The Economic Advancement Center (EAC) is a job training and employment resource center, serving the community through a partnership between the City of South San Francisco, Job Train, Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center and the County of San Mateo.

Studio Name: William Duff Architects (WDA)
Design Team: William Duff (Managing Principal); David K. Plotkin (Principal and Community Practice Leader); Andres Johnson (Project Manager); Mark Kebasso (Designer)
Area: 2,200
Year: 2022
Location:  South San Francisco, CA
Consultants:  O.K. Construction (general contractor); Kitchell Corporation (construction manager)
Photography Credits:  Patrik Argast
Other Credits:  N/A
Project Name:  Economic Advancement Center (EAC)

Economic Advancement Center by William Duff Architects - Sheet3
©Patrik Argast

The building that houses the Center is in a prime location on South City’s main street, Grand Avenue, very accessible to public transportation, and in proximity to some of the city’s architecturally significant buildings—the Grand Avenue Branch Library (1916), the city’s largest building (1918), and City Hall (1920) which was modeled after the Georgian-style Philadelphia Independence Hall.

Economic Advancement Center by William Duff Architects - Sheet4
©Patrik Argast

Built in 1960 and previously occupied by a bank, the concrete, brick and glass, one-single-story structure adds a modern architecture layer to the streetscape with its low roof profile and a facade featuring a triptych of arches. Into this repurposed space, William Duff Architects (WDA) injected energy and vitality. The EAC feels more akin to an enticing start-up environment, rather than a government facility.

Economic Advancement Center by William Duff Architects - Sheet2
©Patrik Argast

The lobby’s green wall creates a welcoming vibe and functions as both a visual focal point and as a divider, housing the Center’s public resource library and the innovation classroom area behind it. WDA’s design—made up of small, efficient gestures done on a minimal budget—helped South City activate a long-vacant property, creating a scalable model for revitalizing downtown areas.


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