San Francisco, California, USA
American Prize for Design laureate Norman Foster and San Francisco-based Heller Manus Architects designed this 61-storey, 910-foot residential tower along First Street providing 1.15 million square feet of office space and 770,000 square feet of residential units.
Developed by Oceanwide Holdings, the project includes 2.4 million square feet of new hotel, office, and residential spaces in this downtown neighborhood. It further restores and revitalizes two historic buildings on First Street.
Situated in the rapidly changing Transbay District in San Francisco, close to Market and the Financial District, the Oceanwide Center development comprises two high-rise towers, along with impressive new public spaces and important new pedestrian links through downtown designed by GGN Landscape Architects.
A particular challenge for the design team, the irregularly shaped site, also offers opportunities for innovation. The design creates a highly efficient and flexible off-center service core that allows for uninterrupted floorplates.
This created a truly accessible square at the ground floor of the First Street tower.
The tower has been lifted up to provide a five-storey tall ‘urban plaza,’ which is completely open to air and accessible throughout the day.
This will be the most significant publicly accessible private space in the city featuring a restaurant and viewing platform, events such as concerts and farmers’ markets, as well as works of art set in a lush landscape.
The tower takes on a crystalline form to articulate the façades on the skyline, and the floor plates are designed to allow tenants a high degree of flexibility.
The hotel, residences and offices have separate entrances at ground floor, but share a common basement, loading dock and parking garage.
Significant in urban and environmental terms, the development brings together places to live and work with the city’s most important new transport hub, further evolving a sustainable model of high density, mixed-use development that the practice has always promoted.
The development forms part of a rezoning plan, which was put in place to encourage density around the Salesforce Transit Center, and the project represents the last mixed-use development of this scale in the area.
The 605-foot hotel and residential tower reflects the scale of San Francisco’s existing tall buildings and has frontage on Mission Street, while the 850-foot residential and office tower rises above it as a symbol of this new vertical city quarter – it will be the tallest residential project on the West Coast.
The super-sized office floor plates are designed to allow tenants a high degree of flexibility, and their open layout is supported by an innovative orthogonal structural system developed for seismic stability.
The point where the towers touch the ground is as important as their presence on the skyline.
At ground level, the buildings are open, accessible and transparent – their base provides a new ‘urban room’ for the region, and the new pedestrian routes through the site will knit the new scheme with the urban grain of the city.
“I have always had a great fascination for San Francisco – a city with a youthful spirit has allowed it to constantly reinvent itself, yet retain a unique sense of urbanity,” states Foster.
“The Oceanwide Center encapsulates that essence – it is a pioneering example that combines spaces to live and work with a vibrant public realm in the heart of the city. The project now marks a major milestone with its groundbreaking, as the evolution of a sustainable model of high density, mixed-use development that I have always promoted.”
The project is expected to be completed this year.
Architects: Foster + Partners and Heller Manus Architects
Landscape Architects: GGN Landscape Architects
Client: Oceanwide Holdings Co., Ltd.