San Francisco-based architecture and design practice IwamotoScott Architecture have designed a new office space for Obscura Digital, a ten-year old immersive and interactive media company which have planned to relocate from their headquarters in a warehouse on Bryant Street. The project called for innovative strategies regarding construction techniques and material selection, to meet the very strict budget and schedule constraints while still offering a unique design that reflects the company’s artistic cutting edge ethos.
Obscura’s work involves design, r&d, fabrication and installation across a range of digital media. Programmatic requirements for their space includes an office and meeting space for the partners and staff, a large multi-functioning showroom and exhibition area, workstations for digital production, and prototyping workshop spaces.
The new space is a three story 1940’s concrete and steel frame warehouse in the Dogpatch neighbourhood of San Francisco. The main programmatic elements are distributed with the showroom and workshops on the lower level, reception, offices and meeting spaces on the middle level, and production on the top level. A main aspect of the redesign of this warehouse involves the removal of three bays at the centre of the building to form a spatial connection between the lower and mid levels, also allowing the installation of one of Obscura’s hemispherical projection theatres housed within a 30’ diameter geodesic dome.
Overlooking this new double height space is a central meeting room designed as a freestanding object peering over the end of the new void, oriented towards the dome. One side of this ‘meeting box’ is kinked inward to allow a stair to slip alongside that connects the two levels at the edge of the void. This meeting box is treated as sculptural object with very different interior and exterior materialities.
A broad new stair at the entry allows an easy spatial flow into the reception area, partners’ offices and central meeting space. Partner and staff offices are defined by twisting polycarbonate screen walls that allow filtered views, as well as the transmission of natural light from perimeter windows and skylights above.
Location: Dogpatch neighborhood, San Francisco CA, USA
Design: IwamotoScott Architecture
Principals: Craig Scott & Lisa Iwamoto
Project Team: Blake Altshuler, Chris Chalmers, Magda Mello, Ryan Golenberg, Juliet Hsu