South San Francisco, CA     /

Economic Advancement Center

Transforming a vacant city property into a hub for job seekers and entrepreneurs.

Client    /

City of South San Francisco
County of San Mateo

Type    /

Community, Workplace

Location    /

South San Francisco, CA

Size    /

6,186 sf

Project Lead    /

David K. Plotkin

Located in a long-vacant former bank, the Economic Advancement Center provides a diverse and under-served population job training and employment resources. Our task was to make the EAC to feel more like an enticing start-up environment than a government facility.

The welcoming vibe started outside the building with new, wall-mounted signage in Century Gothic and illuminated with a picture-light style fixture. It continues inside with a color palette of blue, gray and white. The plan is divided into public areas, a workplace for the City and the two non-profits operating the Center. The lobby’s green wall installation functions as a visual focal point at the entry and as a space divider, housing the Center’s public resource library and the innovation classroom area behind it. 

Our design consists of small, efficient gestures done on a minimal budget that infuse the space with energy and vitality. The EAC is a community center of sorts, welcoming job seekers and entrepreneurs and making a significant impact on South City and San Mateo County.

When WDA got involved, we didn’t have a big budget, and we weren’t sure if we even needed to bring on an architect. I look back and wonder if we hadn’t gone that route, what would it even look like? The space probably wouldn’t be the same – it would look like an unremarkable government building.

Ernesto Lucero     /     Economic Development Coordinator, City of South San Francisco
Credits     /
  • General Contractor: O.K. Construction
  • Photographer: Patrik Argast