lisa-marie mueller

lisa-marie mueller

Pier 70 Building Design

revitalizing a community through history and innovation

Architectural Design Studio (San Francisco Urban Off Campus Study Program) | Spring 2016 | Professor Tom Jones
Site: San Francisco, CA


Through my project, I connected the historical features of the site with contemporary building methods. I focused on creating a sustainable and welcoming community with three major open spaces for everyone to enjoy. Each area of open space has a different character. The Courtyard is active with space to work out, play, as well as cool down. Vegetation separates the active portions from the front door of the town homes. The Michigan Walkway is flexible, allowing the artisans in the live-work units to sell their merchandise while also allowing enough room to host a farmer’s market or maker-fair. The Plaza is calm with businesses flowing out onto the terracing platforms. It also connects Michigan and Illinois Street to transition the 20 foot elevation difference.

When designing the double-loaded corridor building, I researched ways to create the corridor while still incorporating natural light and stack ventilation. In the heating-dominated climate of San Francisco, natural ventilation can eliminate the need for air conditioning. To comply with codes, only two stories are connected before a fire-rated skylight is placed. In summer, the skylights can remain open so that when residents open their clerestory windows on the corridor side and windows on the street side, they can take advantage of stack ventilation. The skylights are opened with magnetic hold-open hardware like fire doors so that in an emergency, they close. In addition to light from the skylights above, light reaches the lower levels from the side at the double height community areas which are thoughtfully placed throughout the project. In winter, the passive heat gain at the community spaces reduces the heating load. The result is a wider corridor with lounge spaces and natural light coming together to create a pleasant place to live.

The topography of the site creates a 20 foot elevation separation between Illinois Street on the West and the much lower Michigan Street on the East. This allows for the creation of some unique open spaces. I created a cantilevered walkway over Michigan street which allows for an extended pedestrian experience. I utilized a plaza on the north to transition the drastic elevation change through terraces.