UCSF, Mission Hall: Global Health and Clinical Sciences Building

Once an isolated industrial site on the eastern waterfront of San Francisco Bay, the Mission Bay neighborhood has transformed dramatically in the last decade. Thousands of people now live, work and recreate in this former brownfield area, which today features offices, condominiums, restaurants, a farmer’s market, pedestrian paths, light rail/commuter connections, and — the driving force behind the area’s rebirth — a vibrant hub of world-renown biotech, research and medicine, with UCSF leading the charge.

With the 266,000 square-foot Mission Hall, UCSF wanted to create a new hub for its growing Mission Bay campus. This building needed to consolidate dozens of departments working in leased spaces throughout San Francisco and forge a link — programmatically and on a campus planning scale — between academic, research and medical sectors.

In response to UCSF’s charge to infuse their Mission Bay campus with a sense of vibrancy and connection, the Design Build team of WRNS Studio and Rudolph and Sletten envisioned the site for Mission Hall as a porous gateway with many points of connectivity between the previously separated research/clinical and student life/amenities areas of the campus. The building is organized around a series of interior and exterior spaces that create a flexible, changeable, and visible “mesh” of collaboration, collegiality and campus access.

UCSF’s campus design guidelines informed the massing and basic organization of the building, calling for simple volumes, consistent building heights and a tripartite organization of base, body, and parapet. Within this organization a mesh is evident in the façades and internal organization of the building. The building skin comprised of GFRC units, vision glass, and metal spandrel panels on a panelized unit. The variability in the mesh is based on orientation and is realized through changing the amount of solid GFRC and vision glass within the panel. The color of the GFRC is sympathetic to the surrounding buildings on both the research and clinical side of the campus and offers a level of intricacy that allows the building to be enjoyed on multiple scales. This project is a Design-Build competition, won by Rudolph and Sletten and WRNS Studio.

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