IwamotoScott were approached with the challenge of re-positioning of 160 Spear Street, including the public lobby, public plaza and two entrances. The existing building is a commercial highrise from the 1980s that houses UC Extension on upper floors, in Downtown San Francisco. The building has a through-block lobby connecting Main Street to the south and Spear Street to the north via a landscaped plaza that is one of the city's POPOS spaces (Privately Owned Public Outdoor Space). Our design re-shapes and re-clads the existing lobby, transforming the dark and dated pink granite walls, low stepped ceiling and incidental reception desk into a more vibrant, flowing space. A mural artist created site-specific artwork for the white walls.
The new design elements we developed include a series of wood panelled niches, one of which houses a welcoming new reception desk, and a series of faceted ceiling planes with integrated LED lighting. The new configuration of the lobby lines the space to form a passage with an hourglass shape that tapers inwardly from the two entrances facing Main Street and the plaza at Spear Street toward the central reception desk and elevator lobby.
The new ceiling planes develop a directionality that presents two different lighting aspects along the planes' edges, depending which direction one is moving through the space. The polished white concrete floor has stainless expansion strips mirroring the ceiling geometry. A new white metal entrance canopy on Main Street restates on the exterior the faceted geometry of the lobby interior.