Bay Area Metro Center
San Francisco, California
Square Footage: 525,000 SF
LEED Gold Targeted
Reconstruction, Silver Award, 2016, BD+C
Best Project, Northern California Award in the Renovation/Restoration Category, 2016, ENR California
The project at 375 Beale Street involved the transformation of a massive, 1940s-era military warehouse into a transparent, welcoming space to co-locate under one roof four Bay Area government agencies, with intersecting and complimentary missions. The building is designed to foster interagency collaboration and allow the public a better understanding of each agencies’ role.
The eight-story concrete building was converted into state-of-the-art offices, community hearing spaces, a board room, and ground floor retail. The building’s 10’-4” high ceilings and 60,000 square foot floor plates created a dark utilitarian interior which needed to be addressed. As part of a required seismic retrofit, shear walls were introduced at all perimeter walls to reinforce the structure without compromising the opportunity for open offices. Addressing both seismic and daylighting issues, a seven-story atrium was carved out the of the center of the building, both reducing the structural mass of the building and bringing much needed daylight to the building’s interior, decreasing energy use while creating a welcoming atmosphere. The atrium and interconnecting stairs also provide the opportunity for informal encounters between the various agency employees.
In order to add warmth to the concrete interior and reference local heritage, the design repurposed wood rails from the building and reclaimed piles unearthed from the Transbay Terminal for use as stair treads, countertops, and wall finishes. Bringing nature into the building was an important design consideration, notably a tree well located on the sixth floor, a garden patio on the eighth floor, and a landscaped garden outside the main public hearing room. The exterior interventions use a language of metal ‘portals’ with reclaimed wood facing that punctuate the robust concrete shell. These interventions were limited in scope, being strategically located to help maximize their impact so as to create a lively sidewalk experience.