University of California San Francisco is the medical school and medical research center of the California University system. As its growth was limited in its Parnassus Heights location, the University purchased a several block size parcel of land from Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, which was located a shuttle distance away at 3333 California Street. On the site, surrounded by large landscaped open spaces, was a 400,000 square foot rambling 3-4-story building. The University desired to move their biological studies and research laboratories there.
As academic offices, classrooms and laboratories require different types of spaces, ceiling heights and mechanical systems, the question was how best to use the existing and different structure for differing uses. The building had been built in phases. The wings had been added after the original building was built. There were complex technical questions resulting from the phased construction. Redesign was further complicated, as two sides of the building had a spectacular view overlooking the city. Most of the professors and staff wished to be located on the view side.
The design work entailed master planning the interior space, defining areas most suitable for different occupancies. This included not only space planning but also a detailed analysis of existing building structural, mechanical and electrical systems and how these either fit or constrained certain uses. For example, as the three building sections were built with different structural systems, certain areas had substantial space between the ceiling and the floor above, making this space ideal for the large ducts and exhausts necessary for laboratory work.
To substantiate our conclusions, conceptual structural and HVAC systems needed to be designed. This work was plotted by computer in multiple color inks for easy communication in the early days of architectural computer usage.