Goodby Silverstein & Partners

Evolution of Office Design

Class A office space gets creative in this open plan with framed City views.

Get Creative

650 California, also known as the Hartford Building, is a classic 34-story tower designed by SOM and completed in 1964. It is a fine example of its type with precast panels lending elegant relief and shadow to the tower’s silhouette. Unlike the historic industrial buildings south of Market Street, this venerable Financial District address didn’t immediately fit the bill for a creative, collaborative workplace. But this was the challenge put to Jensen, who was asked to transform two floors for advertising powerhouse Goodby Silverstein & Partners.

Dressing Down

Peeling back the layers of conventional corporate office finishes, Jensen ripped out the ceiling tile, exposed the mechanical systems, and stripped down the floor, to reveal a material character that sparks the imagination. The exposed concrete floor is simply finished, letting the markings and wear of previous tenants add character to the space. These excavated surfaces made for a louder space acoustically. To dampen sound within the space, Jensen wrapped the center core walls with an undulated assembly of insulation, fabric, and vertical wood.

In the Clouds

The client wanted feel of literally working in the clouds, taking advantage of the office’s birds-eye vantage point. Jensen introduced a series of perimeter rooms highlighting the views framed by the building’s distinctively shaped precast panels. Each unique room puts the viewer in a different relationship to the city outside, from intimate lounges to bleacher seating with a vertiginous view to the street 30 stories below.

Collaborative Environment

It is almost a cliché for an architect to talk about the client as a creative collaborator, but there is an undeniable truth: Jensen’s best and most satisfying work has happened with clients who have a strong point of view. Creative organizations like GS&P stand out in this regard. These clients are ambitious and forward-thinking in their goals, and open to unconventional approaches to getting there. The GS&P team was a true partner, infusing the design process and the resulting project with their enthusiasm and inspiring irreverence.

Goodby Silverstein & Partners
San Francisco


Project Leads
Mark Jensen
Dean Orr
Scott Davis
Project Team
Ricardo Gonzalez
Lauren Takeda
Emily Gosack


A.G.E. Consulting
Johanna Grawunder


GCI General Contractors


Mariko Reed
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