Photo of The George
Photo of The George
Photo of The George
Photo of The George
Photo of The George

The George

Bold, Statement Housing in San Francisco

Part of the 5M Development, a large-scale community plan for San Francisco’s historic Chronicle Site on 5th and Mission, the M2 tower is one of the city’s largest housing developments. Our design for this 21-story high rise embraces the authentic, dynamic culture of SoMa, delivering a bold statement of individuality and functionality. A mix of 302 units, the tower’s amenities appeal to a socially conscious, tech-centric community and brings much-needed housing in this evolving neighborhood.

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San Francisco, California
COMPLETED IN 2021
  • 302 units
  • 20 stories
  • 301740 sq. ft.
MARKET

Housing

DISCIPLINES

Architecture

PROJECT TYPE

High-Rise

PROJECT CONTACT

Architecture: Travis Throckmorton

Interiors: Leah Wheary

housing@ankrommoisan.com


Architecture Story

Inspired by Imperfection

Not only must our M2 design blend with the neighborhood at 5th and Mission, align with the 5M Development plan, and activate this area to become a vibrant, thriving community, it must somehow fit into the future neighborhood too. Our design challenge: Translate all these considerations into something practical, beautiful, and transcendent. Architecturally and culturally, M2’s existing neighborhood is highly diverse. A vibrant Filipino-American culture shares space, not always comfortably or equally, with some of the world’s most capitalized tech firms of Google, Facebook and Salesforce and an enviable cultural district featuring an array of art museums. Our design approach connects interior and exterior considerations, each informing the other to create a fulfilling resident experience. By analyzing the building from the inside out to determine where to position each of the 302 units and amenity spaces, we were able to fully integrate M2 into its human and physical environment, bring community value, accommodate a full spectrum of meaningful experiences, reduce the barriers between inside and outside spaces, and maintain the site’s architectural and site history. Given M2's location at a key transition point from the downtown to western SoMa, our design emphasizes the aesthetic characteristics of both areas while focusing on the human scale. Accordingly, our design evokes authenticity and a sense of place, using site-specific materials like brick and weathered metal panels that also raise the neighborhood’s design bar. Themes of craftsmanship and natural materials are layered atop traditional glass and steel elements—nostalgic grit meets fresh refinement. The concept of gradients informs our overall design language. In the case of M2, we’ve defined this aesthetic as an architectural expression that finds beauty within the imperfections of materials and accepts the cycles of growth and aging. It celebrates those marks—cracks, crevices, asymmetrical variations—that time, weather, and loving use leave behind on materials. Gradient comprises colors and materials that evolve with time; it’s expressed through materials like copper and colors inspired by ocean water and rust. M2’s body massing responds to this concept with a simple, authentic, subtle, and proportioned design. At the street level, where our stepped base design reflects adjacent building forms while interfacing with M2’s upper gradient, we used heavily textured, dark terra-cotta. Metals, such as copper, accentuates strategic areas of the base, transitioning from a warm orange to a muted green. At the upper floors, variegated colored panels add interest to the simple massing and draw visitors’ eyes upward along the height of the building.

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Interior Story

Integrated Interiors

In M2’s existing neighborhood, a vibrant Filipino-American culture shares space, not always comfortably or equally, with Google, Facebook and Salesforce and an enviable cultural district filled with art museums. Addressing this diversity, our design approach connects exterior with interior considerations, each informing the other to create a more integrated resident experience. Because our design for M2 must align with the 5M Development plan and activate the 5th and Mission area into a vibrant community—while anticipating future neighborhood needs and conditions—our challenge was translating each of these considerations into a practical, beautiful, and human-scaled space. Given M2's location at a key transition point from the downtown to western SoMa, our design emphasizes the aesthetic characteristics of both areas while inviting residents and visitors inside. The project’s goals were plentiful and equally important for our interior and exterior design: Fully integrate M2 into its human and physical environment. Deliver community value. Accommodate a full spectrum of meaningful experiences. Reduce the barriers between inside and outside spaces. Maintain the site’s architectural and site history. After modeling the best possible unit views, all the way up the tower, our final design for the units maximize views of the Bay and surrounding neighborhoods. Our window configuration not only directly responds to this view analysis, it determines each unit layout. Our lobby mezzanine helps to add amenity area and create places to socialize. To test our designs, we built out two full units in a warehouse. This helped us determine the best, most functional way to place fixtures and test interior materials. To that end, we gave the interior materials and details an industrial, modern aesthetic and gave each unit a simple, minimalist style. The windows are framed in black and they have stainless steel appliances. The units come with two material tiers that look similar and respond to the different rental price points. Ultimately, our high-level design responded to our client’s need for creativity within tight spatial and budgetary considerations. By sharing our design process, by trusting each other, our team developed a stunning design for M2.

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