Our first home
swissnex San Francisco first established itself in the heart of the city at the vibrant crossroads of the Financial District, Chinatown, and Italian North Beach.
Today, the historic brick and timber structure is infused with the contemporary aesthetic of acclaimed Swiss industrial designer Yves Béhar, which complements swissnex San Francisco’s innovative approach to international knowledge exchange. Our building is the nexus through which we fulfill our mission.
Inside our walls, we house an event space, boardroom, and offices that empower our constituents to connect.
Erected in 1852, the swissnex San Francisco building’s first tenant was the Golden Era newspaper, where poet Bret Harte was a typesetter when he penned his first published poem. Literary giant Mark Twain also worked for the paper, and it was here that he is said to have thought up his novel, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. During the 1860’s, the building was used as an appliance store, a crockery shop, and billiard table manufacturer. It later sheltered a Chinese broom factory.
Before the 1880’s the upper floor was converted into a meeting area known as Lafayette Hall, where the Lafayette Guard, a militia company, had its armory. It has survived two major earthquakes, one in 1906 and the other in 1989. In 1969, the site was designated a San Francisco Historic Landmark and now forms one of the cornerstones of the historic Jackson Square Historic District.