3-Minute Interview: Designer of 50 U.N. Plaza talks about renovation of historic building

Mark Donahue of HKS Architects is the lead designer for a five-story federal building at 50 United Nations Plaza, which is being renovated for use by the General Services Administration and will accommodate up to 700 people. It’s expected to open in January 2014.

This building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. What makes it so significant? This is a building that was built in the Depression. It was at that time also a government project. It created jobs, and it got the local economy moving. It’s been in continual occupation since 1936. The original architect, Arthur Brown Jr., also designed City Hall.

The $122 million project is seeking to be the first GSA site with LEED platinum certification. What does that involve? The project was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. With that funding came some policy decisions that really affected the sustainable goals of the project. What’s amazing about this project is that it was able to meet or exceed those goals, and it did so mainly with the technologies that were available in 1936. The most difficult part was having to improve energy efficiency by about 30 percent.

What will this building do for the area? The first thing that it does is it puts people on the plaza. … It just brings energy back to the street.

aburack@sfexaminer.com

3-Minute InterviewFeaturesLocalPersonalities

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Asian American youth report anger, sadness and fear over surge in racist behavior

Survey finds about 80 percent experienced bullying or verbal harassment

Catholic church leads protest of COVID-19 restrictions

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone led march from City Hall, outdoor masses

Court prevents Trump administration from blocking WeChat pending hearing

Late Saturday night, a federal judge in San Francisco issued a preliminary… Continue reading

San Francisco Symphony, Opera musicians settle contracts

Performers’ salaries modified due to inability to play live

The first ever virtual Emmys were the perfect awards for our times

By Meredith Blake Los Angeles Times “Succession,” “Watchmen” and “Schitt’s Creek” were… Continue reading

Most Read