2020 IID 🏆 Awards

Winner | UBER Advanced Technologies Group R&D Center by Marcy Wong Donn Logan Architects

Uber Advanced Technology Group is a self-driving technologies engineering team whose R&D Center is housed within historic Pier-70. Four massive buildings, constructed between 1885-1937 for ship repair, now extend the site’s legacy of transportation endeavors into the 21stC.

Winner – International Interior Design Awards 2020
Firm | Marcy Wong Donn Logan Architects
Designer | Marcy Wong Donn Logan Architects

Project Category | Office Building Interior Built
ARCHITECT: Marcy Wong Donn Logan Architects 
CLIENT: UBER Advanced Technologies Group | Developer: Orton Development Inc. 
HISTORIC PRESERVATION: Preservation Architecture 
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Nabih Youssef Associates  
LIGHTING DESIGNER: Architecture & Light  
CONTRACTOR (Core & Shell): Nibbi Construction 
CONTRACTOR (Tenant Improvement): Novo Construction
MECHANICAL ENGINEER: Allied Heating & Air Conditioning
PLUMBING ENGINEER: Broadway Mechanical Contractors Inc
CODE CONSULTANT: The Fire Consultants Inc.
Country | United States
Photographer/Copyright | ©Marcy Wong Donn Logan Architects

©Marcy Wong Donn Logan Architects

Challenges of upgrading physically deteriorating and seismically deficient historic landmark edifices for modern use, are both technical and architectural. The building conditions were beyond decrepit, and the danger of earthquake-triggered collapse was so dire that the construction site included “safe areas” for workers to take emergency shelter at first tremor. It is to be expected that a 19thC building in San Francisco is not designed for earthquakes. However, the Pier-70 buildings’ vulnerability was exacerbated by years of vacancy during which vandalism, stripping of materials and artifacts, and weather intrusion occurred. An egregious example: water exposed masonry at Building-113 was deteriorated to the point of crumbling to powder. Elsewhere were areas where bricks needed to be replaced, and throughout, the brick needed to be re-pointed. Windows and skylights were in some cases repairable, and in other cases too deteriorated to fix. Replacement materials were meticulously specified to meet current code requirements and historic compatibility. The insertion of mezzanines, bridges and stairs preserves the historic perimeter brick walls and was integral to the seismic upgrading strategy.

A major challenge in high seismic zones is the structural deficiency of old buildings, especially at unreinforced masonry. The new retrofit system is designed to resist a 500-year-recurrence seismic event; steel columns and braces are strategically located along the existing building structure to minimize visual impact. New concrete mezzanines not only add leasable area, but also brace the historic brick walls at mid-height. Full height walls have upper portions sheathed in clear, multi wall poly-carbonate to maintain the building’s original site lines. Demising large industrial spaces with steel and glass walls preserve the spatial character of the cavernous industrial buildings for the client and its neighbors. Conference rooms and other programmed functions are free-standing elements within the large volumes. Lab, shop and kitchen spaces are located under mezzanines, allowing for sound isolation, temperature control and dust containment. The approach retains and repairs salvageable elements. If unsalvageable, the replacement element or material is specified to be historically compatible and environmentally benign. In addition, the conservation and environmental strategies include: maximize day-lighting through sky-lighting and windows, enhance natural ventilation; provide radiant heating; specify permeable concrete at exterior paving.