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Renzo in San Ramon
Renzo Piano Building Workshop designing mixed-use in San Francisco suburbs.
Courtesy Renzo Piano Building Workshop

San Ramon, a suburban city outside of San Francisco with a population of just over 70,000, may get a Renzo Piano–designed plaza as part of a new mixed-use downtown development project called City Center.

Located next to the 585-acre Bishop Ranch Business Park—a major feature of the area since the first building was constructed in 1978—the project will bring in housing, a hotel, and retail. Working with developer Sunset City Development and San Francisco–based architecture firm BVC Architects, Renzo Piano Building Workshop will design the retail space that is the first phase of the project.


A major goal of the design is to provide a more walkable experience for the community, nearby office workers, and visitors. The central element of the design—a plaza—will be surrounded by six glass pavilions. “All of the pavilions have a direct relation to the piazza and each of them contributes to animate it,” explained Piano in a statement.


Totaling 350,000 square feet, the plan includes an estimated 70 tenants, with a mix of restaurants, cafes, retail, and a movie theater. At press time the project was set to go before the planning commission in mid-June. The opening of the first phase is anticipated in late 2016, while future planned phases include a 169-room hotel, four office buildings totaling 800,000 square feet, and 479 residential units.

Ariel Rosenstock