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San Francisco’s sustainable waterfront tower is inspired by California’s geology

By District Energy posted 08-09-2023 18:08


The Construction Specifier


The Canyon, a 23-story mixed-use building designed by MVRDV, officially opened recently. With its jagged wall, textured red-brown facade, and a publicly accessible “canyon” providing a route through the site, The Canyon is reminiscent of the dramatic geology of California, inspired in part by San Francisco’s charismatic topography.

The opening happened in a ceremony in June attended by San Francisco Mayor London Breed. The project was built as part of a masterplan that transforms a windswept parking lot on San Francisco’s waterfront into a new sustainable neighborhood, known as Mission Rock, with housing for middle income residents.

Located opposite the Giants’ Oracle Park stadium, The Canyon is one of four buildings that form the first phase of the neighborhood, which is being developed through a partnership of the San Francisco Giants, Tishman Speyer, Ever-Green Energy and the Port of San Francisco. These buildings were designed in a collaborative process in which four internationally renowned design firms—Studio Gang, Henning Larsen, WorkAC, and MVRDV—worked simultaneously, creating designs that worked together, with each having a distinct appearance.

One benefit of the simultaneous design process is that the four buildings share critical energy and water infrastructure. For example, based in the building designed by Work AC, is a water recycling plant that will process black water from the whole neighborhood for reuse.

For its part, The Canyon hosts the key mechanical elements of an efficient district heating system, hidden away in parts of the ground floor and basement. The proximity to the San Francisco Bay provides the site with the opportunity to utilize bay water for both cooling and heating of Mission Rock via a water exchange system. The system leads to a reduction of CO2 and lower water and energy usage and thus, lower bills for the tenants.

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