San Francisco, CA

Ferry Building Renovation and Retrofit


Structural (Design)

Geotechnical Engineering

Structural Engineering


175,000 sf

Key Info

Preservation of historic façade during extensive demolishing within the building

Built in 1896 entirely over piers, the monumental Beaux Arts Ferry Building, designed by A. Page Brown, is a San Francisco landmark. Rutherford + Chekene renovated and retrofitted the building. Project complexities included converting a dark building with a Hodgepodge of past renovation elements into an illuminated space for high-end, visitor-friendly retail and Class A offices. The team’s solution demolished the mezzanine and opened the 600-foot-long central nave to allow natural lighting to illuminate the building’s historic grandeur.The work included preserving the building’s historic façade during extensive demolition work. R+C advised the architect on demolition options, reviewed contractor plans, detailed support systems to preserve structural and historic components, and worked with various building materials that include structural concrete, masonry and wood.The project also expanded the East Promenade located on the deck behind the building to provide enhanced public access to the bay and ferry terminal. The result is a much-loved and multifunctional tourist and local destination.

Alan Kren


When not otherwise pursuing the perfect wave or swimming an open-water race, Alan oversees a studio of talented and energetic engineers working on projects that run the gamut from aquaria, state of the art university laboratories, civic theaters, student housing, to repair of waterfront constructions, restoration of historic works, and structural peer review. Alan is fluent in all structural materials, understands their possibilities and limitations, and knows how to craft them to meet project goals. He is sensitive to client needs and demands and understands the pressures architects, designers and owners work under. His philosophy is to always bring enthusiasm and solutions to the client, to listen and find what he can give to realize the vision, to work as a team member, to make the project a positive experience for all involved. And being an engineer, he is practical and prudent in his solutions, cognizant of cost, constructability, and schedule.

Alan’s more notable projects include the restoration and revitalization of San Francisco’s historic Ferry Building, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, repair and restoration of the historic Neptune Pool at Hearst Castle San Simeon State Park, and the Science and Engineering 2 laboratory building at UC Merced. Alan is a lecturer at UC Berkeley where he teaches “Design of Reinforced Concrete Structures.” He takes pride and receives enormous satisfaction teaching at his alma mater and loves the energy and enthusiasm the students bring to class.

Civic | Cultural

Leavening peerless structural engineering skill with humor, philosophy, people skills and, above all, a consummate understanding of San Francisco's permitting process, [Alan] saw this project through.