American Red Cross


Bay Area Headquarters

San Francisco, California

30,000 GSF, 2790 M2

Architecture, Interior Architecture, Programming

2013 Best of Year Honoree, 2014 Inspiration Award - Honorable Mention, Work Medium Category - Merit Award

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“The team-building that this space allows is really phenomenal. The collaborative space is essential. It’s efficient, yet adds interest to the space and our employees like the variety.”

—Joe Lund, Regional Director of Operations, Gateway to the Golden State Region


Driven by necessity to serve dual purposes, this regional headquarters merged historical significance, brand and flexibility into a cohesive and responsive work environment. The non-profit’s goals were complex and a bit unusual: create a collaborative, employee-focused workspace with flexibility to transform into an emergency control center during a crisis.

The American Red Cross purchased a 1921 building in a vibrant neighborhood undergoing rebirth, and conveniently located for disaster response services. The original characteristics of the structure—previously a parking garage, retail center and church—provided unique design opportunities. Exposed wood rafters reflect the building’s history and expansive windows flood the space with daylight and views into the upper mid-Market neighborhood, while a mezzanine level offered ideal space for conferencing.

With shifting work styles and the need to transition in an emergency, the plan carefully considers work adjacencies to promote collaboration and efficiency. The new workplace, free of private offices, allows leadership and staff to interact without physical or hierarchical barriers. A high ratio of shared amenity spaces accommodate teamwork and training. The most popular destination for employees is the café; however, like all other spaces, the café adapts. In crisis mode, it is the first point of entry and orientation for disaster response teams.

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