San Franscisco Federal Building – Thom Mayne

San Franscisco Federal Building - Thom Mayne

Created as a reaction to “atrocious architecture routinely commissioned for government offices,” the San Francisco Federal building stands 18-stories tall as a unique divider between the civic center and financial district. The building was finished in the year 2007, and it was designed by Thom Mayne of Morphosis, an LA-based firm founded by Mayne. In his design, Mayne used both stainless steel and green glass façades to highlight the contrast between the dense towers of the city in the north and the more rugged industrial buildings to the south. Integrated canopies and screens allow the building to change appearance through the day, and give it a sense of transparency. In an effort to continue that sense of openness, there are several areas of the screen that open and close to regulate light. Mayne also tried to create as much public space as possible, using the lobby to house a gym, meeting rooms, and day care center. To further encourage public interaction, there is a large urban park and plaza on the south side of the building that also doubles as office space. Like all of Mayne’s designs, the Federal Building is sustainable, using features such as the natural ventilation for all office spaces, energy efficient elevators, no air conditioning on the upper 13 floors, sensor controlled natural lighting and other shading devices. Thom Mayne always tries to integrate new ways of energy saving design into his buildings, that defy what is expected and don’t obviously advertise the fact that they are sustainable. 

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