Swiss House Mission Street

Swiss House Mission Street will be the new cultural and administrative hub for four Swiss tenants, replacing its current location at Pier 17. Built in 1923 by G. C. Brimble, 1535 Mission Street is a through-lot, two-story industrial building originally constructed for the Herbst Brothers for their hardware store and warehouse. As a designated historic building, the RFP called for innovative and sustainable strategies to expand the existing wood and masonry building into a flexible workplace and event space.

Working with an existing structure requires that we not only understand the existing characteristics but that we see their potentials and pitfalls in extending a second life. While preserving as much as possible is a goal, there is also the inevitable contradiction that preserving often comes with limitations to the standards and expectations of a modern workplace. Our proposal introduces three semi-outdoor spaces that mediate the new functions to its context and offer green spaces of relief in the urban setting. The careful excavation for these green spaces enables greater access to natural daylight and ventilation at the heart of the building.

We propose inserting two new CLT walls that run parallel to the existing unreinforced masonry walls, bracing them along their length. This in-between space becomes a consolidated infrastructural core to house vertical circulation, services, and other utilities. The CLT structural walls creates column free open spaces on the top floors, enabling a multitude of programming options. Rationality and experience are part and parcel of an integrated spatial concept.

Location: San Francisco, CA
Client: Federal Office for Buildings and Logistics FOBL
Tenants: Swissnex, Consulate General, Switzerland Global Enterprise, and Switzerland Tourism
Year: 2022
Type: Office
Size: 25,000 sf
Status: RFP 2nd Place

Team: Karamuk Kuo (Lead Design Consultant), Figure (Local Executive Architect), Guy Nordenson & Associates (Structural Engineer), Amit Wadhwa & Associates (MEP Engineer), HLB Lighting Design (Lighting Designer), Transsolar (Climate & Sustainability Engineer), Loescher Meachem Architects (Technical Consultant)