Spotlight on WRNS Studio and Their Work in the Bay Area—and Beyond

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By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo / Published by Dwell
With a varied portfolio that includes projects ranging from the Airbnb headquarters to a contemporary parking garage in San Francisco's Mission Bay, WRNS Studio has played an important role in the state of modern architecture in the Bay Area—but also across the U.S.

Founded in San Francisco by Jeff Warner, John A. Ruffo, Sam Nunes, and Bryan Shiles, the Bay Area firm is known for the variety of their identity-rich, site-specific projects—as well as their commitment to sustainability. 

Continue reading for a look at some of their standout projects.

Cover photo by Tim Griffith

1. Airbnb Headquarters

Location: San Francisco, California

WRNS Studio was hired by Airbnb to expand their existing headquarters located in a historic warehouse building in San Francisco's South of Market (SOMA) neighborhood. They were asked to create a work space that would reflect the spirit of the company—that is, design-forward entrepreneurs focused on bringing the world together. The firm helped them accommodate their rapid expansion by designing scalable "neighborhoods": work spaces that can be opened up and grow with the company. Social spaces and smaller usable nooks and benches are used to thread the office together and enhance the community vibe, forming a creative office space that embodies the company's culture. 

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2. Adobe Utah Campus

Location: Lehi, Utah

When WRNS Studio was commissioned to design a 280,000-square-foot Utah Campus for Adobe Systems, it was the first time they had worked on a high-tech facility for a Fortune 500 company. Situated in the Utah Valley near the picturesque Lake Utah, the long and narrow 38-acre site is bracketed by the Wasatch and Oquirrh Mountains. The long sweep of the LEED Gold-certified structure complements the dramatic landscape and integrates the building into it. 

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3. Boeddeker Park

Location: San Francisco, California

Set in the Tenderloin—one of San Francisco's densest neighborhood's—the club house at Boeddeker Park was meant to meet the needs of its surrounding community by serving as a "living room" for the neighborhood. The project was part of The Trust for Public Land's initiative to rebuild three parks in high-need areas, and WRNS Studio was engaged through Public Architecture's 1+ pro bono program. The firm provided work at a discounted rate, donating overhead and profit. The 4,000-square-foot clubhouse is covered with scale-like zinc panels that rise to a 30 feet overhead on one end, with a tail-like roof "monitor"on the other. 

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4. 500 Santana Row

Location: San Jose, California

As part of the Santana Row complex within proximity of Silicon Valley, 500 Santana Row is a mixed-use office building designed to appeal to tech companies looking for an urban campus-like experience. Currently leased to the big data analytics software company Splunk, the structure is targeting LEED Gold certification and includes a 36,000-square-foot open-plan interior office space with high ceilings to provide ample natural lighting. The integration of the indoor/outdoor spaces provides tenants with informal gathering spaces. 

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5. Mission Bay Parking Structure

Location: San Francisco, California

Located within San Francisco’s Mission Bay, this 1,420-square-foot, seven-level parking structure was designed to give passersby an urban pause—and the unique structure does just that. The north and east facades, which border a public plaza, are clad in perforated aluminum panels designed to evoke California's redwood forests. The southern facade is set on a busy street, incorporating a deeply canted and white plaster wall designed to engage sunlight and shadow. The ground level is recessed, creating a covered pedestrian walkway and making the structure appear to float above the ground. 

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