Jennifer Davidson — UX Writer / Designer based in San Francisco, CA

renovation: market street atrium / industry: interior design

ux design, sustainable interior design, 3d modeling

PROJECT: Renovate and redesign the central atrium at 1355 Market Street in San Francisco, California.

REQUIREMENTS: Increase public access and views, utilize sustainable design principles and create spaces that are beautiful, functional, and entertaining for all ages.

CHALLENGES: #1 How to bring light into the center of a dark building. #2 How to increase engagement with residents and the local community, as well as tourists.

APPROACH: Add an additional atrium cutaway and overlook, increasing the open space up to the third floor. The ceiling of the atrium is formed by an LED video screen that both throws light into the building’s center, and acts as a reflection of the exterior weather conditions, i.e. clouds, blue sky, rain. The video screen can also be used as public art, or used sparingly as advertisement for public events. Increase engagement by the creation of the world’s first truly circular escalators between the ground and level two, and levels two and three, which would become a design and tourism destination for the Market Street region.

RESULTS: Twitter was pitched as a major client for this building, and just a few weeks after my presentation, Twitter announced they were purchasing this very building for their headquarters, validating my ideas and research.

Fortwitter Roleinterior designer, researcher

Interior rendering of the central atrium, showing what is proposed to be the world’s first truly circular escalators.
This three-floor atrium solves two design problems – how to increase public access and bring light into the center of the building – while also creating an architectural tourist destination for San Francisco.
Graphic produced with Revit and Photoshop.

This unusual LED video screen, disguised as a dropped ceiling, creates a virtual connection to the outside world by mirroring local weather conditions, in contrast to its location deep in the interior of a twelve-story building. Graphic produced with Revit and Photoshop.

An LED video ceiling can reflect exterior weather conditions or display artwork as a gallery in motion, bringing light into what was previously a dark interior. The circular escalators feature LED-underlit handrails over glass enclosures, bounded by a metal carriage.
Graphic produced with Revit and Photoshop.

Concept development sketches by the designer, pencil on paper.

Partial ground floor plan showing the proposed path of the escalator in the central atrium. Graphic produced with Revit.

Escalator 3D model family with glass enclosures, handrails and metal carriage, showing steps following path with a rise and run determined by the floor-to-ceiling height and available floor space, as well as ADA usability guidelines. Graphic produced with Revit.

Section view showing the different floor-to-ceiling heights and adjustments required for the second escalator, running from second to third floors. Graphic produced with Revit and Photoshop.

The ground floor offers substantial open areas and hallways that can be used for indoor markets, fairs, exhibits, gallery shows and public gatherings. A gym and cinema are both easily accessed on the ground floor, while maintaining separation from the public hallways. Graphic produced with Revit and Photoshop.

The second floor features first-floor overlooks and plenty of seating options in the food court and throughout public areas. Walls and ceilings finished with cost-effective sound absorption materials minimize clashing. Graphic produced with Revit and Photoshop.

The third floor is the natural final destination from the second elevator, as a result of the first 3 stages of design thinking: Empathize, Define, Ideate. The final stages are Prototype, Test & Implement, which the designer hopes to someday perform by partering with a product design or architecture firm to build the circular escalators. Graphic produced with Revit and Photoshop.

A rendering of the ground floor lobby and atrium, showing the circular escalator and finish materials as they would appear from the Market Street entrance lobby. Graphic produced with Revit and Photoshop.