Best Tall Residential or Hotel Building Award of Excellence: Mira, San Francisco

Margaret Cavenagh
Design Principal
Studio Gang Architects, Chicago

Carl Shannon
Senior Managing Director, Regional Director—Northern California and Seattle
Tishman Speyer, San Francisco

Designed for Height, Views and Livability

MIRA is an urban residential development in the heart of San Francisco. Just blocks from the Bay Bridge, Embarcadero, and Rincon Park, the tower creates a welcoming new community in the evolving Transbay district and accommodates a wide range of units, with 40 percent designated below market-rate (BMR). The design drew inspiration both from research into the city’s architectural traditions as well as the spiraling growth patterns found in nature – ultimately translating into the tower’s organization of bay windows. Twisting incrementally over the height of the tower, the bays give every apartment the advantages of a corner, projecting the living spaces outward and providing multidirectional views, daylight, and fresh air. Extending the inhabitable spaces within, and offering platforms from which to view the city at all angles, the migrating bays allow for a variety of unit configurations within. The bays allow for a high-performance façade that is 51 percent opaque, without inhibiting nearly 180-degree views in every unit. Market-rate and affordable condominiums are integrated throughout the tower and the adjoining podium and townhome buildings, with a central courtyard, roof terrace, and shared amenity spaces connecting all residents.

MIRA was able to offer below-market rate (BMR) housing in such a quantity because in 2016, the San Francisco Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure unanimously voted to allow 100 feet (30.5 meters) of extra height, which allowed the design to incorporate 73 more condominiums, including 44 at BMR. This ambitious move added 5 percent on-site affordability, with 60 percent of the additional 73 condos able to be designated permanently affordable.

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