Westfield San Francisco Centre

Westfield San Francisco Centre

Won-Door part of successful downtown Westfield San Francisco Centre

By Sharon Haddock

Westfield San Francisco Centre

WESTFIELD, Calif., — Microsoft wanted to offer a dramatic customer experience at its new store in the Westfield San Francisco Centre mall on historic Market Street.

So when the designers decided to open up the entire 70-foot storefront, Won-Door became the key element, a way to keep the clean and airy expanse while still providing fire and smoke protection.

Jim Keenaghan, the project manager for J.T. Magen & Company, Inc., said the protective FireGuard door was the solution to meeting San Francisco City safety standards.

"It was the only option," he said.

The bi-parting door can pull completely across the expanse of the storefront when triggered for an emergency, providing an effective barrier between the store and the rest of the mall. The rest of the time, the door is hidden away out of view.

Catherine Tubbs, Won-Door's district manager for northern California and northern Nevada, said there are many Won-Door doors in the mall but the one for the Microsoft Retail store is of unusual length to accommodate the extreme width (68' 6.5" x 9' 3.25").

"The interesting part of the design is that the door is an off-set bi-part with 53' of the door coming out of a pocket at a radius," Tubbs said. "By bi-parting the door in this manner the client is able to take advantage of the total opening width and yet offer the ability to close this space down in fire mode."

The Westfield San Francisco Centre mall is a premiere, high-end, shopping center — one of the three largest shopping centers in America — with six-story anchors as well as over 200 specialty stores.

Twenty million people visit the shopping center each year.

Adolph Feiss founded the center, known as The Emporium, in 1896, as a cooperative of privately owned retail stores on Market Street.

The cooperative quickly became the flagship store (and the hub of social activity) of the northern California department store chain and held that position for almost 100 years.

Concerts took place there every Saturday night, featuring talent on stage in the two-tiered bandstand and café under the dome designed by Parisian-trained American architect Albert Pissis.
The fires that followed the 1906 San Francisco earthquake ruined The Emporium except for the Market Street beaux arts façade. However, the basic structure with its celebrated dome was rebuilt and the area has remained a popular shopper's destination.

Forest City Enterprises and The Westfield Group began a $460 million rebuild in 2006, restoring the neoclassical façade and legendary dome and finishing more than 1.5 million square feet in retail space in the heart of the downtown.