WRNS Studio Transforms 70’s Era tilt-up into Net Positive Energy, Design-Forward Workplace

Silicon Valley, WRNS Studio, Sustainable Systems, San Francisco, Bay Area

Silicon Valley, WRNS Studio, Sustainable Systems, San Francisco, Bay Area

Cost-Effective, Sustainable Retrofit Serves as Re-Use Model for Ubiquitous Outmoded Buildings throughout Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley, home to innovative high-tech giants and a leading hub for innovative start-ups, has also developed a reputation for its bland-looking suburban architecture. Peppered with concrete low-rise “tilt-up” buildings and rectangular office parks, the innovative hotspot is slowly transforming itself into a hotbed of architectural creativity.

WRNS Studio was commissioned by Kevin Bates’ Sharp Development to transform Pastoria, a low-slung, decades-old vacant warehouse, into a net positive, design-forward workplace. Originally built in 1976 and located at 380 N Pastoria Ave., the energy-efficient retrofit is designed to maximize employee health and wellness while minimizing the building’s environmental footprint and operating costs. Great indoor air quality, daylight autonomy, thermal comfort, exceptional acoustics, and connection to nature are put on display. The result is a sustainable work environment that is attractive to renters, puts wellness on display, and generates more energy than it consumes. The approach provides a win-win for developers looking to breathe new life into existing facilities while keeping operating costs down.

Sustainable Systems:

  • Daylight floods the space through perimeter windows and advanced operable skylights and is supplemented with full-spectrum LED lighting.
  • “Smart” electrochromic glass windows ease heat gain while enabling outdoor views.
  • High-volume low-speed ceiling fans circulate air throughout the open floor plan.
  • High performance exterior insulation system resists heat flow.
  • A state-of-the-art photovoltaic array combines with passive heating, cooling and lighting methodologies to generate enough power to offset the costs of what it consumes.
  • Solar panels double as a portico providing an attractive, shaded entrance.
  • The site is populated with community gardens, edible plants and patio benches made from repurposed wood.
  • Power-over-Ethernet allows building functions, such as temperature, to be digitally managed and optimized for efficiency in real time.
  • The raw, industrial design utilizes thermal mass and omits the need for an expensive T-Bar drop ceiling by exposing the wood beams and keeping the ceilings as high as possible.
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