Mission Bay Block 27 Parking Structure / WRNS Studio

© Tim Griffith

Architects: WRNS Studio
Location: San Francisco, CA,
Project Team: Sam Nunes, Bryan Shiles, Russell Sherman
Project Area: 469,767 sq ft
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Tim Griffith Photography

east elevation
south elevation

Located within San Francisco’s Mission Bay redevelopment zone, this new seven story elevated parking structure serves adjacent laboratories and offices with 1,420 spaces. The north and east façades, which border a public plaza, are clad in perforated aluminum panels whose pixelation evokes ’s redwood forests and nearby foliage. Subtle folds in the panels further disrupt the monolithic surface and engage the pedestrian scale of the plaza below. The south façade, adjacent to a heavily trafficked street, incorporates a steeply canted plaster wall that dramatically registers sunlight and shadow over the course of the day. A recessed ground level along the south and east elevations provides a covered walkway for pedestrians, and lightens the building’s mass by lending the façades the appearance of hovering above the ground.

© Tim Griffith
© Tim Griffith

The primary pedestrian access point is located at the building’s northeast corner, where an upper-level, multi-story platform provides views of the surrounding parks. This volume employs the same formal language as the plaster façade to the south, contrasting with the light aluminum panels that surround it to create a distinctive presence when viewed from the public areas below.

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Cite: "Mission Bay Block 27 Parking Structure / WRNS Studio" 15 Nov 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 Aug 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=88826>

13 comments

  1. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    The facades are beautiful but they establish no relationship with the function inside (maybe with the exception of the aluminum panels). At first glance, I thought I was looking at an apartment building! It seems the designer decided to just do it for the sake of looking cool.
    (Plus, it’s too obvious of a rip off from m+t’s Leon Auditorium)

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      totally agree with GC here….
      these designers should surely look at herzong and de meuron’s parking structure in miami, on how to respond to the context and function…to be honest..

    • Thumb up Thumb down +4

      why MUST a parking structure respond to function? the car has had such an overwhelmingly negative impact on how settlements look and function… should we really celebrate that? come on guys, it’s not 1920 anymore.

      • Thumb up Thumb down +2

        TRUE that. If we really wanted to design a parking garage for function, we’d design a 6-story car wash and call ourselves the architects. If I were given a massive budget to design a parking building, why wouldn’t I make it look cool?

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Mansilla & Tunon turned the Ronchamp move inside out, which is a nice way to use another designer’s idea. They added a layer of cleverness.

    WRNS, however, mindlessly copied another architect’s design while adding nothing to it. It’s like they hit ctrl C in Leon and ctrl V in SF.

    I don’t think there’s necessarily anything ethically wrong with this, but it does brand WRNS as a lame no-talent firm.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    Mansilla + Tunon certainly looked to Ronchamp for inspiration, but used it as such to create something new, fresh, relevant, and ultimately different (scale and orientation for example to create oculi onto the city). The geometry, while seemingly random as in Ronchamp, is based on a very ordered mathematical grid. In this way,the Leon project is highly innovative and original. The WRNS project, however, copies Leon blatantly in a formal way but misses completely all of those nuances that make the Mansilla + Tunon project so noteworthy. Shameful plagiarism at this scale is rare and sad, but anyone with a discerning eye can tell the difference.

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