Teamwork: It’s Essential

Teamwork: It’s Essential

by Administrator, February 21, 2013

By Jeff Galbraith, Pfau Long Architecture, and Dan Lam, KMD Architects

In a previous blog posting, my colleague Kristy Dutch talked about the value of collaboration.  I’d like to expand upon that theme here with Dan Lam, senior project manager at KMD, and part of two year-plus project collaboration.  Along with a dedicated team of nine professionals from both firms, as well as several key consultants, we are finishing an intensive design and construction process on the Justin Herman International Cruise Terminal, formerly known as Pier 27.  March 1st marks the handover of the facility to the America’s Cup; it will serve as home for the race through this summer and then be converted through a phased build-out to its permanent function as a shining port-of-call terminal in the fall.

For the duration of the America’s Cup, which takes place in July and August, the 500-foot long structure will be the starting point of the race as well as base of operations for four teams.  Within the two-and-a-half acre site will also be a bar, a Louis Vuitton store, and a museum chronicling the history of the Cup.  In September, those functions are removed and the building will be transformed to a cruise terminal and event space. The first ships will dock at the terminal in the summer of 2014.

The complexity and fast-track timing of this project required a dedicated team effort.  In a scant thirteen-month construction period, the old shed was torn down to the deck.  We had considered retrofitting the existence structure, but a new ground-up, two-story building permitted a better facility, specifically allowing cruise ships to be accessed at the right level.  The building was made taller and narrower than the buildings on the adjoining piers.  In terms of design, the new building had to fit within the context of existing waterfront pier buildings, and yet be more sophisticated than its neighbors.  So we took simple materials and made the most of them.  For example, we wrapped the building in tall glass windows and a varying pattern of “galaxy silver” colored metal panels, whose reflective skin plays off the sky and water.  The first floor’s surface is a wash-finished concrete, which visually enlivens the material.  The walls are a playful color palette of blues and corrugated metal panels mixed with aluminum composite panels.  While all of this provides visual interest, we also didn’t want to overpower the extraordinary views to the north, south of the San Francisco waterfront and the Bay Bridge, and east towards the city hills and skyline.  This will be a much sought-after event space come next year.

Sustainability also figured into the design.  The wave-like roof has an overall slope allowing for water capture and reuse.  Rainwater is collected through a siphonic gathering system into three tanks visible outside the building; it’s then used for internal restrooms and plant irrigation.  A displacement ventilation system (instead of a large, roof-mounted duct) circulates air through a series of perforated metal panels on the walls.  Air conditioning is minimized and limited to only those spaces that require it, while the rest of the facility is conditioned simply by increased ventilation and heating when necessary.   Additionally, the large windows and glazed doors provide ample natural daylight.

The effort of Phase 1 is almost behind us and we will celebrate the very near completion of Phase 1 with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday.  But it’s safe to say we all enjoyed and benefited from the collaborative process and the results will speak for themselves.  Look for more information about the terminal in an upcoming blog.


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