Architects: Marcy Wong Donn Logan Architects
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Owner: Sharon Ranals
Structural Engineer: Umerani Associates
General Contractor: RGM & Associates
Landscape Architects: Gates & Associates
Project Area: 595 sqm
Budget: $5.3 M
Project Year: 2008
Photographs: Billy Hustace & Sharon Risedorph
Orange Memorial Park is the most important public recreation venue for the citizens of South San Francisco, and is the context for the new 6,400 sq. ft. recreation building which is encircled by soccer, basketball, picnic and other outdoor amenities. The facility’s function is to serve cultural, recreational, celebratory, and educational activities. But more importantly, the recreation building is conceived as a pavilion in a park and an icon for the community. Toward that goal, the use of natural materials that are sustainable, have a sense of quality and longevity, are complementary to each other and to the park context, and that are attractive, was of fundamental importance to the designers and the client. For that reason, wood – in particular Cedar – and natural basalt stone are two of the most defining materials in the building’s architectural palette.
A juxtaposition of two distinct rectangular masses was created – one large, light and largely transparent, housing the Activity Pavilion, with large areas of glass in concert with red and yellow cedar, and another mass that is by contrast a smaller, nearly solid box of basalt stone. Western Red Cedar wood grilles form a rain screen of longevity and beauty for the walls, while evoking the sense of lightness, transparency and horizontality. The interior use of cedar specifically, in the Activity Pavilion creates a dynamic and inviting environment for a central meeting place for the community. Due to the strong though simple geometric forms, the importance of Western Red Cedar in the design idea is especially critical.
Moreover, the horizontality of the building is accentuated by the roof of the Pavilion whose paired glu-lam wood trusses, span the 60‘ room; these trusses cantilever beyond the enclosed footprint to provide covered outdoor patio areas and the truss top chord and sunshade framing extend yet farther beyond. As a consequence, the new building as a prominent gesture provides identity and sense of place for the 23-acre park from without, in a setting which overlooks the landscape from within.
The designers wanted the environmental features of the project to lend strong architectural expression to the building. Most important in this regard are the siting of the project with regard to solar orientation, the deep overhangs and sunshades, and the abundant sun-protected fenestration that provided natural day-lighting and views.
As a result of the building’s siting, architectural design, lighting design and mechanical engineering, this project’s energy performance is 15.2% better than what is mandated by California’s stringent energy efficiency code standard. This qualified the city as the owner to receive a monthly incentive of thousands of dollars from PG & E. The project’s site energy use intensity (calculated using EPA’s Energy Star Target Finder tool) is 55.9 kBtu/Sf.Ft./Yr. Comparing to the national average of 65 kBtu/Sf.Ft./Yr for “Public Assembly – Recreation” use, the percentage of energy reduction is 14%. The Activity Pavilion is served by four, high efficiency roof top AC units, with air side economizers and CO2 sensors for improved indoor air quality. A modular approach allows selective use of units to match center program needs. Fabric ductwork “socks” (where cheerful yellow/orange complements the interior wood) distributes air with continuous perforated air slots providing a draft free airflow environment. Ductless split systems serve each office and provide control by individual occupants.
Low-emitting materials – paints, coatings, adhesives, and sealants with low VOC, and plywood and fiberboard with no added formaldehyde – minimize indoor air contaminants. The polished concrete slab serves as the finished floor surface, thus reducing material use, and resulting in a floor that is highly durable, easy to maintain, and of VOC-free emissions. A high percentage of fly-ash is specified for the foundation concrete; other material choices with high recycled content include recycled glass countertops and aluminum. The buildings were sited to preserve an existing Magnolia tree grove. The roof has a cool coating to reduce the heat island effect. Bio-swales treat run-off from the patios and ball courts.