Interstice Architects is a multi-disciplinary, San Francisco-based studio that designs sustaining places with a constant drive to reveal the latent potential of spaces, architectural, landscape, urban, and those in between.
IA works diligently see the world through the overlaps in the territory, between disciplines, between desires, between infrastructures, between roles. IA believes that designers take action at the nexus of program, client desires, mediation of varied scales; the now and the future, resiliency and resources. The range and typology of the firm’s design work underscore this commitment to elevating material culture in the creation of places, dedicated to designing sustainable environments which engage and delight.
Do you want to know more about Interstice Architects? Learn about their History and Culture and other selected projects by visiting their previous featured posts Interstice Architects 1 and Interstice Architects 2
IA works in a collaborative spirit donning the role of designers, educators, and activists acting on a core belief that sustainability is integral to lasting and relevant design. They strive to establish simple and sustainable solutions that improve quality of life: from working on small, community-oriented urban furniture installations to the re-envisioning of acres of coastal frontage as an ecological response to the challenges of sea level rise and bayside habitat degradation. Their architecture and landscapes are both experiential and respond to broader issues and opportunities: the use of repurposed waste stream materials, reversing the loss of bird and insect habitats, the stewardship of ancient trees, or creating minimalist solutions to complicated programs. Diversity is a hallmark of IA’s projects, clients, and collaborations. The designs that result are highly varied, yet specific, with a common objective of creating a place in the world better than when we came to it.
Interstice Architects Selected Projects
- Location: Mission District, San Francisco
- Owner/Client: Undisclosed
- Scope: Studio, Office, Workshop
- Status: Completed
Kirby Fitzpatrick Award, The Architectural Foundation of San Francisco 2016
AIA California Council Merit Award for Architecture 2015
MAKER:Space project is a minimalist, open-ended event space for an avid maker-client and his creative partners to experiment and ideate. This simple plywood-lined tube serves as a hybrid office, event, laboratory, and workshop space all organized around a single three-level, vertical service core of reclaimed myrtle wood. The unencumbered volume integrates circulation, aperture, glazing, and high-performance systems to prioritize flexibility and future change.
The three-level core at the center of MAKER:Space vertically consolidates all the functions of mechanical room, wet-lab, kitchen, and bathrooms within a three-level column. Accessed by a sculptural twisting stair, this service column allows the mezzanine office to be isolated from the workshop with glass curtains at two strategic locations. The smooth glass street façade dematerializes the dense urban fabric in which it is inserted, creating a shimmering void reflecting the sky by day and a glowing interior by night, while seamlessly integrating both vehicular and pedestrian access from Minna Street.
The original auto repair garage building was mostly demolished to allow the new generously open (both formally and programmatically) tube-like volume to connect the street to a private outdoor yard workspace at the rear of the site. Maximizing glazing on both ends allowed for natural light and passive cross ventilation, including a fully retractable skylight at its core where one can access the native meadow roof garden.
Walls and ceilings are laid out in a rational full sheet plywood pattern to minimize waste. INTERSTICE Architects introduced light tracks into the joints in a randomized pattern to allow flexibility of future program possibilities and a myriad of light types, from orientable spots, floods, pendants, and line voltage theatrical spots, to plug-in projectors and accessories. Six dimmable, high-intensity industrial fluorescent fixtures float like oversized balloons in the prismatic void—an unencumbered volume which integrates circulation, aperture, glazing, and high performance systems to prioritize flexibility and future change, all within a clearly defined space that breathes natural light in constant dialogue with the sun and the ever-changing seasons.
Photos by Interstice Architects
Menlo Ventures, a venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, California, needed a refresh on their new San Francisco shared work studio in the SOMA neighborhood, asking INTERSTICE Architects to focus on flexibility and differentiation in a comprehensive interior design collaboration. With so many employees working from home and utilizing a flexible workday schedule, the office, located in a renovated warehouse, needed to portray a larger collaborative space on the upper lofted floor with a more versatile lower floor that was divisible into separate office suites. The project resulted in an open-plan lobby workspace with smaller enclosed offices that could be used for more private meetings.
The open-plan aspect of Menlo Ventures’ two-story office in the SOMA district needed to be useable when larger teams gathered to collaborate in the same space, while simultaneously providing for closed-off conference spaces for individual client meetings. INTERSTICE’s solution was to use every space available to its maximum potential. The design of the office put an emphasis on overlap and interaction wherever possible. Even the circulation, corridors, open kitchen area, and tucked away train-car-style enclosed stations were designed for optimal use and flexibility. There are fewer than 30 personal desks in the space, instead replaced with spacious community tables, coffee table stations surrounded by couches and armchairs, and hot-station desks.
The authentic warehouse frame of the old structure produces a harmonious composition marked by high contrasting areas of crafted materials and textures. Concrete walls, warm wood furniture, and frosted glass partitions for offices contrast with the live-plant green wall at one end of the space. With plenty of natural light filtering in through the upper floor windows and skylights, INTERSTICE encouraged the client to embrace the planted element in the office. The modern warmth of the green wall adds to the desired living room feel Menlo Ventures wanted. This, paired with the new automatic skylights and sliding glass walls, are dynamic elements which, when taken all together, work to transform this multi-level workspace.
Photos by Interstice Architects
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