2017 AIA Awards – Interior Architecture
Following the clean and simple aesthetic ideals of the client’s recently relaunched web platform, the new headquarters is located in a four-story concrete former John Deere factory in San Francisco’s SOMA district.
Organized around a large central atrium and stair, the program includes a large town hall and dining space on the ground floor, plentiful open workspace on the upper three floors, meeting rooms, lounge spaces, a maker lab, coffee bar, and design studio. To allow for glimpses of all four floors, the existing atrium was extended to the ground floor to create a central void. On the workspace levels, the atrium is encircled with primary circulation avenues, with banks of workstations along the perimeter to take full advantage of natural light.
The stair—affectionately referred to as the “Knitting Stair”—is wrapped in perforated steel and intersects itself at the midpoint. The design team implemented twin-walled perforated metal surfaces in different densities, creating a subtle moire pattern and interplay between natural light flooding a large skylight and the building’s LED lighting. The combination of the design and selected materials produces an effect akin to an ever-changing glowing heart at the center of the headquarters.
At the front of the building, a waffled plywood ceiling functions as a threshold between the city and the building’s interior. Occupying one entire bay of the building, the ceiling canopies the lobby and reception areas, which the company uses most when interacting with the public.
As a technology company, the client is rapidly expanding, and this building is its fourth in the neighborhood. The architects were able to help the company achieve its vision of creating a true urban campus that is fully integrated with the community that surrounds it.