Although BCV had developed a fairly complete design for the Ferry Building Marketplace at the time of the competition, we believed the project deserved a careful study of existing and historic market precedents. The Design Team embarked on a European trip that would be invaluable for research and background.
The team explored the historic markets of London, Paris, Milan and Venice. Topics that were studied ranged from the urban - how the buildings and their functions integrate into the life of the city - to the technical, such as shop size and servicing. Although no longer a true food market, the physical dimensions and architectural character of London’s Covent Garden became a touchstone.
The relationship of Paris’ markets to the surrounding urban fabric, along with the city’s thriving street markets, illustrated the ways in which the Ferry Building Marketplace could function as an iconic and important destination within San Francisco. Paris institutions Hediard and Fouchon, along with Peck in Milan, inspired the team in the ways that food could be merchandised. Venice’s Rialto Fish Market taught us important lessons about how to engage the water’s edge.