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Urban Frames

Form4 Architecture

Shared By

August King

Project Name

Urban Frames

Project Status

Concept Proposal


56,628 sq. feet


  • Robert J. Giannini
  • John Marx, AIA

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Project Description

This is one of twelve American projects on the 2016 World Architecture Festival shortlist.


Form4 Architecture designed Urban Frames, a LEED Gold-aimed, Silicon Valley residential and office space, to instill a distinct character in an area globally known as the epicenter of the tech industry. Intended to benefit both on-site users and the surrounding community with a visually appealing and sustainable design, this mixed-use architectural ensemble invites pedestrians and tenants alike to gather, share, retreat, entertain, and work.

The stacking of the cubic “frames” allows individuality to coexist with the multiplicity of the design. The structures occupy a quarter of a city block on Palo Alto’s main corridor and articulate a pronounced skyline against the horizon. Passersby are visually struck by an array of elegant, white cubic frames resting on a travertine podium and gently cantilevering from the edge. The two buildings are separated into designated zones for residential and office space, and were designed with an emphasis on energy efficiency. Among the many sustainable features incorporated into the design are electric vehicle charging stations, low-flow plumbing fixtures, a drought-resistant landscape, bike parking stations, and abundant natural light to reduce the need for energy consumption. Landscaped park space and pedestrian walkways between zones allow for chance encounters and socializing.

The two buildings sit above two levels of below-grade parking, and both complement and contrast one another. The office spaces were designed to be both warm and contemporary, with state-of-the-art HVAC, electrical, and security systems that appeal to a wide base of tech and venture capital firms typical to the area. The offices occupy three floors, and are flexible for further division depending on future market conditions. The residential building consists of a mix of two- and three-bedroom units, featuring open floor plans and overhanging balconies that invite tenants outdoors. Each unit retains a distinct and recognizable presence while remaining fully integrated into the overall design.
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