Ferry Landing, Jack London Square

Jack London Square, Oakland, California | commercial development

A retail and office building infuses a high-visibility spot with subtle maritime design.

The very first thing ferry passengers from San Francisco see when they land at Jack London Square is Ferry Landing. In response, the design for this new 32,000-square-foot retail and Class A office building drew from the maritime vernacular. A large white overhang grabs the viewer’s eye at the roof edge, seeming to lift like a sail. Thin white columns evoke the shape of boat masts, and the roof’s V-shape is buttressed with wood rafters that recall ship beams. Rooftop mechanicals are screened by a red “smokestack.” On the water side, blue-tinted glazing overlooks a public green; on the land side, a sunny yellow wall limns Water Street. A public observation deck on the second floor overlooks the working port – a view that is reflected in glass guardrail screens created by a local artist.

The biggest challenge for this space was to allow a small structure to compete visually with its seven-story neighbor, the Port Building, while bringing whimsy to a site that is transitioning from industry to retail and entertainment. With its dynamic architectural elements, Ferry Landing creates a lively experience for visitors and buoys the waterfront promenade.

Quick Facts

The second-floor office space features dramatic 14-foot exposed ceilings.

Prominent artist Gordon Huether created the glass guardrail screens.