- James A. Russell, AIA, Architectural Record
STUDIOS designed this multi-block, mid-rise urban complex in San Francisco’s South of Market area. Each of the development’s four buildings feature an entry plaza facing out onto a common intersection, thereby creating a large public open space and enriching the surrounding neighborhood which has long endured heavy commuter traffic.
The concept for the new development was inspired by Silicon Valley’s high tech campuses, and sought to create a new type of urban office building that would attract more technology firms to San Francisco by providing large floor plates and easily adaptable spaces within a vertical campus. The success of the buildings’ ultimate flexibility has since been proven by attracting and accommodating a variety of tenants, including Sun Microsystems, clothing company Gymboree, law firm Orrick, and financial services firm Barclays Global Investors (now BlackRock).
Eighth-floor setbacks create landscaped roof terraces with dramatic city views. A central light court feeds additional daylight to all floors in the largest of the four structures. STUDIOS’ use of sustainable design techniques—such as the double-wall/air cavity curtainwall system facing the plazas and self-shading elements in the building skin—earned Foundry Square a commendation for innovative architecture and sustainability from the San Francisco mayor’s office.
The scope for Building 2 called for the incorporation of an adjacent 100-year-old, 30,000 sf brick and heavy timber historic structure. STUDIOS worked with historic specialists to seismically upgrade and restore the building, and renovate the interiors to accommodate modern office and data system requirements. The historic building is now connected to Building 2 at two levels, providing ease of movement between the two structures.
The landmark development breaks ground architecturally and functionally, revitalizes an area that has historically lacked character and pedestrian street life, and takes its place as a major component of the neighborhood’s renaissance.