SAN FRANCISCO: The 17-acre Gateway at Millbrae Station is conceived as a miniature city next to a strategically located public transit station in Millbrae, CA, a Bay-area city just west of San Francisco International Airport. Situated at the terminus of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system that connects San Francisco to Oakland, Berkeley, and other East Bay locations, the 500,000-square-foot hub comprises offices, hotel, retail, apartments, and parking. Anchoring the core of the development is a contemporary office building designed by Form4 Architecture of San Francisco. This 165,000-square-foot structure, activated with retail at its base, is situated next to the BART station between an existing parking garage and a new apartment building. Construction on the project, which has been unanimously approved by city and local authorities, is expected to begin in late 2019 and completed in 2021.
“The Gateway project represents transit-oriented development at its very best,” says developer Michael Van Every, CEO of Republic Urban Properties. “This will be a destination where people can live, shop, work, and play, with walkable streets, public spaces, and amenities. Not only does it provide convenient access to the largest BART station in the Bay Area, but also to rail and bus lines, as well as the airport. The combination of these elements establishes a real authenticity that will have a positive impact on life in the Bay Area at large.”
Steel-framed expanses of high-performance glass on the three upper levels of the five-story office/retail building illuminate workplaces with daylight for targeted tenants of tech and venture capital firms, among other companies. Planted roof terraces on the third floor provide verdant outdoor spaces for tenants, while supplying environmental benefits. Above the retail storefronts, a combination of wood, metal mesh, and frosted glass delineate two levels of parking. Projecting bays, canted ends, and a cantilevered roof that appears to float, create dynamic architecture symbolizing a new vibrancy for the area.
“We conceived this building as the centerpiece of the new community,” says John Marx, AIA, Co-Founding Design Principal and Chief Artistic Officer of Form4 Architecture. “It is sited to engage the street where most activity will take place. The building is as transparent as possible with gridded planes of glass so people and movement inside will be visible to pedestrians as they pass by.”
Between the new office and residential buildings is the Paseo, site of The Shops at Garden Lane, a permeable pedestrian shopping promenade modeled on European streets. This landscaped linear passageway provides areas for outdoor dining, gathering, and relaxing, and will serve as the main circulation spine of the development, inviting guests and visitors inward.
On the street level, storefronts and openings in the retail portion of the building are choreographed to display merchandise and restaurant activity, and to celebrate the spectacle of urban life. A ground-level breezeway through the building connects the Paseo to the parking garage for easy pedestrian access.
The rich assortment of office and retail spaces, hundreds of market-rate and subsidized apartments, extended-stay hotel, and open spaces comprising the entire Gateway at Millbrae Station will create a model for mixed-use developments at other BART stations that are now being planned. “This complex is one of the most ambitious and transformative projects to be envisioned near transit in the Bay Area,” stresses Marx.
Form4 Architecture believes architecture is the art of giving form to ideas. The award-winning firm specializes in creating environments, whether for tech offices, mixed-use developments, or residences, that respond as equally to the topography of a site as they do to the people they serve. Winner of the 2017 American Prize for Architecture, Form4 creates formal expressions that are not only poetically moving and conceptually thoughtful, but also reflective of the client’s values and goals. As collaborative partners in the design process, the principals of Form4 Architecture—Robert J. Giannini, John Marx, AIA, Paul Ferro, AIA, and James Tefend—are personally involved with every project from concept to completion, bringing the collective wealth of years of expertise and knowledge to each client’s vision. Since 1998, the firm has built a rich portfolio of award-winning work for national and international clients within diverse market sectors.
Gateway at Millbrae Station
Location: 200 Rollins Road, Millbrae, CA
Developer: Republic Urban Properties
Architects: Form4 Architecture (office and retail)
LPMD Architects (residential)
ACRM Architects (hotel)
HMH Landscape Architecture (landscape)
Civil Engineer: HMH Engineers
Urban Design: Studio T SQ
Contractor: Blach + Cahill Joint Venture