Heatherwick Studio has designed the Cove, a new waterfront experience for San Francisco. Seeking to activate and improve the beachfront, “while future-proofing the historic district and the City against the risks of earthquakes and climate change”, the Cove will put in place a next-generation, high-performance waterfront community that uniquely identifies with San Francisco.
The San Francisco waterfront, although visited by 24 million locals and tourists each year, has its facilities empty, closed to the public, or under-utilized. In fact, the vacant 100-year-old piers continue to deteriorate. Driven by the need to save the architectural heritage as well as the waterfront, of one of the Most Endangered Historic Places, the Cove will generate “a colorful, contemporary model destination that celebrates the classic California coast and the history of the Embarcadero, while serving as a warm, inviting urban (re)treat, a high-value oasis, just steps away from the generic gloss of FiDi and Mission Bay.” The existing piers will be removed completed and replaced by new modern structures to safeguard human health and safety and to create an enduring asset for future generations.
The Cove creates a two-building workplace campus with a central 5-acre, an ecological public park. These structures of 550,000 gross square feet will feature large 117,000 square foot floor plates that can accommodate workspace for a single tenant or multiple tenants and a curated mix of retail. The project also encompasses an Eco-Transect park, with a multi-use plaza, a rolling softscape of native terpene-laden trees and dune grasses, a carbon-sinking, floating wetlands, an oval boardwalk, etc. Smaller than the original pier footprint, the entire Cove has less bay fill and is highly sustainable, and plans for net-zero carbon and International Living Future Institute certifications.
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Anticipated in late 2026, the project covers Piers 30-32 and excludes Seawall Lot 330. The EPX2 team developing this initiative, a twenty members group include Earthprise, Sares|Regis, Heatherwick Studio, Paradigm Strategy, CMG Landscape Architecture, Page & Turnbull, Kendall/Heaton Associates, WSP USA Maritime, Fugro USA Land, Magnusson Klemencic Associates, MKA Civil, stok, PAE Consulting Engineers, Biohabitats, McLaren Engineering Group, Edgett Williams Consulting, Michael Schwab Studio, Manson Construction, DPR Construction, Concrete Technology Corporation, Mammoet, Consolidated Engineering Laboratories, SWCA Environmental, and Reuben, Junius & Rose.