Bay Area Architect Mark Cavagnero in Line for Global Projects
By John King
San Francisco Chronicle
5 January 2018
Photo courtesy of Michael Macor
Mark Cavagnero Associates Architects, founded by CED alumnus Mark Cavagnero (M.Arch ‘83), has been selected by the State Department as one of 16 preferred architecture firms for work abroad, including the creation of new embassies and the renovation of military base structures.
“It can be anything and everything the State Department does overseas,” said Cavagnero, who established the firm in 1988. “We really didn’t think we’d made the cut.”
Cavagnero is one of the Bay Area’s most acclaimed architects and is best-known for local projects, such as SFJazz Center and the Oakland Museum of California makeover. Mark Cavagnero Associates Architects is focused on “creating tangible spaces that encourage the ephemeral aspects of human interactions.” The firm’s design approach has been lauded with more than 100 awards from international, national, state, and local organizations.
In response to the State Department’s request for submissions, 136 firms responded. The winners vary stylistically from Morphosis, the designer of the San Francisco Federal Building, to Robert A.M. Stern Architects, whose Gothic-themed dormitories at Yale University opened last fall. Also selected are Diller Scofidio + Renfro, architect of the Berkeley Art Museum, and SHoP, a New York firm that designed the Uber headquarters rising in Mission Bay.
Once selected, each firm will enter a process of security reviews for full clearance, which can take months. Once completed, the firms in the pool are on call until projects are assigned, for a period of five year.
In the meantime, Mark Cavagnero Associates Architects has several projects in the works, including a chapel for St. Mary’s College High School in Albany, California that opens this winter and the Weill Institute for Neurosciences that recently broke ground in Mission Bay.
Cavagnero will also tackle his first housing complex, a 12-story building for the San Francisco Conservatory of Music to be located half a block south of City Hall on Van Ness Avenue. The state-of-the-art complex will house 113 apartments, three student recital halls and 27 low-income units to replace those now on the site.