Few modern office buildings have been constructed in the city’s South End Historic District, the former warehouse area immediately south of the Bay Bridge. But San Francisco–based SKS Partners and Mitsui Fudosan purchased a rectangular site there, located at the southern edge of Rincon Hill. Brannan is a busy east-west street with a number of historic office and residential loft buildings; De Boom is a pedestrian-oriented alley at a higher elevation, close to South Park. SKS and Mitsui Fudosan asked Pfau Long Architecture to design a contemporary building that would appeal to single or multiple tech tenants. This meant a sensitive intervention that would work with the older brick buildings nearby but also be as flexible as possible for unknown users.
We decided to reflect the topography of the hill in the design and weave a circulation system that permitted entrances on both streets. What would be cooler than an address of One De Boom? The main entrance on Brannan will have a staffed reception lobby, while the De Boom entrance will be for employees and have its own lobby, which will help further activate this wonderfully scaled alley.