The Battery

DATE: 1969 & 2013
LOCATION: San Francisco, California, USA
OLD USE: Candy warehouse, Retail, Office
NEW USE: Private club


The Musto Building was the result of the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco. Prior to the earthquake, the site had been home to a marble workshop but it was destroyed. The Musto Building was constructed in its place in 1907 and designed by William Mooser II, the San Francisco’s first city architect. The three-story building was built to house retail and stores on the first floor with the upper two floors serving as warehouse space.

The Musto Building was primarily used as a warehouse by various businesses, including the Euclid Candy Co. and Niels C. Hansens Crating. In 1969, it experienced its first conversion when the building was retrofitted into an office building.[1]


Xochi and Michael Birch established themselves in the dotcom era, creating and then selling Bebo was a social networking site the brothers had created in 2005. They later sold the site to AOL in 2008. After a few additional transfers, the Birches purchased the site back from then-owner Criterion Capital Partners in July 2013.[2]

FME Architecture + Design is a San Francisco-based firm specializing in architectural and interior design for a variety of project types, both large and small, public and private. Since opening shop in 1980, they have made it their mission to be a partner to their clients, providing contextual design coupled with expert guidance and service.[3]


Purchased in 2009 by Michael and Xochi Birch, the Musto Building was rebranded as The Battery. FME Architecture + Design took on the task of revisioning the building into a private club with a mix of amenities. The members-only club offers such amenities as a spa, fitness facilities, 3,000 SF wine cellar, poker room, 20-person hot tub, 13 guest suites, multiple bar areas, and the restaurant, “717″.

The project included a mandatory unreinforced masonry building (UMB) seismic upgrade, restoration and retrofit work, horizontal and vertical expansion of the basement level, and a 16,000 SF fourth floor roof addition that is enclosed by a custom, glass curtain wall system. Acoustic isolation, two-hour fire-rated glazing in elevator shaft, excavation below the existing west-wing structure and the refinished courtyard made The Battery a unique challenge, while capturing the most gratifying elements of a San Francisco adaptive reuse project.[4]

[1]The San Francisco Examiner
[4]FME Architecture + Design

Images courtesy of FME Architecture + Design.