Within an existing 1940s warehouse in San Francisco's Dogpatch neighborhood, IwamotoScott designed this 36000sf new headquarters for cutting edge San Francisco interactive and immersive media company, Obscura Digital. The building also houses IwamotoScott Architecture's new office. Strict schedule and budget constraints forced an inventiveness with standard commercial office construction. A major move was to cut out three structural bays on the Main Level at the center of the building, to give a high bay space to the heart of Obscura's operations: the workshop/showroom. This double height space allows the accommodation of one their trademark geodesic hemispherical projection theaters. Overlooking this new double height space which connects the Lower and Main Levels is the main conference room, and both translucent-walled and open office areas. The interior of the conference room is lined in CNC-milled black bamboo panels. Supplementing the Main Level and Lower Level program, the Upper (third) Level houses creative production departments. IwamotoScott's offices are situated on the Main Level, now further defined by a recently completed digitally-fabricated bookcase screen wall. At the roof is a roof terrace overlooking the city and San Francisco Bay.Light gauge metal studs form twisting walls based on simple ruled surface geometries. This occurs primarily at the main enclosed offices, clad in twin wall polycarbonate so as to allow them to borrow light from the main space. The side of the conference room also deploys this twisting geometry, adapting to an existing seismic brace, and allowing the main communication stair to slip past to the Lower Level workshop/showroom. Porous railings define the edges of this space, designed so as to re-purpose aluminum grating saved from former Upper Level mezzanine railings.
Obscura Digital HQ received the World's Coolest Office 2011 award from Architizer, Inc. and Autodesk, and an AIA SF Honor Award.