SAN FRANCISCO, CA
5000 SQUARE FEET
DESIGN PRINCIPAL AT SMWM
455 Market Street is a commercial office building that serves as the regional headquarters of an international real estate investment firm in downtown San Francisco. The original building entry and lobby were tucked away at the end of a long exterior corridor, diluting the potential advantages of a Market Street address. Our challenge was to transform this Class B, nondescript, dimly lit, uninviting building into a fully-leased vibrant Class A office by increasing its visibility, activity, and desirability in the downtown commercial market sector.
The original lobby was designed with cold, dark, reflective surfaces, an appropriate style at the time of conception but one that is now outdated and obscured the lobby from passersby on Market Street. Our experience working with other public buildings and settings armed us with an expertise and sensitivity to the kinds of materials that would result in a warmer, lighter appearance, improving visibility from a distance and inviting people inside for a moment of contemplation. The lobby now glows with vast expanses of wood, cream-colored stone, contemporary lighting details, and frosted mirrored glass panels. Together, these materials provide a sense of warmth, elegance, and openness. We implemented in the design a new circulating art program, creating a buzz in the market at regular intervals during opening events.
The exterior, formerly dominated by lifeless stone pillars with the sole purpose of acting as support for the building, was accented with Sierra black granite walls and punctuated with natural wooden benches which serve as hubs for social interaction and activity. These new outdoor seating areas help physically and visually connect the building and new lobby to Market Street. The removal of outdated planters between the columns created new access to a spacious, attractive plaza for pedestrian movement and social interactions. This change resulted in increased visibility and potential for more viable and attractive ground floor retail spaces within the exterior corridor.
455 Market Street is now a highly desirable commercial address, widely admired as the backdrop for a rotating art exhibit and is certified LEED Gold level by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 2014. The transformation propelled 455 Market Street to a fully-leased A class building that maximizes the value of its prestigious Market Street address.