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, originally 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.

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.