powder and munitions in its protective, four-foot-thick stone walls. Today, it is home to renowned artist Andy Goldsworthy's third Presidio installation – and the first that he created indoors.
Tree Fall expands upon Goldsworthy's study of the historic Presidio forest, planted by Army soldiers in the late 1800s and now being actively rejuvenated. While his earlier works,
Wood Line, are surprise discoveries along the Presidio's trails, this installation invites viewers to come inside and to contemplate the relationship between what is "natural" and what is "built."
Goldsworthy is known for creating art using materials right from the site. To make
Tree Fall, he utilized a eucalyptus tree trunk removed as part of the
New Presidio Parklands Project and clay, also from the Presidio. The clay was mixed with human hair donated from a salon in the Haight and, with the help of 40 volunteers, applied to the trunk and ceiling to ensure color consistency as the clay dried and cracked into a beautiful, organic pattern.
When a visitor enters the chamber, illuminated only with natural light,
Tree Fall takes shape as one's eyes adjust. Since it was first created in 2013, more than 10,000 people have been awed by this rethinking of inside/outside.
Visit Tree Fall
Tree Fall is open for docent-led tours every weekend from 10 am to 4 pm. If you plan to visit on a weekday, tours can be arranged in advance by calling (415) 561-2767.
Located at 95 Anza Avenue,
Tree Fall is a short walk from the
Presidio Transit Center and a stone's throw from the
Presidio Officers' Club, where restrooms and food are available every day but Monday. Paid parking is nearby.
Goldsworthy's four Presidio pieces –
Wood Line, Tree Fall, and
Earth Wall – can be visited individually or explored together via a three-mile hiking loop. View the map in the
Goldsworthy in the Presidio brochure. Guided art hikes are held regularly – check the
View videos about Andy Goldsworthy's Art in the Presidio >>