Market Commons

San Francisco, CA

Market Square’s Commons is a privately-owned public alleyway that serves as both building plaza and urban corridor, where rich materiality and variety of experience invite gathering and passage alike.

Market Square has served as the catalyst for the resurgence of San Francisco’s Mid-Market area—it is Twitter’s world headquarters, and provides open space and retail amenity for more than 4,500 new residential units in the neighborhood.  Capitalizing on historic architecture and underutilized alleyways (formerly Stevenson and Collin Alleys), Market Commons has been reborn as a vibrant L-shaped open space flanked by two newly restored buildings, one of which is an Art Deco icon.

The 24,000 sf pedestrian alley is designed as an unfolding sequence of experiences: paths, plazas and walkways are defined in refined concrete paving and wood decks, while interior program spills through large wall size doors on to an elevated building apron; areas of 100% recycled artificial turf provide additional flexible use areas that also serve the adjacent gym events; and five large bio-retention stormwater planters and delicate vine planting introduce grasses, bamboo and green walls. The open, flexible gathering central plaza and lawns welcome intimate lunch meetings as well as large gatherings and events for tenants, market patrons and the public. The former Collin alley provides a paved multi-use space for temporary pop-up vendors and food trucks and regular service access. Overhead installation of special tube lights zig-zag throughout the corridor, and with a central fire pit beckon passersby to the refined urban space.

Spanning an entire block along Market Street between 9th and 10th Streets, Market Square is situated at the junction of many of San Francisco’s monumental icons, and cultural (both artistic and entrepreneurial) neighborhoods. It occupies the northern edge of SOMA’s commercial district, across Market Street from San Francisco’s City Hall and Civic Center. Market Commons provides a new type of privately owned public space in the middle of a transforming neighborhood to serve city residents, building tenants and tourists alike.