Location: San Francisco, California

Client: YMCA San Francisco and Mills Development Corporation

The redevelopment of Piers 27, 29 and 31 on San Francisco’s waterfront was a joint venture between the Mills Corporation and the YMCA. This recreational mixed-use project was a unique opportunity to bring the entire community to the Bay for enjoyment and recreation in the true spirit of San Francisco. With recreational opportunities and public access, the project would serve all age and cultural groups, provide opportunities for active and passive recreational activities, and extend the city-wide network of usable public open space. The dramatic transformation of the Northeast Waterfront from predominantly light industry to mixed-use, office and commercial opens the doors to the Bay. This opportunity was further enhanced by major improvements in public transit, roadways, pedestrian thoroughfares, and landscape improvements along the waterfront and especially the Embarcadero.

The project replaces the existing 1967 Pier 27 building with a smaller new building located perpendicular to the Bayfront, as well as a new water basin which brings the Bay closer to the Embarcadero. Together, they recall the forms of mid-20th century finger piers in the area. The project opens broad Bay views while creating a major public plaza and recreational facility. Removal of the existing Pier 27 building creates Bay views of Yerba Buena Island, Alcatraz and the Bay Bridge, as well as city views to landmarks such as Coit Tower, the Transamerica tower and the downtown skyline.