Kava Massih Architects
Retaining an old factory's airy grandeur
© Ethan Kaplan
more photos click on 'photos & drawings' above.
To see the people and products
behind this project click on 'people & products.'
For this developer of business applications,
breathing room meant not only a less-crowded environment,
but also an ease of informal interaction that has now become
de rigueur in fast-moving high-tech firms.
The firm chose Emerytech, formerly the
Grove Valve Building. Where once huge fittings were manufactured
for the shipbuilding industry, Kava Massih, a five-year-old
local firm, had created more than 200,000 square feet of office
and retail space for developer Ellis Partners. A high-tech
track record and the developer’s recommendation was enough
for the firm's CEO, who hired the firm to complete the design.
The largest block of Evolve’s space,
32,000 square feet, occupies a steel-framed, 300-foot-long
former manufacturing bay, wrapped by industrial sash on three
sides. Massih’s team interpreted the company's desire for
spaciousness by inserting only a single full-floor slab in
this light-filled rectangle, leaving an 11-foot floor-to-ceiling
height on the ground floor. Even this is punctured by generous
stair openings. The second floor opens up to a double height,
with a mezzanine containing private offices and meeting rooms
hung over about a third of the area.
Massih diffused the generous daylight
with light-reflecting and transmitting materials to keep a
sense of openness even in enclosed areas. Combinations of
clear and translucent glass or plastic enclose the conference
areas. The partitions of the custom-made workstations are
Many new work environments struggle to
accommodate a leader’s vision of a teamwork-oriented workplace
with easy interaction and the staff’s desire for privacy and
relief from perpetual distraction. Evolve is still discovering
where this balance lies. Some midlevel managers fought for
enclosed—though glass-doored—offices on the mezzanine, and
got them. The engineers and software developers on the main
level clamored for greater enclosure of their workstations.
Bantleman has agreed, and Goldin has just completed the design.
See the June 2001 issue of Architectural
Record for full coverage of this project.
46,000 sq ft
John Bantleman, CEO, Evolve
Kava Massih Architects
118 Hawthorne St.
San Francisco, CA 94107