San Francisco Federal Building


Designed by Morphosis Architects, this project incorporates LEED sustainable design goals, is part of the Design Excellence Program, and conforms to the General Services Administration’s (GSA) security standards of a Level C criterion (which includes blast resistant design).

This project consolidated government agencies scattered in leased spaces and has become the cornerstone for development in the Mid-Market/Civic Center area of San Francisco. As a result, the new facility is comprised of four sections containing 575,000 sf. of usable space. The building’s four sections include an 18-floor reinforced concrete shear wall structure, a one-story childcare center, a five-story structural steel braced frame bar building, and a freestanding pavilion café made of reinforced concrete. In this case, the GSA Security Criteria recommended a minimum 20-foot standoff distance between the buildings and parked vehicles.

The following are considerations for the design components of the Federal Office Building:

  • Perimeter Security
  • Exterior Envelope
  • Progressive Collapse
  • Parking Garage
  • Loading Dock/Mailroom
  • Main Lobby
  • Child Care Center
  • Annex Building Lobby
  • Emergency Egress
  • Pavilion Retail Space

Blast-mitigating design of the buildings was performed for each section, loading scenario, and structural type.


Hinman and the design team collaborated from early design stages to implement transparent security through architectural measures. For example, the massing of the building distanced critical and occupied areas from high-risk locations, and the site architecture and plaza furniture provide an innate anti-ram perimeter protection.

Simultaneously, Hinman completed detailed blast resistant design of the building for each section, loading scenario, and structural type. By balancing the requirements of the GSA’s Design Excellence Program, we included innovative sustainable design features, resulting in GreenBlast™ design. Specifically, GreenBlast™ design is the integration of blast resistant design and sustainable concepts. So, following these guidelines provides protection for the built and natural environment. For instance, an example of this innovative approach was used in the operable window design. By modeling shock-front wave on the building face, Hinman developed a system to control response and failure of open windows.