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Ghirardelli Square Plaza

San Francisco, California

This master plan restores and revitalizes Ghirardelli Square, one of San Francisco’s most enduring and beloved public spaces.

Anchoring the east end of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the three-acre site—once the headquarters of the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company—opened in 1962 as a public plaza and tourism destination and was later placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

HOK’s master plan improves public access, strengthens transportation connections and increases year-round use of the plaza as envisioned by its original designers, landscape architect Lawrence Halprin and architect William Wurster.

Working closely with the City of San Francisco’s Historic Preservation Commission, HOK developed palettes for landscape materials, plantings and furnishings compatible with Halprin’s original design.

The solution meshes Halprin’s geometric planting layouts and layering techniques with regional and local plant species to reduce irrigation demand and increase species biodiversity. High-performance design elements include the introduction of stormwater treatment gardens to reduce runoff and improve water quality returning to the Bay.

Central plazas, courtyards and open spaces activate Ghirardelli Square during the day and night. In the upper plaza, the design transforms a series of small terraces into a single event space for indoor and outdoor use.

3 acres / 1.2 hectares
ASLA Northern California Award of Merit – Historic Preservation
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