Fig. 1 – Construction cranes penetrate downtown San Francisco fog during a building boom. The city has close to the same average humidity as Miami only its 30 degree colder.

San Francisco’s 2012 Transit Center District Plan is the context of a proposal for a mixed-use tower planned for a small SoMa site one block from the new transportation hub that anticipated 20 million users annually (figs. 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8). The dotcom start-up boom accelerated the district’s transformation, taking advantage of rezoning that allowed commercial and office towers to densify what was a low-rise neighborhood. Post pandemic, twenty-five percent of downtown office space is vacant, estimated to be the highest rate in the nation.


With plans of mixed-use development for the site abandoned, attention refocused on one part of the initial project – a fog harvesting armature. This is R&D work in progress.

Fig. 9 – Zoning bulk diagrams for site spanning Howard and Tehama Streets.

Fig. 10 – Pacific coast fog pattern. Source: The New York Times.

Fig. 11 – San Francisco fog zones.

Fig. 12 – East and north elevations of Howard Street warehouse and Tehama Street addition.

Fig.13 – Cloudfisher is a fog-harvesting system developed by the German Water Foundation. A fine-mesh net is suspended within a steel frame.

Fig. 14 – Water vapor in the air is trapped in the fine mesh of the net, condenses and drips down the mesh into a collector at the base.

Fig. 15 – Namib Desert Beetle.

Fig. 16 – Hydrophilic-hydrophobic

Fig. 17 – Selected operational large fog collector projects in Africa, Asia, Central America and South America with their main reasons for failure (climatic or social) or continuation and the number implemented Source: International Journal of Low-Carbon Technologies 2023, 18.

Fig. 18 – Tilted stepped curtain wall with tensile rigging for fog-capturing mesh.


San Francisco, USA


2023 –


70,000 sqf


Mixed-use addition with public access rooftop

systems and materials:

Steel, concrete, glass


Gordon Development

project team:

Lindy Roy with Megan Murdock, Michelle Tse and Openshop

related projects:

High Line 519, West Street Tower, Cairnhill Circle Towers, Canopy Tower