For the past century, the waterfront of San Francisco’s Mission Bay district has been defined more by heavy industry than public promenades. Now, a new future of outdoor urban life is set to rise along the bay.
Henning Larsen is designing a 13-story tower within the Mission Rock masterplan, a mixed-use development in San Francisco’s Mission Bay district that promises to form the nucleus of new residential, civic and commercial life along the formerly industrial waterfront. A public-private partnership between the San Francisco Giants, Tishman Speyer and the Port of San Francisco, Mission Bay will serve as an architectural and social centerpiece for the emerging Central Southern Waterfront neighborhood, featuring expansive public recreational areas and individual buildings designed by an architectural A-list of collaborators. Henning Larsen’s Building G, the northernmost building in the scheme, will offer expansive views onto a lush waterfront park, the San Francisco Bay and the Giants’ Oracle Park stadium, just across McCovey Cove.
“Mission Rock reimagines the historic architecture of the city’s industrial past, as well as California’s distinct geology – In particular, the basalt columns of the Devils Postpile National Monument. We’re using tactile, natural materials to offer an inviting, organic atmosphere, and deep facades to create a dynamic play of light and shadow,” says Louis Becker, Partner & Design Principal at Henning Larsen. “Our aim is to build a new framework for civic life in San Francisco while reflecting an authentic sense of California’s cultural and natural heritage.”
Henning Larsen’s Building G takes inspiration from the scale and particularities of San Francisco’s iconic, hilly urban landscape. The building breaks down the scale of a large commercial block into a ‘neighborhood’ scale, emphasizing an active ground-level podium, or mesa. The design features a faceted façade accented by lush green terraces that ascend from the building’s base, culminating in an expansive fifth-floor terrace that wraps around the tower. From afar, the building appears as a detailed rock face, a dynamic mass of stacked blocks and vertical sheers. At the intimate street-level scale, the building reveals intricate shadows and textured materiality, as well as varied storefront niches and public amenities such as benches and flowering planters. The top of the tower offers wind-sheltered, sunlit terraces with a commanding view of the downtown San Francisco skyline, Oracle Park, and the Bay Bridge stretching across the waters of San Francisco Bay.
The Mission Rock masterplan is a collaboration between internationally renowned names in contemporary architecture: Copenhagen-based Henning Larsen, renowned Dutch studio MVRDV, and American architects WORKac and Studio Gang.
Today, the Mission Bay district and its close neighbors are home to a number of tech offices, UCSF research hospitals, and two major league sports stadiums: The San Francisco Giants’ Oracle Park, and the newly opened Chase Center, home of the Golden State Warriors. Connected to downtown by the Muni Metro and neighboring the northern terminus of the CalTrain line, Mission Bay stands poised to grow as a new hub of urban life in San Francisco.
The Mission Rock development augments this growth by introducing approximately 1,200 residential units, 8 acres of parks and green spaces, 1.4 million square feet of new office space, and 200,000 square feet of retail and manufacturing space. 40 percent of Mission Rock’s residential units will be reserved for low- and moderate-income households.
Representing years of planning and community input between developers, city authorities and local voices, Mission Rock represents a concentrated architectural showpiece for San Francisco, a vibrant new neighborhood and an emerging regional destination. Groundbreaking on the first phase of the project is expected to take place in 2020.