La Mar Cebicheria Peruana Restaurant
44 McLea Court, San Francisco, CA 94103
Page & Turnbull
724 Pine Street, San Francisco, CA 94108
Location: San Francisco, California
Date Bid: Mar 2008
Construction Period: Mar 2008 to Nov 2008
Total Square Feet: 11,000 Site: n/a.
Number of Buildings: One.
Building Size: First floor, 10,000; second floor, 1,000; total,
11,000 square feet.
Building Height: First floor, 12’; second floor, 10’; total, 22’.
Basic Construction Type: Tenant Build Out.
Foundation: Existing – conic slabs & piers into San Francisco
Bay. Exterior Walls: Existing – wood & concrete.
Roof: Built-up. Floors: Concrete, wood.
Interior Walls: Wood stud drywall, metal stud drywall, concrete.
Structural Engineers: John Yadegar & Associates Structural
Engineers - 90 New Montgomery Street, #412, San Francisco, CA 94105
General Contractor: Oliver & Company - 1300 South 51st Street,
Richmond, CA 94804
Mechanical & Electrical Engineer: Glumac - 150 California Street,
3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94111
The design of La Mar began with a tour of Lima, Peru, and an
introduction to the cuisine of celebrated Peruvian chef Gaston Acurio.
La Mar in Lima is Acuria’s flagship; its modern interior, range of
colors and materials, and vibrant cebiche bar all add up to a casual hot
spot with unforgettable food. This became the starting point for the
design of La Mar San Francisco.
The challenge was to bring the Lima experience to life in one of the
great historic piers on the San Francisco waterfront–Pier 1-1/2, which
is just to the north of the renowned Ferry Building Marketplace. The
pier buildings front Embarcadero Boulevard to the west and open up to
San Francisco Bay on the east. The recently redeveloped waterfront
extends from the Ferry Building northward to Pier 5 and is fast becoming
San Francisco’s food and dining Mecca on the water. With 11,000 square
feet, Pier 1-1/2 contains two historic landmark buildings with a variety
of distinctive spaces and an outdoor area right on the water, facing
boats and Treasure Island beyond. Even the existing restrooms have
The architectural strategy was to establish a fresh landmark by treating
the pier buildings as the sacred shell, with new restaurant dining areas
and support functions designed as modern interventions, working in
counterpoint. The modern spaces are woven through the site, a
combination of richly stained mahogany, vivid colors, and stainless
steel. Because the waterfront is a public destination, and La Mar is
quite large, the restaurant was designed to be a casual setting with a
This facade, like many others along the waterfront, is commonly called a
"pier head." To establish and identify the new restaurant, a glass
canopy with large signage and lighting was added above the historic
entry and doorway. The blue La Mar word-mark was added as additional
signage on the windows.
The historic lobby is the primary entry to La Mar from the Embarcadero.
The historic room is untouched, except for the placement of the host
desk. Open to the historic lobby, the once ticket and baggage room is
now the Pisco Bar. It contains a large bar with custom-designed stools
and tall tables for about 50 people to eat and drink. Large windows face
back to the Embarcadero and the San Francisco skyline, while small
windows on the west side of the room afford axial views of the Bay. The
back bar is a stack of mahogany shelves and colored glass that showcase
liquor, wine and lots of Pisco, which is Peru’s national liquor.
Traversing the front of the bar shelves are sliding chalkboards that
list Cebiche and cocktail offerings.
The breezeway is the geographic center of Pier 1-1/2 and hence the
starting point for La Mar's Cebiche bar. Formerly an open-air breezeway
between the buildings, it has become interior space through the addition
of glass and stainless steel facades with large doors at either end,
which act as secondary entrances. All the Cebiche for the menu is
prepared and plated within the breezeway, where the bar seats about 60.
Guests wait in the historic great room that is on the water with large
existing windows on three sides, an open-truss ceiling with skylights,
and postcard views to the east. Leaving its historic ceiling and
exterior walls intact, the space was transformed into the primary dining
room with seating for 150. The large exhibition kitchen creates a second
point of interest for the patrons. Adjacent to the kitchen is a separate
dining area with a dramatic single table for 20, for shared use or
private parties. Modern architectural elements that were built into this
space include a raised, hardwood dining floor with a mix of upholstered
and free seating, suspended stainless steel lights on thin wooden beams,
and low wood walls that enclose the seating areas.
The large outdoor terrace, literally on the water, La Mar’s dining
terrace, the crescendo to the plan and a prized outdoor space, just ten
feet from the water. The deck is carefully designed to be usable all
year, with an overhead structure of heaters, lights and canvas.
La Mar's design establishes a 340-seat restaurant, unique to San
Francisco that has become an important and cherished landmark.