1550 Mission

  • Client Related California
  • Expertise Mixed Use, Residential
  • Region North America
  • Location San Francisco, California, United States

With its distinct form on San Francisco’s skyline and neighborly presence at street level, this residential tower anchors a uniquely civic-minded development.

Project Facts
  • Status Construction Complete
  • Completion Year 2021
  • Size Site Area: 58,500 square feet Building Height: 382 feet Number of Stories: 39 Building Gross Area: 468,000 square feet
  • Transit Mode Bikes, Bus
  • Rental Units 550
  • Sustainability Certifications LEED BD+C NC (New Construction) Gold, BD+C, Gold
  • Collaborators
    Marmol Radziner Associates DCI Engineers Cb Engineers HKS Architects Inc. - San Francisco
Project Facts
  • Status Construction Complete
  • Completion Year 2021
  • Size Site Area: 58,500 square feet Building Height: 382 feet Number of Stories: 39 Building Gross Area: 468,000 square feet
  • Transit Mode Bikes, Bus
  • Rental Units 550
  • Sustainability Certifications LEED BD+C NC (New Construction) Gold, BD+C, Gold
  • Collaborators
    Marmol Radziner Associates DCI Engineers Cb Engineers HKS Architects Inc. - San Francisco

Creating a neighborhood anchor

Located on a triangular 2.5-acre site just beyond Civic Center, 1500 Mission Street is one half of a mixed-use development which also includes a municipal office building—49 South Van Ness—as well as the adaptive reuse of a former bottling factory.

This 550-unit residential tower’s urban presence is informed by a design process that included meetings with a diverse group of stakeholders including neighbors and government early on, with a particularly collaborative relationship with the City Planning Department. The mixed-use site plan offered the ability to integrate public and private spaces that add to the vitality of the highly walkable and transit-accessible South of Market (SoMA) area. The project includes 110 units affordable to low income residents, nearly twice the base requirement at the time.

Key to the notion of livable urban density is a wide range of open space distributed throughout the project. These spaces include a compact ground floor garden adjacent to the entry, to a 15,000-square-foot second level courtyard, a fifth-level dog park, a south-facing, 11th-floor pool deck, and a shared penthouse-level terrace with spectacular skyline views.

© Jason O'Rear

Designing an intricate facade

1550 Mission’s asymmetric, tapering form is clad with a curvilinear precast concrete skin, which parts to reveal a cascading, terraced glass facade anchoring the corner of Van Ness and Mission. Its masonry is rendered in white with charcoal gray window trim and punctuated with a staggered pattern of large and small windows that convey a residential image, in contrast to the structurally expressive, curtain-walled 49 South Van Ness. 

Maximizing San Francisco’s ample natural light, the edges of 1550 Mission’s white masonry enclosure extend above the occupied space at the tower’s top and the vertical tapered, terraced seam. These edges capture light on their internal and external faces and, along with the deeply set windows, create a changing interplay of light and shadow throughout the day.

A lightweight, deeply cantilevered aluminum wind canopy hangs from above the second level. This sculptural, three-dimensional “light cloud” canopy filters the wind and creates a dynamic quality of changing light patterns floating above the street-level retail spaces and residential entry at the tower’s base. 

A variety of commercial spaces inside 1550 Mission and the former bottling plant generates new and sustained pedestrian activity throughout the day. A public space known as “The Forum,” accessible from both Van Ness and Mission Streets, encourages a mix of residents, workers, and visitors to linger thanks to its strategic placement as well as its colorful cast steel sculptures by Sanaz Mazinani.

© Jason O'Rear
© Jason O'Rear

A smarter use of materials

The design of 1550 Mission centers on an efficient use of resources. Window wall areas utilize standard systems, and the building structure is highly optimized around an ideally-proportioned central core, eliminating the need for beams and therefore reducing the quantities of steel required. Locally sourced aggregate and locally fabricated precast concrete is enriched through subtle variation in color, finish, and rhythm without adding thickness. A tight integration between structure and layout allows for thin, 7.5-inch concrete slabs throughout. The structure’s lateral system is a performance-based concrete core that utilizes Grade 80 vertical steel reinforcement—a first for a high seismic area in the U.S. This project helped push higher strength reinforcing into code updates, reducing steel usage in individual projects and the construction industry’s carbon footprint overall.

© Jason O'Rear

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