Greening San Francisco's Old Mint

written by:
February 25, 2010

Last year I had the chance to take a press preview of the Old Mint in San Francisco. It's right downtown, just opposite the San Francisco Chronicle, and though it's unused at present, it's set to become the home of the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society. Nevermind that the building was awarded to the group some seven years ago, or that "Granite Lady" is still a good shot away from being ready for the public. The date I heard bandied about for opening was "2013" and the amount of cash needed to make up the rest of the budget was in the "tens of millions." That said, the Old Mint stands a chance to be one of the greenest museums on the books. Read the article here.

Read Full Article
  • 
  Here's a picture of the Old Mint from 1889. It still stands at the corner of Mission St. and Fifth St. in large part thanks to it's foundation, which rests of loose gravel and soil, allowing the building to roll and shift during the 1906 earthquake instead of cracking and splitting apart.
    Here's a picture of the Old Mint from 1889. It still stands at the corner of Mission St. and Fifth St. in large part thanks to it's foundation, which rests of loose gravel and soil, allowing the building to roll and shift during the 1906 earthquake instead of cracking and splitting apart.
  • 
  By reopening windows that were long sealed, and embracing the courtyard as a natural lung for the building, the Old Mint can return to the very progressive natural ventilation system that Mullet devised back in 1874.
    By reopening windows that were long sealed, and embracing the courtyard as a natural lung for the building, the Old Mint can return to the very progressive natural ventilation system that Mullet devised back in 1874.
  • 
  This rendering shows how Alfred Mullet's building--he also did the executive building next to the White House--will look when the renovation is complete. At present San Francisco is one of only two major cities without a museum dedicated to its history. Staggeringly, history-obsessed Boston is the other.
    This rendering shows how Alfred Mullet's building--he also did the executive building next to the White House--will look when the renovation is complete. At present San Francisco is one of only two major cities without a museum dedicated to its history. Staggeringly, history-obsessed Boston is the other.
  • 
  Here's a view of the Old Mint today. You can see the San Francisco Chronicle building to the south (just across Mission St.) and to the north is a recently-renovated outdoor space called Mint Plaza. An interior courtyard in the Old Mint will be open to the public free of cost, and serve as an internal lung for the building's ventilation system.
    Here's a view of the Old Mint today. You can see the San Francisco Chronicle building to the south (just across Mission St.) and to the north is a recently-renovated outdoor space called Mint Plaza. An interior courtyard in the Old Mint will be open to the public free of cost, and serve as an internal lung for the building's ventilation system.
  • 
  This diagram shows how the Old Mint will capture rainwater through a canopy system that funnels run-off into a drainage system that can be treated and stored onsite. A green roof will use up some of the water, but other functions, such as use in the plumbing system, will help ease reliance on city water.
    This diagram shows how the Old Mint will capture rainwater through a canopy system that funnels run-off into a drainage system that can be treated and stored onsite. A green roof will use up some of the water, but other functions, such as use in the plumbing system, will help ease reliance on city water.
  • 
  The building is already quite advanced in terms of passive ventilation and temperature control, but by dividing it into various occupational zones, and permitting localized climactic zones, the building can address particular heating and cooling needs without taking the whole of the structure along with it.
    The building is already quite advanced in terms of passive ventilation and temperature control, but by dividing it into various occupational zones, and permitting localized climactic zones, the building can address particular heating and cooling needs without taking the whole of the structure along with it.
  • 
  The central courtyard in the building was designed to allow daylight to penetrate to the ground floors of the building. In 1914 a new floor was built higher up, cutting off the bottom floors from daylight. Modifying that addition will permit Mullet's ideas to come back into play.
    The central courtyard in the building was designed to allow daylight to penetrate to the ground floors of the building. In 1914 a new floor was built higher up, cutting off the bottom floors from daylight. Modifying that addition will permit Mullet's ideas to come back into play.

@current / @total

Read Full Article

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...