This project was selected as a winner in AIA's 2023 Architecture Awards.
“Adaptive reuse” hardly seems an adequate phrase to describe Gensler’s radical reinvention of 633 Folsom in San Francisco. Where the office building that formerly claimed that address was short, stout, and largely covered in gloomy, tinted glazing, the tower that now stands at the corner of Hawthorne Street is tall and sleek, wrapped in an envelope of clear glass fitted with fin-like shades that reduce solar load and decrease energy consumption.
The designers at the locally headquartered firm began their transformation by increasing the building’s height by a full five stories; the older volume operates as a structural base, with its original massing still peeking out from the high-rise’s eastern flank, unrecognizable now in its sharp contemporary exterior. For all the dramatic changes to the outside of the building, the renovated interior is no less remarkable, with increased sunlight and views making for a more comfortable and attractive work environment. Complemented by a welcoming public landscape at street level, the project represents a promising model for the post-pandemic office.
Project: 633 Folsom, San Francisco
Owner: The Swig Company
Architect: Gensler, San Francisco
Sustainability Consultant: Atelier 10
Façade Consultant: Wiss Janny Elstner
Engineer - Civil: BKF
Engineer - MEP: Meyers+
Engineer - Structural: Tipping Structural Engineers
General Contractor: Plant Construction
Landscape Architect: Mantle Landscape
This article first appeared in the May/June 2023 issue of ARCHITECT.