The Federal Building in San Francisco

Thom Mayne’s SF Federal Building

Featuring a perforated-metal exo-structure and an a-typical, slender frame, the 18-story San Francisco Federal Building is a triumph of architectural excellence, and its celebrated architect Thom Mayne, the Pritzker Prize winner who also designed the La Defense business district tower in Paris, deserves to bask in the glow of his building’s architectural success.

Over the past few years, Mayne’s signature fusion of conventional industrial-machine aesthetics and his idiosyncratic designs have made him one of the next generation’s great industrial building designers, and his latest completed project numbers among his many outstanding achievements. In addition, the building has added much to the often austere and industrial San Francisco cityscape, and although I have not seen the building in person yet, I am already fascinated by the structure.

Thom Mayne, with his powerful and brazen structures, is an inspiration to me. Like myself, he has stepped out on his own and founded his own design company, Morphosis, based in Santa Monica, California, and since then, he has designed some of the best work of his career. I am amazed what the man has done with Postwar Modernism, and I applaud his achievements.

The following photos are the few glimpses I have seen of the Federal Building, and I am looking forward to making a trip to the City for a closer look in the near future.

San Francisco Federal Building by Thom Mayne

Federal Building in San Francisco

Thom Mayne’s Federal Building

The Federal Building Lobby

Federal Building Lobby

Federal Building Stairwell



San Francisco Federal Building

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~ by Benjamin Wey on March 27, 2008.

6 Responses to “The Federal Building in San Francisco”

  1. It’s hideous in person. It looks unfinished. It’s ability to conserve energy is overshadowed by it’s incapability to comfortably house workers. A disaster for employees and the San Francisco skyline.

  2. I’ve been trying to find out more about how this building has been faring for quite some time. Is it meeting its energy efficiency goals, are the uncomfortable working conditions blown out of proportion? I work in San Francisco, and it is still hard to figure out how well it is working. This past summer we had a heat wave, and does anyone know how the building handled the high temperatures (since it could not night-cool the structure?)

    Chien Si Harriman

  3. I think the new Federal Bldg . is magnificent. I worked at the one on Golden Gate Avenue in 1970-71, for the I.R.S. I would do anything to be able to come back to beautiful San Francisco and work in this beautiful new structure.

  4. I’m currently an architecture student at UC Berkeley. I’ve been conducting a Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) of the building, and actually have access to the complaints of the tenants. There are countless problems with this building. Problems with heat, ventilation (leading to odor problems), lighting (including glares), and acoustics.

    Its mere facade doesn’t tell the whole story of the building.

    I believe Thom Mayne screwed up on this one.

  5. Mike Where can we get a copy of the POE?

  6. THINK OF THE FUTURE!!! THIS BUILDING IS MADE FOR THE NEXT 1000 YEARS MAINTANCE FREE!!! SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTS USED THROUGHOUT !!! ENERGY SAVINGS!!! EVERYTHING ABOUT THE BUILDING IS A PLUS+++++++. I WISH ARCHITECTS WOULD BUILD WITH THESE THINGS IN MIND. CALIFORNIA SHOULD STOP BUILDING FIXER UPPERS!!!!! AND WAISTING THE HARD EARNED TAX DOLLARS OF THE PEOPLE!!! UGLY OR NOT!!! THIS BUILDING SHOULD BE A MODEL FOR ALL ARCHITECTS!!!!!

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