Central + Wolfe is a curved, clover-shaped campus inspired by the biological structure of the buttercup.
Biophilic design is taken to a new level at Central + Wolfe designed by HOK, where the office campus not only features green space, green walls and vast expanses of windows, yet actually resembles a buttercup in shape, engineered to reflect the biological properties of the common little plant that gives you the small pleasure of a yellow chin.
“The development team and land owner (Landbank), had held the land in their family for generations,” explains Paul Woolford, design principal at HOK’s San Francisco office and architect of the Central + Wolfe campus. “It was originally orchards, then it became a series of single story, tilt-up concrete panel buildings where computer chip fabrication and design occurred. That morphed into new uses of mostly technology companies and those who support them.”
Inspired by a simple little flower, originality and sustainability went hand-in hand: HOK used a biomimicry strategy based on the structure of the buttercup–its reflective qualities, ability to track the sun and to collect solar energy. The team examined the three layers of the outer epidermis of the petal, that each work together to create the reflection of the yellow colour on an external surface.
The building’s concrete floor slabs extend out beyond the boundary of the plan to create built-in sunshades to protect the glazing: ‘The multilayered light shelves–inspired by the layered petals of a buttercup–both shade the building interior from heat gain and glare, and assist deeper penetration of daylight into the workplace,’ says Sean Quinn, performance and sustainable design director at HOK’s San Francisco office of the design.