510 Townsend advances the urban character and vitality of the neighborhood while respecting its industrial beginnings—and invites the community to take a stroll through an enjoyable mid-block pedestrian path. The design attracted a notable technology company, which leased the whole building for its new headquarters.
Flanked by the Caltrain station and I-280 freeway off-ramp, 510 Townsend sits at a vital gateway to San Francisco. The area—which has long been populated by light industrial and warehouse buildings—is undergoing a transformation as the demand for office space with character grows alongside the city’s need for housing.
To respond to the area’s differing scales and contexts, we stepped the building back and integrated design elements inspired by neighboring historic buildings, such as the brick façade, black mullions, and small glass windowpanes. Windows are set in to create visual depth and provide solar shading.
We cut a through-block pedestrian path through the site to encourage the community to take a “short cut” and enjoy a landscaped mini-plaza with a significant public art installation.
The 20,000 sq ft roof deck features an urban garden and 360-degree skyline views. The sloped roof meets height requirements while creating a seventh-floor mezzanine.