Case Study

Arc Light Co. Apartments Historic Electric Company Warehouse Gets New Life as Contemporary Lofts

San Francisco, California, USA

The Challenge

Arc Light Co. originally served as the historic California Electric Light Company, Station B. To transform an underutilized and distressed historic site into residential units, the HKS design team was charged with adding four additional stories of new construction to the existing historic brick expression in a way that revitalized the site but didn’t overpower the existing structure.

The Design Solution

The design melds old and new in a clean, modern glass expression that respectfully contrasts the existing brickwork, gabled front and masonry walls, while keeping the industrial feel of the former electric company warehouse. The street façade of the live/work units on the ground floor and main entrance with large glass openings that carry the glass expression down from above further integrates the buildings’ historic elements with the contemporary look that feels completely at home in San Francisco’s South End Historic District. Amenities include a north- and south-facing roof deck with a custom spa, grilling area and fitness center, pet-friendly interior courtyards, enclosed garage parking and a two-story restaurant located within the restored historic brick-lined interior.

The Design Impact

Arc Light Co. was the first residential building in San Francisco to receive LEED for Homes Mid-Rise Gold Certification, as well as LEED Platinum (LEED BD+C: Homes (v2008). It also participated in the California Multifamily New Homes Program, the Go Solar SF Program and the New Solar Homes Program.

Project Features

  • 94 residential units (a mix of lofts, studios and one- and two-bedroom market-rate apartments)
  • Restaurant
  • Roof deck with Bay Bridge views
  • Fitness center
  • Parking garage
  • Solar PV systems
  • Energy-efficient appliances
  • Locally produced, energy-efficient glass
  • Insulated windows
  • High-efficiency water irrigation system
  • High-efficiency water irrigation system
  • Electric vehicle recharging stations
  • Exclusive use of City CarShare vehicles parked on the premises
  • LEED Platinum certified