Live / Hack


Final Review is done and with that comes the completion of Spring Quarter and the conclusion of my double quarter studio experience. Twenty plus weeks of rigorous design work culminated in the Center for the Innovation of Everyday Objects, an exploration into contemporary hacking culture and the relationship between housing and workspaces in a live-make environment.

As the name implies, the goal of CIEDO is to provide a rapidly expanding community of tinkerers and hackers in San Francisco with the spatial and physical resources they need to freely explore and create within their medium. Through a unique integrated live-work style environment, the project fosters interaction and transparency within the community through a variety of open concept workspaces and social spaces. The project targets innovators, do-it-yourselfers, life hackers, and inventors who are seeking to improve upon everyday objects and/or use them as a catalyst to develop and launch new ideas. By providing residents with the resources they need, both in their private and working lives, they can commit to their ideas and turn them into reality. We seeked to replicate the type of backyard inventing and garage tinkering style of making that has led to impactful innovation as well as wildly successful companies such as Apple, HP, and Microsoft and countless startups.

The nature of hacking requires a variety of social conditions and lighting environments that are addressed through spatial considerations and intentional orientation of specific workspaces and labs throughout the project. A combination of spatial flexibility and varying degrees of transparency between individual workspaces combine to create a wide variety of working conditions, providing individuals with a mixture of options they can choose from based on their ideal working environment.


3rd street view crude


Iso Rendering with Outlined Building and Faded Background



Our site is located in the up and coming Dogpatch district of San Francisco’s central waterfront, a revitalized former industrial neighborhood that maintains much of it’s distinctive original industrial character. Dogpatch is an international hub for the maker community, Seeing as though it has just recently began transitioning into a residential area it lacks some of the more common social infrastructure seen in other parts of the city. The site itself is located at the corner of 3rd street and 19th street, and is bounded by Illinois street on the East. A transit line (MUNI) runs along 3rd street and provides a direct connection with South of Market and the Financial District in Downtown San Francisco. Across Illinois street, what is currently a decommissioned shipyard will be converted into Crane Cove Park and will add to the already exciting network of open space along the bayshore.




We began the design process by examining the site through it’s environmental and contextual characteristics. San Francisco’s mild climate afforded us the ability to incorporate a variety of outdoor space into the project. BY incorporating operable windows, we took advantage of the city’s reliable sea breeze to natural ventilation. We initially broke down the site into two primary program components. Housing was placed on the east side (the park condition) to take advantage of views, morning light, sound, and for privacy concerns. The makerspaces were placed on the 3rd street side, engaging the urban condition and adding a level of activity to 3rd street.


Directly engaged with the public, the ground floor features broad, cascading steps of public workspace, a WiFi  cafe at the Illinois Street level, and a bike kitchen at the 3rd street level offering a variety of bicycle related services to residents and the community. There is a bike share station on the ground floor, providing much needed bicycle infrastructure to Dogpatch while encouraging recreational riding as well as commuting to downtown San Francisco via bike on the soon-to-be-completed Bay Trail connection.




Above the ground floor are a variety of makerspaces. The Creative Modification Lab facilitates large scale hands on hacking in a messy communal environment. It is connected to the ground floor physically via a communicating stair and visually as an open mezzanine over part of the public workspace below. Above the Creative Modification Lab is the Electronics Lab, where residents can work on circuits, computer hardware, and other electronic equipment. The most important makerspace may be the Digital Fabrication Lab. Here, a variety of resources are available for resident’s use, including laser cutters, 3D printers, and commercial grade plotters. Because of the nature of the work being done at CIEDO, someone might need a part that either doesn’t exist or is not available commercially, so they have to design and fabricate their own. This ensures that there are no limits to the making that goes on in the physical makerspaces below. Also integrated into the “making” portion of the project is a luxurious software lab where more traditional hacking takes place.

Each of these programs were intentionally oriented based on daylighting and transparency requirements. Additionally, there is a high degree of variability within these spaces, giving resident’s a wide range of options based on their ideal work environment preferences. Many of these makerspaces enjoy strong visual connections to the outside and most have some level of access to outdoor space. A large open air testing lab serves as unscripted space for testing and prototyping of objects outdoors. A number of punctures through the floor plates of each level create distinctive and important visual connections between stories. There are many moments where resident’s paths might intersect. These moments foster interaction and engagement between people, and allow people to share information across a variety of mediums.


Makerspace (with lens flare)



Of course, the project is an examination into the live-work concept of development and an exploration into the relationship between living and working. We questioned how the two can be reconciled while selectively providing enough differentiation to where you don’t feel as though you are living in your office. There is a noticeable facade response between the living and making portions of the project, which is a reflection of program related privacy requirements. In contrast to the transparent nature of much of the project, the need for privacy on the residential end of the project is further addressed through single and double occupancy units with private bathrooms and generously sized operable windows that take advantage of morning light and daytime breezes. These private areas share a common lounge style “living room” and enjoy access to outdoor balconies and a large rooftop park style terrace with a garden. Between the living and working program on the common levels are luxurious communal kitchens and dining spaces, with direct access to outdoor space, daylighting, and natural ventilation. These spaces act as the social glue that holds the two specialized program areas together, creating an open transition area featuring views, a variety of dining options, and a large communal table. The kitchens are crucial to promoting a close knit community and fosters interaction and discussion among residents, helping to inspire and push their ideas forward.

Technical Details

Structurally, the project relies on a straightforward concrete frame gravity load system. Most of the lateral force is resisted by egress towers that act as shear walls. It was important to maintain an open concept environment, and as such, the lateral load systems had to be hidden, sometimes in plain sight (as is the case with the egress towers). Columns are set back from the sidewalk in such a way that allows for the glazing to pass in front of it, allowing a continuous glazing condition along the sidewalk at street level.  The structure and the building’s mechanical systems are selectively expressed to maintain an industrial character. The floor plates are precast hollow core slabs with an embedded radiant heating system, which utilizes solar hot water from panels on the roof.

The building’s envelope is sealed through the use of a curtain wall rain screen assemblies clad with zinc composite panels. The cladding is hung on a two way girt system in front of a two inch air gap, followed by continuous mineral wool insulation, vapor/moisture barriers, and cold formed steel framing as a support wall.

The project also features a rain garden on the roof of the housing portion of the project, where food is grown and rainwater is collected and filtered. PV panels provide a nearly 30% offset of total energy usage for the project. The building’s screen consists of aluminum tubes that act as louvers, shading the southern and western faces of the building. The maker spaces and housing spaces are naturally ventilated, and a number of punctures and voids in the building’s massing allows for the penetration for daylight deep into the building’s important social spaces.


Elevation Rendering


wall section



Content created by Daniel Williams and Erin Coffey


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