February 8, 2012

The Arquitectonica Redesigned 201 Folsom Street Rendering Scoop

201 Folsom Arquitectonica Design

Arquitectonica blows the 725 doors off the old Heller Manus design for Tishman Speyer’s development at 201 Folsom. And as promised, we’ve got the rendering and design scoop.

The 80 foot full-lot podium is gone, instead two podium buildings topped with park-like outdoor areas for residents rise on the northeast (Folsom and Main) and southwest corners of the site while the two towers rise on the northwest (Folsom and Beale) and southeast corners with pathways and green space between.

201 Folsom Arquitectonica Design

Continue on for a few more renderings, design details and links...

201 Folsom Arquitectonica Design

Once again, the two towers of 201 Folsom will still rise 38 and 43 stories, but instead of 725 units, the new plans call for 671 units with 12 studios, 234 one-bedrooms, 333 two-bedrooms and 92 threes across the four buildings.

201 Folsom Arquitectonica Design

Per the terms of Planning's approval, Tishman Speyer currently has until September 3, 2012 to commence work on the project, the "sister" to Tishman's Infinty across the street.

201 Folsom: The Revised Plans For The Two New Towers To Rise [SocketSite]
201 Folsom: Three More Years To Contemplate And Start Construction [SocketSite]

First Published: February 8, 2012 6:00 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

External aesthetic is important and this is definitely an improvement over the original design. However, I hope the floor plan designs will be better than those in the Infinity next door. I have several friends who own units in the high rise towers and they’ve all complained that they just are not functional.

Posted by: Willow at February 8, 2012 7:52 AM

I can't imagine the shape of these towers allows for a functional layout. It always frustrates me to see the full glass, non square footprint in a dense city like our own.

Though, it looks far better from the ground in these renderings.

Posted by: Rob at February 8, 2012 8:49 AM

Also.. the "green space" in between the towers will never get used. That's where people take their dogs to shit. Designers must be out of their mind to think that people look forward to sitting in what is just short of an outdoor hotel lobby.

Posted by: Rob at February 8, 2012 8:53 AM

For the morning architecture porn, I salute you socketsite.com.

Posted by: kg at February 8, 2012 9:00 AM

Well done, SocketSite! Nice scoop. I wonder about the color of the glass. It's so muted here that I wonder if the actual color is yet to be determined. It almost looks like they just want to hint at green or gray glass of some type. So far, so good though!

Posted by: Turin at February 8, 2012 9:09 AM

@Rob, as a current Infinity resident I can tell you the outdoor space could be a great asset to 201 Folsom; one that the Infinity doesn't have (but residents really wish we did).

Posted by: J. R. at February 8, 2012 9:30 AM

Does anyone know if this project will also have a one to one deeded parking space for each unit like the infinity?

Posted by: Y.J. at February 8, 2012 9:37 AM

Seems like the ground-level green space will spend a good deal of time in shade, although that one particular rooftop spot should catch sunlight almost all day long, no?

Posted by: The Chief (tm) at February 8, 2012 9:41 AM

Wow...modernism lives. I love it!

Posted by: Snark17 at February 8, 2012 10:03 AM

"Actual", I take back my previous comment. In the second pic from the top, west is towards the right, is it not? (At first I thought that was the south.) If so, that rooftop in the foreground will be in the sun only after it emerges from the shadow of the tower in the afternoon. Still, not bad. The other rooftop catches some sun in the AM, but the ground-level almost never, despite what the picture shows.

Posted by: The Chief (tm) at February 8, 2012 10:26 AM

what's the expected time-frame on completion on a project of this size following ground-breaking?

Posted by: looking at February 8, 2012 11:02 AM

@Willow, I definitely agree with you. Majority of the floorplans at the infinity are not functional at all. The living room layout (in most units) is terrible!

With that said, I have new hopes for this 201 folsom project. I love the new renderings so far. Reminds me of downtown Vancouver, BC.

Posted by: Palms at February 8, 2012 11:09 AM

WAY better than the previous design. I like that there are lots of balconies and they appear to be big enough to be usable.

Posted by: lyqwyd at February 8, 2012 11:54 AM

Hmmm... the rooftops in the renderings are beveled and smooth. Have the architects just omitted prosaic details like HVAC cabins? are they cleverly hidden? Or, is the building so green that it doesn't need this stuff at all...?

