Newsletter | Nov/Dec 2011

OWA Members Tour City College of San Francisco Latest Campus Building Under Construction

by Mignon O'Young

Teresa Sevilla, Gilda Peters, Suzan Swabacker, Sandra Miller, Joanne Winship, Darlene Jang, and Leslie Golden meet up for the construction tour.

Aah, the constant warning beeps from the JLGs and the piercing sounds of the table saws. It sure feels like home to be walking around a construction site again! It’s been a while since I have walked around with my safety vest and hard hat, but thanks to fellow OWA member Darlene Jang of Barcelon & Jang, Architecture, I recently had the opportunity to do so while catching up with fellow members and touring her latest project under construction: the City College of San Francisco’s (CCSF) Chinatown North Beach Campus.

The first OWA tour took place on November 7th. I, along with nine other OWA members, got a sneak peek into the creation of the newest high rise in the Chinatown/North Beach neighborhoods on November 9th. Each tour was led by two of the three architectural principals: Darlene Jang and Wayne Barcelon of Barcelon & Jang, Architecture, and Jennifer Devlin of EHDD Architecture. Barcelon & Jang, Architecture is a joint venture partner with EHDD Architecture in the designing of CCSF’s latest buildings which are on track to achieving LEED Gold certification and in the coordination of the design and consulting team members.

The 145,000 sf campus is split into a 14 story high rise located at the corner of Kearny Street and Washington Street and a 4 story annex building located at the corner of Washington Street and Columbus Avenue. The high rise is clad in prefabricated panels and glazed curtain walls accented by horizontal metal fins. Most notably, its podium’s exterior elevations are highlighted with giant photographic murals which reference Chinese culture and lands. The main building consists of administration offices, the library, classrooms, and a multi-purpose room that opens up to a roof garden terrace. If you’re lucky enough to make it to the top floors, then you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of Telegraph Hill and the Bay beyond, as well as Chinatown, Nob Hill and beyond.

The L-shaped annex building is clad in materials similar to those in the high rise building. It contains a state-of-the-art Culinary Arts and Hospitality Department, a demonstration kitchen classroom, and a multi-purpose auditorium with retractable bleachers which can make way for banquets and large events. On Columbus Avenue, the building opens up to the sidewalk and welcomes the public into the school with a ground level cafe where students can hone their culinary talents and share their hospitality skills with the community.

With eight years of involvement with the CCSF project, Darlene has interfaced with the various user groups of the campus as well as the various community organizations. While it hasn’t always been easy along the way (think controversies!), it has been very fulfilling for her to see the project arrive at where it is today. By spring of 2012, the project should be completed and available for move in. But of course, we all know that architectural projects never end at date of final completion signed off by the building department! Congratulations to Barcelon & Jang, Architecture and EHDD Architecture for creating such a beautiful building which sits nicely in the neighborhood.

Article by OWA member Mignon O’Young, Founder and Editor of Green Architecture and Building Report (, and Principal of Mignon O’Young Consulting.

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