San Francisco's skyline will soon be graced with a new addition: a pair of glass skyscrapers designed by Foster + Partners. The towers will be among the tallest buildings in the city, capable of piercing through the densest bay fog. The buildings are part of a larger redevelopment plan for the area around the Transbay Transit Center in the city’s South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood. The Oceanwide Center, as the two skyscrapers will be known, was designed in partnership with local architecture firm Heller Manus.
The Oceanwide Center will comprise two mixed-use blocks. Although related by proximity and style, the New York-based firm designed the two skyscrapers to serve slightly different purposes. Mission Street Tower will stand at 184 meters (604 feet) tall, and will house a hotel and residential units. The other tower, on First Street, will be solely residential apartments. The First Street block will be a whopping 259 meters (850 feet) tall, which will make just a few feet shorter than the city’s tallest building, the Transamerica Pyramid.
“This development will be the new exemplar of urban living with exciting places to live and work right alongside the central transport hub,” said Foster + Partners’ Stefan Behling.
The skyscrapers will fit right in with the other high-rise buildings located nearby, and the plans call for the ground level of each building to be open to the public. Rather than having a traditional street-level entrance and lobby, both buildings will be elevated five stories above the ground, steadied by zig-zagging struts. This will create an enormous public plaza on the ground level that F+P calls an “urban room.” The area will be cut with “pedestrian routes that are an extension of the historic streets and alleyways in the area, knitting the new scheme with the urban grain of the city.” That space will feature lush landscape design and play host to events and art installations.
Heller Manus Architects also aided in the design for the faceted glass towers, which are e expected to break ground this November.
Images via Foster + Partners