Pier 1

AMB Property Corporation + Port of San Francisco

San Francisco, California

Project Info
Pier 1
San Francisco, California
Completion: 2001
Square Footage: 151,000

The renovation of San Francisco’s historic Pier 1 is the result of an intensive public-private partnership between AMB Property Corporation, a prominent locally based industrial REIT, and the Port of San Francisco, a key public agency, whose offices were to be relocated into the Pier from the Ferry Building, its historic home next door. The first of San Francisco’s historic finger piers to be repurposed, Pier 1 had been built in the 1920s as a sugar warehouse, and, since the decline of break-bulk shipping, had been used as a parking lot. Consisting of a civic wood-frame bulkhead structure and a 700-foot long concrete and steel warehouse, the building was dilapidated and seismically poor.

Won through a competition, our project consisted in rehabilitating the existing building in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior Standards, gaining the very complex entitlements involved in many waterfront projects, listing the structure on the National Register of Historic Places, and reinventing it for new office uses. In addition to seismically upgrading both the buildings and the pier itself, we added a mezzanine that nearly doubled the available square footage. We brought in entirely new services and information technology, added new window openings and operable windows, and designed Class A office spaces for the Port, the developer and two tenants. The building has radiant heating and cooling in the floor slabs, ample daylighting, a palette of green materials including channel glass, and an innovative Bay water heat exchanger that heats and cools it.

We gave the Port a street front address, and added over an acre of publicly accessible open space to San Francisco’s historic waterfront. During working hours, the public is invited to walk through the lobby along the historic railroad track corridor, past newly created community meeting spaces, onto the Pier apron and out to the end of the Pier.

The project offered an opportunity to reinvent workplace patterns by creating a space that reinforces each tenant’s collaborative corporate culture. Perkins+Will initiated a work-place environment analysis which determined that an open office configuration would support contemporary working styles and be highly productive for all employees. The design creates an open space suffused with natural daylight, a highly flexible technology infrastructure, and a variety of private phone, conference, and meeting areas. The beautiful, rhythmic structure of the existing warehouse remains exposed and is enhanced by sensitively designed additions and alterations.