Marin Farmers Market
Marin Civic Center
San Rafael, California

The Marin Farmer's Market is one of the largest in the state, with over 200 farmers and vendors serving 5000 customers 2 times as week, which is currently served out of a temporary location on a parking lot at the Marin Civic Center. Marin County is making a four acre site available for a permanent market location. One of the criteria was that it reflects the architecture of the adjacent 1960's Frank Lloyd Wright Civic Center.

The program and site presented many challenging design problems, such as the flow of trucks which need to be parked directly next to the farmer's stalls, the intense noise from the adjoining freeway, creating a sense of place and a gateway out of the barren site, and creating permanent space for shops, offices, education, and flexible use for community events on non-market days. We worked closely with the twenty person Market team to find solutions and creative design ideas to the many complex issues.

Frank Lloyd Wright was above all, a believer in nature which he called the "body of God". He was the first modern organic architect, and this new Market design reflects that in what we have nicknamed "The Pollinator." Design collaborator Buddy Williams likened the market to a "hive" where farmers cross-pollinate with each other and the public. A public plaza and entrance is created by two flowing green roof forms which house permanent spaces, such as a deli, grocery store and restaurant. Above these permanent buildings a large curved tensile roof structure clear spans over the market stalls; a "winged" shape which provides shade and cover from the seasonal rains and will be visible from the adjacent freeway.

The design integrates the principles of Ecological Design in a seamless way.