MVRDV’s SF tower references California’s rocky hills

MVRDV has revealed its design for a geologically-inspired building for Mission Rock, San Francisco. Image courtesy MVRDV
MVRDV has revealed its design for a geologically inspired building for Mission Rock, San Francisco.
Image courtesy MVRDV

Global architecture practice MVRDV has unveiled its design for a 23-story, mixed-use building in Mission Rock, San Francisco. MVRDV’s concept is one of four buildings designed simultaneously in a collaborative process with Studio Gang, Henning Larsen, and WORKac.

The Mission Rock master plan will turn 11 ha (28 acre) of asphalt and a windswept parking lot into a new neighborhood. The ensemble of mixed-use buildings will be tied together by the public spaces surrounding them and penetrating the ground floors.

Phase 1, scheduled to break ground early next year, includes four buildings (two residential and two commercial facilities), the 2-ha (5-acre) China Basin Park, and retail and restaurant spaces.

The architectural teams forming the design cohort (including local firms) came together to discover, share, collaborate, evaluate, and to ensure the first phase of Mission Rock reflects the community’s vision. The result is four distinct buildings that tie together seamlessly with the newly imagined China Basin Park.

Building A, by MVRDV with Perry Architects, was inspired by Californian rock formations, with a narrow valley running between steep rocky walls extending all the way up the tower’s western façade.

The building has 23 above-grade stories with a partial basement, which will house the on-site bike parking and supporting space for the district energy system. The canyon fracture makes it so the North-East podium block acts as its own separate building, while remaining connected to the broader offerings of the tower. Residential amenity spaces will incorporate active rooftop uses.

The tower height is 73 m (240 ft) with an additional 4-m (14-ft) crown. Vegetation becomes the driving force of rooftop design, to enhance user experience while creating ecological habitats.

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