Ratcliff Architecture News

Golden Gate University to Open New Student Services Center - April 24, 2008

Architect RATCLIFF Transforms Warehouse into Airy, Dynamic Student Services Center

RATCLIFF, the architectural, planning and interiors firm, has transformed a shuttered South of Market warehouse structure into a six-story, 50,000-square-foot Student Services Center for Golden Gate University (GGU). As the new “front door” for the downtown university, the former Swallow Printing building at 40 Jessie Street in San Francisco will be a robust, inviting addition to the neighborhood. The building’s renovation will be celebrated with a grand opening event at 5 p.m. on April 30, 2008, and is part of a ten-year facilities master plan for the campus prepared by RATCLIFF.

The scope of the project encompasses a complete renovation of the existing structure and the addition of two new floors. All GGU student services offices (registrar, admissions, financial aid, and so on) are included in the building, along with a new bookstore and top-floor conference center. Due to historical interest in this 94-year-old structure, GGU and RATCLIFF have retained as much of the historical “flavor” of the structure as possible. For instance, all of the existing windows and barn doors have been removed, refurbished, and re-installed. In contrast to the original structure, the new addition is a light, modern facility with ribbon windows and aluminum trim.


RATCLIFF is also incorporating sustainable design initiatives in the 40 Jessie Street complex, including:

  • reuse of much of the existing structure; 
  • new energy-efficient building systems; 
  • reduction of the “heat island” effect with a highly reflective white roofing membrane;  
  • location in close proximity to mass transit; and
  • inclusion of a large quantity of windows to provide outdoor views and quality daylight to most occupants.

RATCLIFF’s ten-year master plan solution provides a new, more inviting identity for Golden Gate University at street level and successfully accommodates all schools and departments within the existing campus locations of 536 Mission Street and 40 Jessie Street.

Founded in 1901 in San Francisco, Golden Gate University meets the needs of working adults by offering undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs in business and management, information technology, taxation, and law. GGU is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The School of Law is also accredited by the American Bar Association, the State Bar of California, and the Association of American Law Schools.