This former fruit packing warehouse located in downtown Healdsburg was slated for demolition to make way for a parking lot. A small citizen’s group rallied for preserving the building. As a result, our design team was asked to work with the city and community groups to explore multiple options with the primary objective of accommodating the local farmers market, parking, concerts, and other public events.
Originally constructed in 1922, the building floats on a three-foot-high concrete plinth that originally allowed trucks and horse drawn wagons to load and unload apples, stone fruit and grapes. Inside, a series of delicate roof trusses march through the space, creating a large open volume well suited to a variety of events.
With help from architect and Healdsburg resident Alan B. Cohen and Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture, our team explored 3 distinctly different design schemes – two replacing the building with new open canopy structures, and one repurposing the existing structure. Change takes time – and on this project, an intense public participatory process stretched out over several years. None of these design approaches fully met the objectives of all the interest groups, and in particular the elevated plinth presented operational challenges to the farmer’s market.
PEELING BACK HISTORY
With the community divided on whether to repurpose the building or replace it with parking, the design team developed an eleventh-hour design proposal. The design radically transforms the building and provides ample ground-level space for the Healdsburg Farmers Market. The front two-thirds of the building will be dismantled, and the elevated concrete plinth removed. The elevated plinth at the rear of the building will be retained. It will support numerous types of events and can function as a stage. The building will then be reconstructed with open sides and a new partially translucent roof. The existing opaque front façade will be replaced with architectural metal fabric, recalling the original façade while providing transparency and a strong connection to the streetscape.
A STRUCTURE FIT FOR ALL
The community rallied around the concept when they saw how a striking architectural approach could address the community’s needs without compromise. Ultimately the Planning Commission and City Council agreed that this unique solution would provide a valuable asset to Healdsburg’s evolving downtown. The City of Healdsburg is currently exploring funding for the project.
AIA Redwood Empire, Honor Award 2018
Client: City of Healdsburg
Budget: $8 M