Thursday, December 9, 2010
Even. San Francisco Federal Building
The new San Francisco Federal Building is one of the most
exciting structures that has been built in San Francisco in
recent years. A dramatic and futuristic image conceals an
enormous complexity of sustainable design principles that
give form, up to the last detail, to this remarkable building.
The building occupies a large lot at the intersection of
Seventh and Mission Streets and is well set back in order
to allow the development of a large open public plaza.
Three structures define the boundaries of this new public
space: a slender 18-story tower running NE-SW, a
perpendicular 4-story annex that is linked to the local
existing neighborhood scale, and finally a free standing
cafeteria pavilion that is located close to the corner of both
streets. Besides the cafeteria, a number of public facilities
are housed within the tower building’s lower level including
a conference center, a fitness center, and a day care center
open to local residents as well as employees.
With this oasis-like great public space in a neighborhood
scale and the dramatic image of the big tower in a urban
scale that is very visible from the freeway that connect
with the Bay Bridge, the project has became a new urban
landmark. Together with this accomplished design
objective, much more has been written about the other
two primary project strategies: sustainable building design
strong principles and a new definition of the culture of the
workplace. The building design and orientation allow
maximum natural airflow for cooling and ventilation and
include natural daylight for the big majority of the office
interiors, maximizing energy efficiency.
A smart decision in this context is the fact that the building
is fully air conditioned in the five lower levels where the
highest concentration of people and equipment are located.
Above these levels a sophisticated window system
technology, part of the BAS or Building Automated System,
allows the building to breathe by opening and closing
windows automatically so natural fresh air can be let in.
Consistently with this automated technology other design
decisions as sunscreen were developed as part of the SE
elevation material or translucent sunshades into the NW
façade that break the negative impact of low sun radiation.
As far as the redefinition of the culture of
the workplace some strategies used are
-New horizontal and vertical circulation
paths give employees opportunities for
chance meetings; -A radically different
layout of the typical office space
arrangement with open work areas at
the building perimeter and private office
and conference spaces at central cores
producing more “democratic” working
-Skip stop elevators that stop every
third floor and along with the opening
to spacious three-story high lobbies
promote exercise through use of central
-The sky garden located at 11th, 12th
and 13th floors with spectacular views
-Monumental scale lobby at street
level provides a great setting for
informal meetings and social interaction.
Much of the research done for this
building was further developed by
Morphosis in their Caltran District 7
Headquarters in Los Angeles.