Background: The post-and-beam structure of a Historic (and previously derelict) turn-of-the-century industrial building serves as a framework for a new building envelope and interior, providing new space for working and eating in San Francisco’s SOMA district. Solar power, natural ventilation and a unique double-skin façade contribute to the sustainability of this LEED Gold project.
355 Eleventh is the first project to rise through San Francisco’s new priority permitting process for green buildings, in which projects seeking Gold-level LEED certification are given front-of-the-line privileges for building permit application review. As a result, the project has become San Francisco’s first Gold-level LEED-NC building.
Completed in September 2008, this 14,000 sqft mixed-use project was developed and constructed by the building’s primary occupant, a general contractor specializing in Green construction. The owner & general contractor occupies the entire second floor (administration & offices). The third floor is leased to design professionals. A restaurant & bar will occupy the first floor and exterior courtyard.
Design: Originally a warehouse, the Historic structure’s new role as a multi-tenant workspace invoked a new set of constraints for the building envelope and interior:
NEW OPENINGS - A collection of metal and glass apertures, sensitively inserted into the original structural frame, provide the requisite functions of entry, exit, light and view necessary for the building’s new mixed-use program. The largest of these apertures unfolds within the interior to become a bridge traversing the two-story lobby, finally terminating as a reception desk for the second floor offices.
NEW SKIN - Ample light and air was required for the building’s new office use, however San Francisco’s Planning Department placed strict limitations on the introduction of new fenestration due of the building’s Historic status (National Register of Historic Places). Additionally, the structure’s original corrugated siding was required to be replaced “in-kind” in order to preserve the industrial character of the building.
The architectural solution to these conflicting requirements was to perforate the building’s new corrugated skin with fields of small holes, allowing light and air to pass through new operable windows hidden behind. The perforated outer skin mitigates solar heat gain while enabling cross-ventilation of the interior. This rudimentary double-skin façade becomes a screen for sunlight and air, allowing the stoic, industrial character of the original building to be maintained without the visual introduction of new fenestration.
NEW SPACE - An existing parking lot on the site has been transformed into a street-front outdoor dining courtyard, activating the street and bringing the building’s open space back into the public realm.
PRESERVATION - Clearly registering the rhythm of the Historic post-and-beam structure, the original fenestration of the building’s north façade was preserved and refurbished. The existing timber and concrete frame was carefully sandblasted to reveal the warmth and texture of the original materials. As day turns to evening, the perforations in building’s new skin gradually reveal the historic character of the timber frame within.
FENCE – The new fence surrounding the dining patio on 11th Street is a patterned bar-relief of wood panels, recessed light pockets, and view slots. The sectional profile of each light pocket reflects light from a single, hidden fixture toward both sides of the fence, thus maximizing the efficiency – and phenomenal effect – of each bulb. The dark color of the fence serves as a muted backdrop for the vivid hues of the surrounding plantings.