543 Howard Street

San Francisco, CA
Description Credits/Info Recognition

In 2005 BAR was faced with the need to create a new office space to accommodate our growing staff in San Francisco. The challenge was to create a space that served the functional requirements of a highly interactive office while establishing an aesthetic reflective of the diversity of its clientele. Designed to accommodate changing technologies, the open floor plan provides flexibility for project demands and provides a variety of conference rooms and meeting areas. The first floor, mezzanine and second floor are linked by a dramatic central staircase that provides a connection between levels and opportunities for chance interaction. The lobby includes an elegant but informal living room with modern furnishings, light fixtures and floor to ceiling windows. Exposed structural steel supports, concrete columns, and plumbing and ventilation systems express the building's unique origin.

The office also reflects BAR's commitment to sustainability. Built in 1924, many of the building's original materials such as the reinforced-concrete structure, heavy-timber framing and steel and wood-sash windows were restored and reused. Many aspects of the office were sustainably designed including extensive use of reclaimed materials, dramatic wood accent walls salvaged from first-growth fir timbers and floor-to-ceiling operable windows that maximize both natural light and fresh air intake. The building is LEED Certified.

Other sustainable finishes included reclaimed walnut floor and stairs with non-toxic wax finish and low VOC paints and carpet with high recycled content. These renewable materials preserve the building's unique character and also eliminate many of the toxins found in typical office building construction. During the interior remodel, 75 percent of construction waste was recycled. All sustainable components were key to BAR becoming one of the City of San Francisco’s first certified sustainable architecture firms.