On Saturday, April 2nd, 2011, Paul Woolford, the design director at HOK San Francisco, presented one of most striking projects of this office – the restoration and greening of the San Francisco Mint, at the TED-x Presidio event. Paul spoke about the need for preserving national historic treasures, and discussed the importance of creating the most environmentally innovative National Historic Landmark in the United States, The Old San Francisco Mint, and the sustainable lessons learned that can be applied to all existing buildings.
Watch Paul’s presentation:
Guest blog post from HOK San Francisco’s Justin Kelly:
Leaders, visionaries, artists, and thinkers gathered on April 2nd at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco for TEDx Presidio, a day long symposium to showcase the latest advances in sensitive, effective politics, business, and social enterprise. When most businesses have yet to take up the tenants of business 2.0, the groundwork was being laid here for “business 3.0″, the theme of the event. Last year’s advances were shown remixed and reimagined to illuminate the path forward for the energetic minds that set the pace for others to follow. The ideas presented will help keep progress alive and well in a variety of consequential fields.
One of the underlying premises to this effort was that to continue approaching a society that operates according to our fundamental values, we must continue to reinvent our technologies and processes. And what better practitioners to lead the charge to the new new than architects, the professional imaginers and synthesizers? It was unexpected, then, when Paul Woolford, Director of Design at HOK San Francisco, took the stage and demonstrated the lessons inherent in a building completed by an American architect shortly after the end of the Civil War. Alfred B. Mullet’s San Francisco Mint building opened its doors in 1874. The wisdom of its design was convincingly proven in the great earthquake 1906. Its innovative floating foundation enabled it to ride out the disaster unscathed, while the surrounding financial district buildings were mostly leveled. When HOK was commissioned to retrofit the now-vacant building, one of the first moves made by Paul and the design team was an assessment of its existing assets. The team discovered much more than a classical facade; they found the fundamental configuration for a naturally lit, naturally ventilated building already in place. Building on the mint’s bones, HOK San Francisco was able to design what will be one of the most sustainable historical renovations in the United States, in a new life as the San Francisco Museum.
What Paul showed was that the fundamental ingredient for positive impact is simply thoughtful, sensitive design: design 1.0. Work that is well considered and well executed will endure, and will continue to teach and inspire those who take the time to see.