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28 May 2015

HOK’s San Francisco Public Safety Building Blends Security Needs with Design

This new city and county public safety building in San Francisco’s Mission Bay Redevelopment Area will house the police administrative headquarters, a relocated district police station, a new district fire station and fleet vehicle parking.

The San Francisco Chronicle’s John King describes the new San Francisco Public Safety Building as “an architectural machine of carefully balanced parts.”

“The compound sets two five-story blocks of glass on top of a thick concrete podium that extends around a small brick fire station from 1928. Each block is partly wrapped in a loose-fitting gray zinc screen that leaves them open on the east and west but cloaked on the north and south. The interlocked parts form a meticulous whole, civic and strong.”

“The 264,000-square-foot structure places the new headquarters for the San Francisco Police Department above district police and fire stations and a 240-car parking garage. One wing includes the city’s emergency operations center, a monitor-filled space where police keep track as needed of everything from civic parades to street riots.”

San Francisco Public Safety Building Architects - HOK / Mark Cavagnero Associates“The design is a joint effort by the international firm HOK and Mark Cavagnero Associates, a local firm known for the focused, finely detailed modernism of such buildings as SFJazz Center. In Mission Bay along Third Street this translates to the calibrated poise of a glass grid atop an 18-foot-high podium, with thin lines of white and gray opaque glass between the large panes that let in light.”

“At the corner of Third and China Basin streets, environmental artist Paul Kos has fashioned a plaza that manages to be profound and postage-size at once. The restored firehouse has space for community meetings, another effort to make at least one corner of the complex truly inviting to the public.”

“‘We took the opportunity to use the firehouse as part of the civic experience,’ said Paul Woolford, the design principal at HOK’s San Francisco office. Overall, Woolford described the goal as ‘a public safety building that would be both public and safe.’”

“Appreciate the Public Safety Building for what it is on the outside: an architectural machine of carefully balanced parts.”

San Francisco Chronicle