DOM: [freespace] Field Trip
Every Wednesday, the headquarters of Architecture for Humanity congregates in the gallery (a large room in the front of the building) for Design Open Mics – a weekly event in which local (and sometimes not so local) architects and designers speak to the office about their work.
July 17 was a little different – instead of just sitting and watching a powerpoint or video, the office also traveled to the offices of [freespace] SF, conveniently located right down the street! The presentation opened with talks given by Mike Zuckerman, the co-founder of [freespace] and Marc Roth, a [freespace] Fellow and leader of The Learning Shelter.
The office gathers around Mike Zuckerman in the freespace lot.
The freespace office building is covered in murals, done by local artists.
Roth is the brain behind the Learning Shelter, a training center where those living in homeless shelters can learn skills such as welding, laser cutting, and 3D printing. Five shipping containers in an empty lot next to the current freespace building are being outfitted with the machinery needed to make his dream reality, and before long San Francisco will have its own mobile tech lab.
The 14,000 square-foot [freespace] office itself (for want of a better word, in no way does it resemble a standard office) was leased for just $1 for the month of June – to show the creative potential of collaborative space.
An experiment in civic hacking, freespace is a cultural hub in central San Francisco where visitors have the opportunity to reimagine the urban experience and invigorate a community by activating a previously empty space.
Everything in the building, from the chairs/bean bags to the giant Buddha sculpture to the murals that cover the walls (inside and out) were provided for free by the community, making it a unique space to live, work, and explore.
Freespace plays host to a wide variety of events – no doubt there’s something for everyone. While you can find free yoga classes and bike workshops, you’ll also run across slightly more unusual things, such as Molyjam (a 48 hour game jam) and think tanks about the San Francisco housing boom.
As their lease draws to a close, the physical presence of freespace in the city is a bit in flux, so be sure to stop by their Market Street office and check them out (they have a slide!) We’re sure we’ll be seeing them elsewhere in the city soon.
The office is covered in riotously colourful murals, making the office an eclectic and unique space.
A large Buddha sculpture sits on the second floor of the office, greeting you once you've walked up the stairs.
A slide is accessible from a ladder on the first floor of the building - with a fall cushioned with lots of pillows and blankets.