AKA: Ghirardelli Square, San Francisco, CA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - office buildings; built works - industrial buildings - factories

Designers: Gilbert Forsberg Diekmann Schmidt, Civil and Structural Engineers (firm); Halprin, Lawrence and Associates, Landscape Architects (firm); Swinerton and Walberg Company (firm); Wurster, Bernardi and Emmons (WBE), Architects (firm); Theodore C. Bernardi (architect); Edward Frederick Diekmann (civil engineer); Donn Emmons (architect); Forsberg (structural engineer); William B. Gilbert (structural engineer); Lawrence Halprin (landscape architect); John Matthias ; Schmidt (structural engineer); Alfred Bingham Swinerton (building contractor); Richard Walberg (building contractor); William Wilson Wurster (architect)

Dates: constructed 1896-1898

900 North Point Street
San Francisco, CA 94109-1192

OpenStreetMap (new tab)
Google Map (new tab)
click to view google map
Google Streetview (new tab)
click to view google map

Building History

The Golden Grain Macaroni Company, producer of Rice-A-Roni, purchased the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company in the early 1960s and moved the main manufacturing facility to San Leandro, CA. This emptied out the old plant which went up for sale. William Matson Roth, and his mother, Mrs. William P. Roth, bought the old plant, and commissioned Wurster, Bernardi and Emmons (WBE) to renovate the plant into a new mixed-use development. It was one of the earliest and most successful examples of the "adaptive reuse" trend of the 1960s. It opened in 11/1964. In 2008, the complex was owned by JMA Ventures, LLC. This group along with partners, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, announced plans 11/15/2005 "to develop the city's first luxury private residence club homes as part of an overall revitalization of the landmark square." (See http://www.ghirardellisq.com/ghirardellisq/press.asp?g=0&id=4 Accessed 1/15/2008.)

Building Notes

The previous Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory on Sansome Street was gutted by fire on 10/30/1896.

The Ghirardelli Factory was declared a San Francisco City Landmark in 1965. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Tel: 415-775-5500 (2008).


Ghirardelli Square's renovation stands as one of the earliest commercial and most famous historic preservation efforts in the U.S. Its redesign in 1963 by architects, Wurster, Bernardi and Emmons, won an Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects in 1966. Barbara Stauffacher consulted on the graphic design of Ghirardelli Square. Architect Michael Bednar noted in 1989: Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco, designed by Wurster, Bernardi & Emmons in 1964, generally is regarded as the first example of this [festival marketplace] type." A phenomenon of the 1960s-1980s, Bednar described the "festival marketplace": "...It combines entertainment, socialization, specialty shopping, and recreational eating--usually in a historic setting." (See Michael J. Bednar, Interior Pedestrian Places, [New York: Whitney Library of Design, 1989], p. 92.)

San Francisco Historic Landmark (1965): ID n/a

PCAD id: 7325