Posted by: around1905 at February 8, 2012 12:09 PM

How do these new towers affect the views of the Infinity units?

Posted by: lolcat_94123 at February 8, 2012 12:11 PM

Love the subtle setbacks and the integrated balconies. If they extruded these to be 300% taller, then we'd really have something.

Posted by: James at February 8, 2012 12:13 PM

"How do these new towers affect the views of the Infinity units"

Well, any unit with a western view is going to have towers blocking a huge portion of their view...and thus unit prices on that side of the building will take a bit of a hit. But any smart buyer knew that these were coming sooner or later so shouldn't be disappointed.

Next up will be the 450 units at Fremont and Beale...and then more units when the temporary terminal is removed. It's going to get crowded there!

Posted by: anon at February 8, 2012 1:14 PM


Is this before or after value engineering? This is better than the previous design though I was hoping for something at least equal to the Infinity. A little more asymmetry perhaps? That's what I've grown to admire from Arquitectonica designs.

If they go for a green window treatment this could look like a small fragment of the Emerald City, especially adjacent to the Infinity.


"I can't imagine the shape of these towers allows for a functional layout. It always frustrates me to see the full glass, non square footprint in a dense city like our own."

Only the top is curvy. Four floors down and all the way to the foot the cross section is basically square with rounded corners. So with the exception of the corner rooms this design will allow floorplans almost as efficient as a true square building.

So maybe Arquitectonica is on to something here: a building that looks curvy but lives square.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at February 8, 2012 1:15 PM

Hate to say it, but the design reminds me of the Oracle campus in Redwood Shores. And if that glass has any green tint, even more so...

Posted by: Can't think of cool name at February 8, 2012 1:22 PM

I appreciate all the comments on how superior this design is to the prior one. This is the best looking design to be seen in these parts. Naysayers be damned. No boxes, no bay windows, no victoriana flourishes, thoroughly modern but not cold. Any green space is desired, with or w/o direct sunlight.

Posted by: soma at February 8, 2012 3:29 PM

Wish we (Infinity) had the rooftop outdoor space.

Posted by: I Res at February 8, 2012 3:31 PM

With all of this development this neighborhood could use a decent grocery store and perhaps a children's playground.

Posted by: d_b at February 8, 2012 3:41 PM

Love the density. Build it.

A tiny chunk of view is gonna disappear for the ones in the hills from BV Park, Corona Heights, Upper Market, Dolores Heights, some of the upper NV and other Laidleys. ORH already took its pound of flash. One day we won't even see the BB. Sigh.

Maybe we should all chip in a few Ks each to buy up all the semi-empty parcels left before we get our BB views blocked forever ;)

Posted by: lol at February 8, 2012 4:09 PM

Given the very low proportion of 3 BRs in any of these towers, are there really that many children in this neighborhood?

These are significantly better than the previous design but are way too office-y for my taste. And I think Infinity is more interesting, if less functional.

Posted by: shza at February 8, 2012 4:16 PM

@d_b: I don't know anything about playgrounds, but there's a Whole Foods 3/4 of a mile away, and a Safeway about a mile. Probably better served than most neighborhoods in SF.

Posted by: R at February 8, 2012 4:35 PM

^^^There's a big playground at Yerba Buena that's slightly closer than that Wholefoods. But I imagine d_b is talking about something closer -- I don't consider that the same 'hood. And you're definitely driving if you're doing your shopping at those places. Fine for a weekly shop but one typical benefit of urban living is the ability to to walk down to the corner to pick something up for that night's cooking.

Posted by: shza at February 8, 2012 4:43 PM

Curious - are the roof spaces going unused at the top?

Posted by: ph_goat at February 8, 2012 5:13 PM

Am I the only one who likes the old design more? The new ones look like squished Infinity buildings. The whole area will look boringly repetitive.

Posted by: Fish at February 8, 2012 5:13 PM

Count me in Fish,

I don't see why people are gaga over this design. It's really rather mundane...and it could be anywhere...Atlanta...Houston...there is nothing distinctive to SF about it.

Posted by: inmycountry at February 8, 2012 5:43 PM

There's currently a local market at Howard and Spear, two blocks away. Not much for playgrounds, but there's open space the Embarcadero, also two blocks away. There are some local services nearby, but it's currently pretty quiet after dark. I believe the intent is to liven up Folsom St at the end of the Transbay Center project.

