The Plant Cafe Organic at Pier 3 by CCS ARCHITECTURE
The Plant: Cafe Organic occupies two historic, waterfront buildings at Pier 3, straddling what was once a railroad passage, which has been modified to create a full-service, 112-seat restaurant and a separate, counter-service cafe. The Plant has been named one of the "greenest" restaurants in San Francisco by San Francisco Waterfront Partners--and is one of the few in the country with a rooftop solar PV system for on-site, electrical energy production, which will be used to power much of the kitchen.
The client’s program called for a sustainable design agenda which would be in sync with, yet showcase, the food they are serving. The Plant serves an almost purely organic and primarily locally sourced menu, the space they inhabit should follow the same goals. The Architect inserted light, delicate interiors within the existing pier warehouses, using reclaimed wood, recycled-content tiles and an eclectic mix of zinc, cold-rolled steel, and stainless steel to finish out the spaces. The Plant, like many new projects within converted pier buildings along San Francisco's Embarcadero, is helping revitalize this edge of the city where the land meets the Bay.
Health: Natural, recycled and simple materials were chosen which would not affect indoor air quality and have a long lifespan. The maximum amount of natural light was maintained through abundant existing windows and increased with large floor to ceiling glass doors at the entry. Connections to the outside were maximized by opening the restaurant along the waterfront with outdoor patio seating, as well as along the Embarcadero.
High Standards: The clients maintained a high level of standards with every aspect of the project from the materials chosen, to the level of detail expected, to the consistency of graphics, food quality and committed and energetic staff. This passion and direction led to a more open design phase and to a construction phase which resulted in a well crafted, custom quality to all parts of the restaurant & café.
Good for the Environment: The use of non-toxic, reclaimed and natural materials which are both long lasting and durable, like zinc, solid wood and stainless steel, and recycled building materials from the existing structure, allows for the space to age and change, as well as reduce the amount of material to be used over time.
Sustainable: In the spirit of sustainable agriculture – the design of the space is meant to be a place to enjoy food but also a place of warmth, of health and of durability and age – one which will be an example of the use of simple materials, well crafted design and become a part of the greater community over time.
The Architect, together with The Plant's owners, integrated a number of innovative sustainability measures, including:
- Restoration and reuse of the historic buildings with minimal demolition of interior, non-structural elements.
- 6kW solar PV system installed on the roof.
- Sodium lighting used in the outdoor dining area to reduce energy consumption and prevent light pollution.
- Daylight controls for day-lit areas. Zoning controls for heating and cooling.
- Recycled materials used in much of the furniture: coffee tables are made from reused railroad ties; the desk is made from reclaimed teak; the outdoor wait station table is made antique, pine barn wood; two display tables are made from recycled wood.
- Simple, non-toxic building materials: zinc, stainless steel, wood cabinetry and floors with natural sealers. Wool fabrics.
- Daylight and views in a majority of the spaces, including those where food preparation occurs, increasing visual comfort and reducing the reliance on artificial light.
- The Plant converts tap water into acidic and alkaline cleaning fluid for counters, floors, windows and dishwashing using and the Electrolyzer System, which produces electrolyzed water.
- San Francisco gardener Flora Grubb created a living wall, installed with air plants, on the cafe's north wall.
- Vibrant green flooring is made from coconut shells.
- All biodegradable waste is recycled and composted.
The Plant serves an almost purely organic and locally sourced menu, with organic and local farm produce and poultry, wild, sustainable seafood, organic wines and liquors and free trade and organic coffees.
- All take-out packaging is either recyclable or biodegradable.
- Cut, recycled wine bottles are being used to serve some beverages.
- All paper materials use recycled paper