Ocean Beach People's Organic Foods Market

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Architect Hanna Gabriel Wells
Location Ocean Beach, California
Date 1999 to 2002
Building Type cooperative grocery store
 Construction System steel and timber frame
 Sustainability rooftop photovoltaics, rooftop solar water heating, energy efficiency, daylighting, shading, simple materials - GEEB
Climate mild temperate
Context suburban or urban
Style Eclectic Modern
Notes Villa and piazza site plan. Photovoltaics on roof.

Human scale elements, greenery, and operable windows at grocery main facade

A.I.A. design award panel

Building main entry

Upper level balcony shelters main entry

Building main entry

Looking across interior, from back toward entry

Upper floor deli area

Building entry connects to public sidewalk as well as to parking area

Shading trellis at front facade

Ground floor interior, looking back toward entry

Food displays, main floor interior

Upper floor balcony

Looking across main interior

Staff administrative work space

Staff administrative work area

From bridge across toward deli area

Generous daylighting in checkout exit area

Looking across toward deli area, wide

Looking across toward deli area, close

In meeting room, looking down facade

In meeting room, ceiling fan


Exposed steel frame, with ductile notches

Grocery area

Grocery area

Bridge over vegetables

Bridge across grocery

Main doorway

Cosmetic and specialities area

Sundries display

Cooler area, simple materials overhead

Street view

Grocery aisle

Upstairs deli sitting area

Public stair in front corner

Conversational bridge

Looking across grocery space

Looking across grocery space

Staff work area

Corner office

Staff kitchenette

Interior Panorama, from Deli Area
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Interior Panorama, from Bridge
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Ground Floor Plan

Upper Floor Plan

Draft renderings of the GEEB project 3D model:
Aerial overview, draft
Eye-level overview, draft
Entry, draft
South elevation view, draft
West elevation view, draft
3D Model
3D Computer Model (DesignWorkshop format)
— Spatial Model —
Model Viewing Instructions
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Discussion Ocean Beach People's Organic Foods Market Commentary

"Sustainability fits the mission of the co-op, which is member owned. One of their missions is to develop and nurture practices that have to do with living well and living lightly on the planet. Projecting these ideas into the building itself was very natural for them.

"You get a greater sense of place from being able to see time pass through the lights and shadows, and that's also true for being able to feel the air from outside. If you go to work in a hermetically-sealed building with artificial light, you kind of feel like you don't have a say in anything. You're doing time until you can get out. But when you're in a building where if you're warm you can walk over to the window and open it, or if it's too dark you can open the blinds, you have more control over your sense of place.

"Budget was definitely a challenge. But again, the client was open to dealing with that creatively. On the interior we were hoping to use a lot more demonstrative products, like boards made out of wheat and straw, or recycled glass for tiles. But because those were just finish items and weren't absolutely necessary, they got pushed out. At the same time, there were a lot of other items that weren't completely necessary that we kept in. The building has a lot more insulation than it was required to have. It's also got dual-paned glass windows.

"One of the biggest challenges early on had to do with the structural system of the building. A goal early on was to have a column-free marketplace, so we came up with a structural system to achieve that. Then the first round of costs came through, and they were higher than we wanted them to me, so we had to start making cost cutting decisions. We talked about making the structure of a traditional grocery store, with columns and beams. But ultimately it was retained, and it turned out to be one of the really outstanding features of the store. The roof is holding up the mezzanine, and the roof itself is held up by the perimeter wall."
— Jim Gabriel, interviewed by Brian Libby for ArchitectureWeek


Address: Ocean Beach, California

Design Team

Architect Hanna Gabriel Wells
Mechanical Engineer  

Resources Sources on Ocean Beach People's Organic Foods Market

Search the RIBA architecture library catalog for more references on Ocean Beach People's Organic Foods Market

Web Resources Links on Ocean Beach People's Organic Foods Market

Ocean Beach People's Organic Foods Marketat the architect's web site

Ocean Beach People's Co-op Goes Greenat CooperativeGrocer.com

Ocean Beach People's Organic Food Co-op: Sustainable Buildingat the State of California

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