Market Square | RMW Architecture & Interiors, Page & Turnbull, and BCV Architects
14 February 2014
Image: Bruce Damonte
Through attracting Twitter, upscale retail and a food emporium as tenants, a renovated Art Deco building in Mid-Market is rekindling street life and transforming an area of San Francisco plagued by urban desolation.
Mid-Market, a mile-long stretch of Market Street by San Francisco’s Civic Center and downtown shopping center, was once a thriving theater district in the early 20th century but fell into a decades-long state of abandonment following a period of postwar disinvestment, with a storefront vacancy rate around 30 percent in 2011.
In June 2012, Twitter leased three floors in a former wholesale furniture store at 1355 Market, housed in an L-shaped block-long Art Deco complex. The 11-story building proudly displays a monumental terra-cotta façade with Mayan motifs, and Twitter enlisted Lundberg Design and Interior Architects to design its new headquarters in the grand concrete structure. The building, now called Market Square, was renovated by RMW Architecture & Interiors, with Page & Turnbull serving as the historic-preservation architects.
A year and a half later, Market Square’s remaining office suites are mostly rented out, and an upscale eatery and market are scheduled to move into the ground level. In April, RMW will finish reskinning the precast-concrete-clad 1975 building addition in glass, and CMG Landscape Architecture will finish the conversion of a former alley separating the two buildings into a pocket park called the Commons. Baldauf Catton von Eckartsberg Architects (BCV) was hired to transform, with RMW, the ground floor of the concrete building into a soaring, wood-paneled market hall.
The newly-renovated Market Square has drawn rising tech companies to the urban location, and 5,000 apartments in new towers are either approved or under construction, according to the city's Office for Economic and Workforce Development. The architects envision the completed Market Square as a mixed-use tech campus that will rekindle street life along Mid-Market through a mix of technology, housing, food, and culture.