Interior Design
Environmental Graphic Design
Workplace Strategy
Building Repositioning

2741 16th

FENNIE+MEHL helped SF-based developer BUILD upgrade a tired and underutilized 20,000 SF Production Distribution and Repair (PDR) building into a highly attractive scientific workplace for a leading and innovative autonomous LiDAR sensor company, Ouster, in the outskirts of the emerging Mission District of San Francisco. BUILD’s mission is to create great urban places that benefit tenants, the community and their investors. In this case, because the building was adjacent to Ouster’s headquarters, the tech company now has a multi-building complex.

Originally hired by BUILD to focus solely on the base building’s shell and core elements, including new restrooms, stairs and accessibility upgrades, Ouster appreciated F+M’s ability to combine efficiency with thoughtful and timeless interiors. They ended up releasing their original architects to also work directly with F+M on the tenant improvements to their office. 

F+M’s design dramatically improved the space for both the building owner and tenant with a design solution that replaced the awkward and unreliable half-floor lift with a space and time-saving modern 5-stop traction elevator. While installing the new machine-room-less elevator was an added up-front expense, it was more than offset by the increased value and functionality of the building and its long-term payback for the owner and their satisfied tenants for years to come.  

The new elevator and stairs also allowed for efficient circulation between all the floors, creating a more enjoyable experience traveling through the space, while also opening up the exciting opportunity of accessing a new roof deck.  “Roof decks are very rare in San Francisco, and are a coveted selling point for every building owner,” explains Omied Arvin, lead architect on the project for F+M.  BUILD agreed, and partially funded this improvement. Having an office with a roof-top oasis for its employees also was an unexpected but welcome option for Ouster, a company recently honored by Inc. Magazine as one of the best workplaces in 2020 due to its high employee engagement and authentic culture.  In collaboration with the client’s land use attorney, F+M was able to expedite an over-the-counter review of the roof deck, saving significant amounts of time and money for all parties involved.

The partnership F+M enjoyed with both the owner and the tenant of 2741 16th Street resulted in long-term building improvements that are practical, flexible and cost effective.  This is exactly the kind of space that suits the fast-paced, results-driven culture fostered at Ouster, a company who responded quickly to the COVID-19 pandemic by leveraging their global supply chain to send PPE to hospitals in San Francisco and New York. BUILD can be proud that their building is benefiting such a noble cause for communities in need.

“F+M was able to successfully translate the tenant’s programmatic needs with the base-building needs of 2741 16th Street. The end result was a highly functional space, equipped with a 5-stop elevator providing clear circulation for the tenant while adding increased value to the property. To that end, F+M felt like not only a design partner but also a true business partner.”

Carlos Vasquez, Project Manager, BUILD

Artist renderings: FENNIE+MEHL
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