San Francisco, CA
Morrison Foerster was the largest law firm in San Francisco at over 228,000 square feet and had expanded to 10-floors over their 15 year lease. Although traditional at heart, Morrison Foerster saw the need to embrace new trends related to the law firm workspace, which focused on the idea of efficiency. However, instead of moving, they signed-on for a similar lease term and chose to renovate in-place using a phased construction plan. The design brief stressed their desire to re-plan their floors to bridge the traditional law offices of the past with the efficient offices of the future, thereby allowing them to reduce their overall lease footprint by two floors. Further, they asked for an overhaul of their conference center: to create a modern, impressive image; one that would reflect their pre-eminent standing in the community, their California heritage and their global focus.
The Rottet Studio team conceptualized the space as an outer shell of glass and crisp modern materials, which when cut away, reveals warm, natural wood elements and objects. The wood elements reflect the California heritage of woodworking, referencing the sculpture and furniture of such artists as Sam Maloof and Isamu Naguchi and the architectural heritage of Bernard Maybeck. For the conference center, Rottet Studio maintained Morrison Foerster’s existing interconnecting staircase, but amplified the two story space in which it sits by introducing three new floor openings. The atrium-effect is further enhanced through the use of a new curved feature wall, clad in irregular American Walnut planks, that passes through the atrium and runs the length of the conference center on both floors.
Off the main reception, a new, 140-person “Town Hall” was constructed for multi-purpose use and for community functions. Large, Claro-wood clad pivot doors link the room to its pre-function space, extending it for larger events. Throughout the conference center, large expanses of glass, state of the art technology, and rich finishes and furnishings amplify the firm’s heritage while projecting a modern, forward thinking viewpoint all while promoting a warm, welcoming feeling.
Attorney floors were re-planned using a collaborative zone containing conference rooms and a central coffee bar. Located adjacent to the elevator lobby and restrooms, this zone serves as a “hub” for impromptu meetings and gatherings. Staff space utilizes a great deal of glass – both transparent and translucent – to enhance access to views and natural light, and promote communication. Furthering the idea of communication amongst employees, legal secretary and paralegal workstations were positioned in central locations to service several attorneys whose offices are located along the perimeter of the space.
Sustainability is a major concern of the firm and the Rottet Studio team worked closely with the general contractor and MEP engineer to apply for Gold certification within the U.S. Building Council’s LEED rating system.
Lauren Rottet, FAIA, FIIDA
David Davis, AIA
Mark Borkowski, AIA, LEED AP
DeeDee Sanchez, AIA, LEED AP
Enrique Vela, AIA