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Mixed Use, Ecological Design, Bio-mimicry, Facade System, Residential, Community

Nob Hill

San Francisco, California


Spring 2017

SFlex is a mixed-use flexible extension of the San Francisco ecosystem. The design utilizes fog as a way to lessen the ecological burden of human water use. By using a combination of hydrophobic and hydrophilic applications influenced by the biological characteristic of the Namib Beetle's shell, fog condenses and collects on our façade system for practical use. We chose to use the collected water for growing a more ecological, healthy, and community driven vegetable garden on the roof of the neighboring Chinese Rec Center.


Our site is located between the affluent Nob Hill & culturally rich Chinatown, on the playground of a Chinese Rec Center and across the street from the Cable Car Museum. Deciding to preserve the current playground and connect our fog harvest with the rec center was the first major move of the design. From there we maximized the efficiency of the solar and fog orientations, identifying the Western side and splitting and orienting the building towards the South for maximum daylight exposure to the units. From there, we terraced to provide ample outdoor space in beautiful San Francisco, as well as provide a good space for PV electricity generation.


Seeing that San Francisco is in somewhat of a housing crisis, we believe that providing flexible housing was one way to ease the burden. To achieve this flexibility we choose to pursue a modular system of units which provide different spatial opportunities to different lifestyles. Each unit has its own garden balcony which is arrived at through a green, vast, light flooded walkway canyon. Flexible transportation is something that design provides as well, as SF is one of the pioneering cities in driverless cars, and since we are located across the street from the Cable Car Museum, we believe this is a fitting site to implement a driverless taxi fleet warehouse, providing a temporal transportation relationship. The mixed-use work space is a flexible maker space working environment with ample open space and all the tools required to start a small maker business. Neighboring the maker space is a café that uses the generated fog water to brew coffee and is located in relation to the fog so as to provide a compelling fog experience while sipping your drink.