IwamotoScott Architecture, the San Francisco-based firm led by Professor of Architecture Lisa Iwamoto and Joseph Esherick Visiting Professor of Practice Craig Scott, has been awarded the 2017 AIA National Award for Interior Architecture for its design of the Pinterest headquarters in San Francisco’s SOMA district.
Following the clean and simple aesthetic ideals of the client’s recently relaunched web platform, the new headquarters is located in a four-story concrete former John Deere factory. Organized around a large central atrium and stair, the design includes a large town hall and dining space on the ground floor, open work space on the upper three floors, meeting rooms, lounge spaces, a maker lab, coffee bar and design studio.
To allow for visibility throughout all four floors, the existing atrium was extended to the ground floor to create a central void. On the workspace levels, the atrium is encircled with primary circulation avenues with banks of workstations along the perimeter to take full advantage of natural light.
The stair—affectionately referred to as the “Knitting Stair”—is wrapped in perforated steel and intersects itself at the midpoint. IwamotoScott’s design team implemented twin-walled perforated metal surfaces in different densities, creating a subtle moire pattern and interplay between natural light flooding a large skylight and the building’s LED lighting. The combination of the design and selected materials produces an effect akin to an ever-changing glowing heart at the center of the headquarters.
At the front of the building, a waffled plywood ceiling functions as a threshold between the city and the building’s interior. Occupying one entire bay of the building, the ceiling canopies the lobby and reception areas, which Pinterest uses most when interacting with the public.
As a technology company, Pinterest is rapidly expanding, and this building is its fourth in the neighborhood. IwamotoScott was able to help the company achieve its vision of creating a true urban campus that is fully integrated with the community that surrounds it.