This area has no public schools whatsoever, and very few grammar school aged children. Maybe a good use of a pier once the America's Cup is done with them. Or it could be the old, "Hey kid, go play on the freeway."

Posted by: elbee at February 8, 2012 6:54 PM

I like this "squished Infinity" look. I hope the glass color is the same as The Millennium.

Posted by: ILikeIt at February 8, 2012 7:50 PM

I don't really understand the interest in this design. It defies the urban aesthetic in such a cheap and hasty way. Why so much glass? How does adding soft corners make it unique or important? How soon will this one be considered one of the drab and unappealing highrise structures that currently plague our confused cityscape.

In addition, I think that any green space that isn't public space is destined to be underutilized and poorly mistaken.

Posted by: Andreas at February 8, 2012 9:13 PM

Happy the "replacement parking" is history. Also very pleased to see the family-friendly (or multi-roommate friendly) 2-bed and 3-bed units. Most of all ok king forward to the millions in property taxes that could be leveraged via the Pilot Infrastructure Financing District to build out streetscapes and parks. Only ding ... It'd be better if this wasn't a SUD that has inconsistent planning codes compared to Rincon Hill Plan Area and Transbay Redevelopment Area. Cool stuff though... We've got 2 buildings already under construction in Rincon Hill will this be the next or will 45 Lansing get moving next as expected?

Posted by: Jamie at February 8, 2012 11:03 PM

What uses will the commercial space have? Tishman Speyer had trouble filling the commercial space at the Infinity; and so, has ended up with a dental office on the corner of Folsom and Main Streets. One of the restaurants in another commercial space is not open yet. InfinityResidents would concur that a neighborhood cafe and other commercial spaces that would serve as meeting places and to increase foot traffic, especially, on weekends would be a real asset. I hope that the City planners can designate particular commercial uses that would serve those purposes.

Posted by: MLB at February 9, 2012 8:29 AM

Hope the curves allow for good floorplans because curves on Infinity look great on outside but floorplan is gre..atly sacrificed. I still think that hood is without a soul and wluld never live there.

Posted by: kory at February 9, 2012 8:32 AM

"Happy the "replacement parking" is history"


What about the .5 parking requirements in the area?

Posted by: Ted T at February 9, 2012 8:39 AM

@kory I agree. Definitely not much to do in the immediate area... something that I think the Transbay Center will eventually help with, but also... less private courtyards. The win:win situation is more public space, worthy of a crowd or two. Unfortunately I think that Mission Bay is already strides ahead of this little stretch of city.

Posted by: Andreas at February 9, 2012 9:20 AM

Kory, yeah, there is not much in the immediate area, sure... But the Ferry Building is very close, and it is easy to walk to North Beach, Union Square, SoMa, South Beach, etc. Not to mention some of the best weather in SF and easy access to public transportation (Caltrain, BART, MUNI) and freeways.

Posted by: anon at February 9, 2012 9:41 AM

Thiis would look much better with one tower stacked on top of the other - i.e. one tall & graceful tower rather than two stocky ones. Better views, more space between buildings, etc.

Alas, planning and their myopic fear of heights. It's collective lateral bulk they should be worried about: A cluster of towers all the same height makes the skyline congeal into an unattractive lump - just like the financial district did after the 500' height limit was imposed. Same, same, same, no variety.

Posted by: rubber_chicken at February 9, 2012 9:49 AM


Tee-hee. Joke's on us.

Posted by: MM2 at February 9, 2012 1:23 PM

Another beautiful building and some green space is better than the current parking lot despite the fact that it will block some views and some sun. Does it include any new green, gray or brown space for residents with dogs? (This should be a requirement!) A casual restaurant, cafe or a grocery store would be awesome!

Posted by: Village perspective at September 19, 2012 12:40 PM

Posted by: SocketSite at June 12, 2013 7:32 AM

Post a comment

(required - will be published)

(required - will not be published, sold, or shared)

(optional - your "Posted by" name will link to this URL)

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)

Continue Perusing SocketSite:

« 201 Folsom: The Revised Plans For The Two New Towers To Rise | HOME | Two-Year Payout For Evicted Tenants Accelerated And Approved »