INDIA BASIN TECHNOLOGY CENTER/ SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
CLIENT: Group I
SITE: located at a prominent gateway to the India Basin Industrial Area, north of Hunters Point in San Francisco
PROGRAM: mixed-use, four levels of telecom hotel and office above two levels of structured parking
SIZE: 230,000 ft2
COST: $27 million
COMPLETION: February 2001 (permit)
NOTES: type I construction, steel and concrete
PROJECT TEXT: The design shown is the result of a long community design review process; it intends to answer the community's concerns about scale and identity while at the same time express the nature of the program it serves. The apparent mass of building is reduced by a syncopated rhythm of setbacks along the primary (Third Street) elevation and a variation in skin treatment. These same measures also recall the jazz heritage of the community, along with a Kente cloth reference in the window pattern that refers as well to punch cards and bar codes. The plan is organized into a bow-tie partis, with the core located at the knot in the center, and running diagonally from the service entrance on Cargo Way to the human entrance on Third Street. In this way the core is also able to provide the extremely important security screening function so critical to such facilities. The office/retail areas make up the smaller lobe on the sensitive urban "gateway" corner while the sparsely populated telecom/server-collocation functions are confined to the larger lobe on the interior of the site.
This project was taken all the way through the construction drawing and building permit phases before it was killed by a whim of the local San Francisco Supervisor, when she changed her mind about the appropriate use for this industrial site and declared that it should be reserved for housing. Subsequently, schemes were prepared by J,P:A and others for housing on this site, but the Supervisor then decided that an industrial use was more appropriate after all. By then of course the dot-com bubble had burst and the original plans were no longer economically viable. The San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, which is nominally in control of the site and originally approved the schemes, is unwilling to assert its prerogatives in the situation. At present the site remains empty.