The San Francisco office of Perkins+Will was recently certified LEED Platinum by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).
The project’s rigorous performance goals were achieved with a holistic sustainable design approach. The primary design principle was to employ passive strategies to limit solar gain, encourage natural ventilation, and harvest daylight. The existing building envelope was optimized by adding exterior shading, removing a portion of the roof to allow installation of solatubes, and installing a sliding, second layer of double pane low-e glass on the inside of the existing windows. All exterior windows remain operable to allow for fresh air circulation and provide natural ventilation. Daylight illuminates 100% of the workspace with windows, solatubes, and sunbeamers bringing natural light deep into the large floor plate. Electric lighting is minimized and controlled by occupancy and daylight sensors.
Materials were carefully screened and assessed according to the Perkins+Will Precautionary List and the Living Building Challenge Red List. Finishes were eliminated where possible and only low or no-emission paints or coatings were used. Reclaimed Douglas Fir was sourced from the Transbay Terminal foundation pilings, and milled into furniture throughout the space.
The office occupies the entire third floor and a portion of the second floor of the three-story office building located at 2 Bryant Street along San Francisco’s Embarcadero. Sited in a mixed-use neighborhood, the office is accessible by multiple transit modes including subway, bus, light rail, commuter rail, and ferry service. The office is directly adjacent to the Embarcadero, a popular bicycle and pedestrian pathway that connects much of the accessible waterfront in San Francisco, allowing employees easy access to efficient and low carbon commuting options.
Informing our practice through research is an important part of our design culture, and each Perkins+Will office functions as a living lab. The spaces allow us to experiment with design processes, ideas, products, and operational strategies, helping to make us better designers and stewards of our communities. One example is the “When in Drought” drought tolerant lawn experiment. We replaced half of our lawn with a variety of drought tolerant turf alternatives. The experiment allowed us to test various planting schemes, and engage with the public about responsible use of potable water in severe local drought conditions. The project was designed by our own landscape architects, installed by our staff and monitored over a year. Signage engages our neighbors, staff and passers-by, offering education on the turf types and purpose of our experiment.
The design takes advantage of location and microclimate to create a healthy, beautiful modern workplace that reflects both the office culture and commitment to sustainability. We believe in the value of third party verification as a means to improve our communities and reduce the impact of our built environment. The San Francisco office is the 19th Perkins+Will office to earn LEED certification, and the sixth office certified LEED Platinum.