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Photo © David Wakely

Taproot Foundation


San Francisco, California
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Owner: Taproot Foundation

Location: 466 Geary Street, San Francisco

Program: A 3,500-square-foot office for the nonprofit Taproot Foundation, an organization that connects resource-strapped nonprofits with businesses willing to offer pro bono services. HOK donated their time to renovate Taproot's existing space, which spans the ground and first floors of a 1922 office building in San Francisco's theater district. The project includes open-plan office space, a conference room, and a reception area on the first floor.

Design Concept and Solution: When HOK began work, Taproot was contending with a mazelike office full of mismatched furniture and workstations with high partitions that blocked visibility. Plus, the location of the reception area (one floor up) created confusion for visitors who mistook Taproot's ground-floor back-office space for a public entrance. The architects set out to unclutter the interior and find donations of furnishings that wouldn't overpower the compact rooms. For a basement level in the back of a building, the ground floor gets a lot of daylight through a skylight and a rear wall of windows looking onto a light well. HOK painted the interior a bright white to increase the amount of bounced daylight, and they built casework to mask electrical panels, plumbing, and wires. To mark the ground-floor entrance as a private area, the architects installed a semitransparent self-adhesive fabric panel in the sidelight and added signage directing visitors upstairs. They opted for a clean and neutral materials palette—lots of white surfaces, warm metals, and wood veneer—as well as low-partition workstations that allow light to travel farther into the space. On the ground floor, a wood canteen table with benches serves as a communal meeting place. Many walls feature whiteboard paint, set off with color blocks of orange, mustard, or turquoise.

1 Bush Street, Suite 200
San Francisco, CA 94104
(415) 356-8730

Completion Date:
September 2010

Gross square footage:
3500 sq.ft.

Construction cost:
pro bono

March 2012
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