By Meghan Hall
As skyscrapers continue to pop up and change San Francisco’s growing skyline, the maintenance and renovation of the City’s remaining historic properties has become even more of a priority for both developers and city officials. One of these projects—a smaller but nonetheless important building known in as the Bricca Livery Stables—finally received the attention it deserved when financial and investment firm Scenic Advisement hired Feldman Architecture to revamp the historic structure and create an office that the growing firm would call home. Scenic Advisement, a four-year-old start-up, specializes in investment banking for private technology companies.
“I think it’s been a great confidence builder, and it was really humbling and validating to know that we could be good at different project types,” said Taisuke Ikegami, a partner at San Francisco-based Feldman, a firm which has been recognized in the single-family home industry for its customized residential designs.
Located on Battery Street in the middle of San Francisco’s Northeast Waterfront Historic District, the Bricca Stables has been repurposed and utilized in a variety of different ways since its construction in 1909. As cars replaced horses as the main method for transportation, the space was turned into an antiques store and even an architecture office before Scenic Advisement moved into the space, located at 915 Battery Street.
We really wanted to emphasize the residential feel of this office, so we thought the exaggerated living room furniture fit nicely and made for a comfortable spot to wait.
Feldman Architecture and the City of San Francisco’s Planning Department made sure to highlight the building’s history and existing structure, which includes Douglas fir support beams across the ceiling and the building’s original brick walls. The entire renovation of the 5,000 square foot space was completed fairly quickly; the design phase for the project began in March of 2016, and by May of 2016 construction had started. By August of the same year, construction of the project was complete, and Scenic Advisement had its new office space. Ikegami declined to release the final cost of the renovation.
“What was nice about this project was that because the shell was so important, we tried to be the supporting actor in place of what was already there,” said Ikegami. “I think we provided a very flexible background.”
Much of the space’s design paid homage not just to the Stables’ history in the center of San Francisco, but also to the client’s needs as a growing enterprise. Scenic Advisement, according to Ikegami, is in the process of expanding its business to service the wealth management industry. When Feldman won the bid, Scenic Advisement expressed that they were ultimately looking for a space that would accommodate future growth.
“We knew that the business was growing but had no idea how fast or quickly,” said Ikegami. “Their clientele is the elite of the Bay Area and the world, so exclusivity was important, and we created two zones to support the areas of the business.”
While Feldman strived to leave the space as open as possible, the firm used a multitude of cubes to create different, but open, rooms throughout the space and yet maintain an efficient design. Satin etched glass is used throughout the office to allow light to pass through and yet still provide privacy when needed. Ikegami emphasized that Feldman’s design pushed to preserve the structure’s historic integrity and natural warmth as much as possible by keeping the lines of the cubes and the space minimalistic and clean.
“Physically and structurally, the client loves this building and has a diverse portfolio. They wanted to make sure we were working with the structural engineer [and] to make sure our interventions would not damage the existing bricks,” explained Ikegami.
The space also includes an open concept kitchen, complete with a tea and coffee bar. A large island is the kitchen’s main feature, and several barstools are tucked underneath the counter; it is one of the many touches that Feldman added to make the office feel more like a home.
The interior furnishings, provided by Artistic Designs for Living, included long, sleek desks, lounge furniture, colorful rugs and vibrant wall art in order to complete the space.
“It all ended up working out in the end. I think that’s sort of a true test that we did succeed,” said Ikegami. “The clients are really happy.”