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Arc Light Co., San Francisco, United States

Thursday 25 Oct 2012

HKS-Built Arc Light Co. at 21 Clarence Place

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The first residential building in San Francisco to receive LEEDâ„¢ for Homes Mid-rise Gold certification 

HKS Architects, Inc.'s latest residential building is Arc Light Co., a renovated, 19thcentury electric company warehouse in San Francisco. This adaptive re-use of an historic building benefits from HUD-insured financing as well as added public funds from the Recovery Act, Prop 1C grant, and state money for site clean-up. These funds allowed for the transformation of an underutilised and distressed site into a vibrant member of the rapidly emerging South Beach neighbourhood. HKS worked closely with Ian Birchall and Associates, as well as Martin Building Company, the owner.

The development features 94 contemporary lofts - a mix of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units- in a six-story building, featuring two stories of restored brick façade topped by a four-story glass and metal structure that complements the historic context. Amenities include a north- and south-facing roof deck with a custom spa, grilling area and fitness center, elaborate interior courtyards, basement and enclosed garage parking, and a two-story restaurant within the historic brick walls.

Arc Light Co. resonates with local residents because of its innovative new architecture, historic preservation and LEED Gold certification. It offers many eco-minded amenities including abundant bicycle parking, electric car-charging station-sand exclusive use of City CarShare vehicles parked on premises.

The design challenge lay with incorporating the historic brick expression with four stories of new construction in a way that revitalised the site, but did not overpower the existing structure. To combat this, the architect created a clean, modern glass expression that respectfully contrasts the brick, while maintaining the industrial feel of the former electric company warehouse. The architect also designed the street façade of the live/work units on the ground floor and main entrance with large glass openings that carry the glass expression down from above to further integrate the historic elements with the modern-day design.

Committed to green building standards, Arc Light Co. is the first San Francisco building to receive LEEDTM for Homes Mid-rise Gold certification, in addition to its participation in the California Multifamily New Homes Program, the Go Solar SF Program and the New Solar Homes Program. Sustainable elements include numerous open spaces and courtyards, solar roof panels, energy-efficient appliances, locally produced glass, insulated windows, bicycle storage areas, recharging stations and its transit-accessible location. The project lies within walking distance to multiple Muni lines and Caltrain and provides easy access to both BART and the freeway.

Arc Light Co. originally served as the historic California Electric Light Company, Station B. The building housed arc and incandescent lights used to generate electricity for electric light service. By 1888, California Electric Light Company satisfied San Francisco's flourishing demand for electricity. Arc Light Co. is a contributory building to the South End Historic District.

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HKS Architects, Inc.

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