Rock On

MVRDV reveals a geologically-inspired tower for the San Francisco waterfront

The Canyon will be one of four new buildings for the collaboratively master planned Mission Rock neighborhood in San Francisco. (Courtesy Binyan Studios)

Dutch architecture firm MVRDV has released the first look at the design for its contribution to the new master-planned Mission Rock neighborhood in San Francisco. Called The Canyon, the craggy tower was created in collaboration with the local Perry Architects and inspired by the natural rock formations found throughout California. The 23-story, 380,000-square-foot tower references both San Francisco’s urban grid and its hilly natural landscape, bringing down craggy forms to the flat waterfront, and will feature a variety of offices, residences, and an abundance of open terraces.

The Canyon is part of a four-building development being jointly planned by MVRDV along with Studio Gang, WORKac, and Henning Larsen. Each firm was brought on early in the so far 12-year planning and design process to collaboratively devise an overall scheme for the 28-acre site (previously being used for parking), as well as individual buildings that are intended to fit together yet remain each studio’s own. SCAPE is also creating a five-acre park for Mission Rock.

A tower with an irregular brown facade.

“We wanted to establish a dialogue between the waterfront, the ballpark, and the robust Californian rock formations,” said architect Nathalie de Vries of the design for The Canyon. (Courtesy Pixelflakes)

The neighborhood is being developed by Tishman Speyer in collaboration with the San Francisco Giants, whose ballpark will be set in dialogue with the new towers akin to the approach taken by the Rams and the Colorado Rockies elsewhere. The Canyon is designed to be an entry point to Mission Rock and the “fracture” in its design makes it so that the northeast block acts as a separate building with its own entrance while remaining connected to the other amenities in the tower. The intent, according to MVRDV co-founder Nathalie de Vries was to create a “dynamic design with a great vibe.” Mission Rock is scheduled to break ground in 2020.

MVRDV principal Fokke Moerel will be leading the morning keynote, “The Skin is the Message,” at Facades+ LA on November 14.

Related Stories