A former light industrial building for fine wood-working, 333 Valencia languished for years as a poorly-adapted class-C commercial building despite its prime location in San Francisco’s Mission District.

Faced with a major seismic upgrade, brick worked with the historic building’s already great features and used the lightest touch possible to transform an underutilized building into a class-A gem.

Exterior office building window Visa Palo Alto design brick-inc

The four-story building was constructed in 1919 and is a good example of concrete-frame and masonry infill construction, which was typical for industrial buildings at this time. The top level has a saw-tooth roof that fills the space with light through existing clerestory windows.

Brick’s primary mission was to upgrade the property and create a commercial building worthy of the neighborhood. First and foremost, the building needed a seismic retrofit to ensure that it would survive an earthquake. To aid the structural engineers with their design, brick proposed locating new stairs and elevators centrally in the building. This allowed the stair shafts to do double-duty as integral parts of the seismic safety net while simultaneously creating a flexible layout for future tenant spaces.

Creating a central core for stairs and elevators added a seismic safety net and maximized flexibility for future tenants.

Aerial view of deck and garden Visa Palo Alto workplace design brick-inc
brick’s improvements to the exterior include new windows on the east wall, a new fire sprinkler system, and major structural upgrades to both the gravity and lateral systems.
With a great existing building, it was easy to limit design interventions to areas where it matters most, enhancing the building’s best features while allowing for modern upgrades.
Night Exterior entrance and windows of office building Visa Palo Alto brick-inc architects
Consultant Team: General Contractor: Pankow | Structural: MAR | HVAC: ACCO Engineered Systems | Electrical: Trinity Electric General Contractors | Fire Protection: H&M Fire Protection | Cost Estimator: DPW