8 Octavia

5. July 2016

8 Octavia

2014
San Francisco, California

Client
DDG Partners LLC/DM Dev. Partners LLC

Architect
Stanley Saitowitz | Natoma Architects Inc.
San Francisco

Design Principal
Stanley Saitowitz

Project Architects
Neil Kaye, Ulysses Lim, Markus Bischoff, Mark Holmquist, James Eidse, Feifei Feng

Structural Engineer
KPFF Consulting Engineers

MEP/FP Engineer
RW Consulting Engineer

Landscape Architect
Marta Fry Landscape

Contractor
Cannon Constructors

Handle-free kitchens
SieMatic

Glazing
Arcadia

Shades
Whisper shades

Pedestals and pavers
Versijack 

Site Area
12,470 sf

Building Area
71,000 sf

Photographs
Bruce Damonte

Drawings
Stanley Saitowitz | Natoma Architects Inc.

Responding to the need for contemporary buildings "to protect and temper with as little energy and resources as possible," Stanley Saitowitz | Natoma Architects covered the facade of the 8 Octavia residential building with louvers that each occupant operates. Primarily facing west and the warm afternoon sun, these louvers give the impression that the building breathes as they open and close over the course of a day. The architects answered a few questions about the building.

Please provide an overview of the project.
8 Octavia is a gateway building, announcing the new San Francisco at the entry from the 101 Freeway. Each occupant operates louvers on the façade, constantly changing the image of the building. Units are clustered around vertical courts and modeled on lofts with optimal free space, achieved by services being compressed along common thick walls or in floating pods, creating freedom for the residents.

What are the main ideas and inspirations influencing the design of the building?
Traditional San Francisco facades are pretty, with delicate vertical articulation, but now buildings also have other work to do. They need to protect and temper with as little energy and resources as possible. Skins of building have to be alive, breathing and changing with the time of day and seasons, responding to the variation in climatic conditions to adjust the interiors. On this predominantly western façade, each occupant can modulate the sunlight and sound in their unit, controlling the temperature and re-drawing the exterior elevation as they do, displaying their occupancy to the city outside as a constantly changing billboard. Ornament is replaced by instrument.

How does the design respond to the unique qualities of the site?
The site is where the elevated 101 Freeway connects to the surface streets at Market and becomes Octavia Boulevard – the entrance to north/west sector of San Francisco. The First Baptist Church with its classical façade and strong cornice is one pylon of this entrance. Mirroring this mass, on the other side of Octavia Boulevard, 8 Octavia completes the gateway. This entry is seen as an opportunity to present our new city, one that folds tradition and innovation. The long thin mass of building floats above the street to make public commercial space at both ends. 

San Francisco pioneered the new loft as an alternative to the apartment. Lofts provide occupants freedom to construct their own home by the arrangement of furniture in an open plan with minimum walls and constraints. We have based these dwellings on this type. Services are compressed along common thick walls, or in floating pods, highly rationalized, systematic, and rigorously stacked for economies. This achieves parallel goals of compression facilitating openness; and rationality achieving economy. 

How did the project change between the initial design stage and the completion of the building?
While the project evolved in detail through development and construction, the first design and the final product are consistent. 

What products or materials have contributed to the success of the completed building?
The most important product are the operable louvers which makes the building a constantly changing object in the city as occupants modulate the light and sound of their interiors.

Email interview conducted by John Hill.

8 Octavia

2014
San Francisco, California

Client
DDG Partners LLC/DM Dev. Partners LLC

Architect
Stanley Saitowitz | Natoma Architects Inc.
San Francisco

Design Principal
Stanley Saitowitz

Project Architects
Neil Kaye, Ulysses Lim, Markus Bischoff, Mark Holmquist, James Eidse, Feifei Feng

Structural Engineer
KPFF Consulting Engineers

MEP/FP Engineer
RW Consulting Engineer

Landscape Architect
Marta Fry Landscape

Contractor
Cannon Constructors

Handle-free kitchens
SieMatic

Glazing
Arcadia

Shades
Whisper shades

Pedestals and pavers
Versijack 

Site Area
12,470 sf

Building Area
71,000 sf

Photographs
Bruce Damonte

Drawings
Stanley Saitowitz | Natoma Architects Inc.

Related articles

Other articles in this category