Mission Rock Development in San Francisco has been under construction since last year, and prefabrication is an important part of building the project. The 28-acre mixed-use development, valued at $ 2.5 billion, is a public-private partnership between the Port of San Francisco, the San Francisco Giants and commercial real estate company Tishman Speyer.

Prefabricated building systems company Clark Pacific worked with owners and design firms like Henning Larsen, MVRDV, Studio Gang and WORKac to come up with a prefabricated solution that also matched the aesthetics of the project, adding natural and iconic Californian scenes to the exterior.

Permission granted by the Port of San Francisco

Clark Pacific carried out the design work for free, with an agreement that the prefabrication contract would be awarded if the project’s design goals and budget can be met. It has since been awarded the project.

When Mission Rock is fully built in 2026, it will be on the San Francisco waterfront and a bridge from the Giants’ Oracle Park. It offers up to 2.8 million square meters and includes:

  • 1,200 residential units, 40% of which will be affordable.
  • Improvements to public access to the water.
  • Resistance to 66 inches of sea level rise and adaptive features.
  • 8 hectares of new parks and open spaces.
  • Up to 1.4 million square meters of office space.
  • More than 200,000 square meters of retail and manufacturing space.
  • Refurbishment of the historic pier 48.

For example, elevated loading ramps have been designed so that they can be used as pedestrian paths when the water level rises.

Jim Lewis, director of sales at Clark Pacific, said the early collaboration between the prefabrication team and the Mission Rock team was similar to the way the company worked at Apple’s “Starship” headquarters in Cupertino, California, and was necessary to a design to reach. Prefab house balance.

The challenge is to make these projects constructible and still aesthetically pleasing to the customer. A large team of engineers and designers plays a key role.

“We have integrators in various disciplines at Clark Pacific,” he said.

As part of that collaboration, Lewis said, the customer starts with a list of must-haves and then the team goes from there.

“And then we do a deep dive internally,” he said, “to see if we can change materials, change thicknesses, change a little detail, change the window profile … and then we work on it.”

Efficient and beautiful

Using prefabricated houses on such high profile projects should help expose the misconception that prefabricated houses are always useful, according to Lewis.

“It’s totally changing,” he said. “You can make iconic architecture and have it pre-fabricated. You just have to start early.”

The COVID-19 pandemic naturally presented a challenge to the process as many of the typical face-to-face presentations and meetings were virtual, he said. The gatherings, which were held in person, had to be carefully planned to comply with social distancing and other safety guidelines.

But when it comes to protecting against COVID-19, prefabrication also offers some advantages. If a significant portion of a project is prefabricated off-site, fewer on-site craftsmen are required.

Often, Lewis said, there is little control over who goes in and out of a project site. This is easier to control in a prefabricated “production bubble”.

“It’s a game changer,” he said.