London has Borough Market. San Francisco has the Ferry Building. Seattle has Pike Place Market. And now Santa Barbara has the Santa Barbara Public Market. The 19,400 square-foot marketplace, put together by local architecture firms Cearnal Andrulaitis, Sutti Associates, and Sherry & Associates Architects, opened on April 14. It showcases regionally-sourced, artisanal foods in a downtown location. Part of Alma del Pueblo, a mixed-use development that includes additional retail and 37 condominiums, the Public Market is located on the site of a former Vons. “When I bought the land, I knew that I wanted to put a market back,” said developer Marge Cafarelli. “Santa Barbara . . . [has] such rich roots and traditions in agriculture, farming, food, and wine, that it made sense to put something back that made sense in this time.
The Public Market is housed in an understated stucco shell, a streamlined take on the Mission Revival architecture for which the city is known. “It was very, very important to me that the building be very simple,” said Cafarelli. “Less can sometimes be more, that was very intentional.” One of the driving forces behind the design was the incorporation of an historic six-panel mosaic mural by Joseph Knowles, which the city of Santa Barbara required Cafarelli to preserve. The mural, which depicts the history of the town, had for decades fronted Victoria Street, the quieter of the two streets adjacent to the Public Market. “[We wanted] to get those panels off of Victoria Street, which will make it much more pedestrian-friendly, and move [them] to Chapala Street, which is much more vehicular oriented,” said Cearnal Andrulaitis’ Jeff Hornbuckle, project architect. Construction crews sawed the 10-ton panels out one at a time and used a crane to move them around the corner, where they were placed atop a freshly-poured concrete footing.
Cearnal Andrulaitis designed the shell of the Public Market. Sutti Associates did the overall interior layout and Sherry & Associates Architects worked with the tenants—who include purveyors of coffee, juice, bread, cheese, meat, beer and wine, and gourmet groceries—on kitchen layouts. Though united by an industrial aesthetic, including a polished concrete floor and exposed ductwork, the vendor areas were given unique personalities through custom lighting and signage.
Next door to the Public Market are Alma del Pueblo’s Mediterranean-style condominiums, intersected by a series of pathways, pedestrian bridges, and outdoor living rooms. The Arlington Theatre, which dates to the 1930s and features an elaborate Mission Revival facade and an art deco steeple, is adjacent to both the condos and the Public Market. The architects opened up views to the theater, Santa Barbara’s largest, from the Victoria Street side of the complex, including at the main entrance to the condominiums. “The idea was to create a paseo that framed the view of the Arlington,” said Hornbuckle.
Cafarelli is aiming for LEED for Homes Platinum on the residential portion of the project and LEED for Core and Shell Gold on the Public Market. “What was important to me was to build something that was really in the vernacular of the historic district, but to create a really high performance building in addition,” she said.