Giant Timber Trusses for San Francisco’s Fire-Damaged Pier 29 Built in Houston


After fire destroyed San Francisco’s Pier 29 boat shed, American Pole & Timber in Houston, TX designed, built, and delivered 15 giant timber trusses required to rebuild the fire-damaged pier back to it’s historical design in time to host the America’s Cup competition.


On June 20, 2012, Pier 29 in San Francisco’s Waterfront district got severely damaged by a fire. The building was to be used for hosting the 2013 America’s Cup sailing competition.

In order to rebuild the Pier 29 boat house, which was initially built in 1915, 15 massive structural timber trusses were needed — some 70 feet long and weighing more than 10,000 pounds. They had to match the historical design while meeting current load requirements. The timber trusses also had to be designed, built, and delivered within 2 months to in order to be ready for hosting the America’s Cup competition.

American Pole & Timber stepped up as the only timber truss manufacturer who could handle the challenges and deliver on time.

The usual red tape, which would normally hinder a fast rebuild of this type, was slashed by extra efforts on behalf of the city and the insurer (AIG) and as well as — some say — some coaxing from Oracle’s Larry Ellison who brought the America’s Cup to San Francisco after winning it in 2010 (winners pick a future venue). There were initially a few rumors that the fire was started by someone attempting to ambush the deal being made between Ellison’s group and the city regarding the use of Pier 29 for the A-Cup and future development. Those rumors have largely subsided and the police have stated they believe the fire was accidental.

Pier 29 is one of the 18 pier buildings on the waterfront that are within the San Francisco Embarcadero Historic District. The structure of the pier’s bulkhead featured 70-foot wood roof trusses creating a large open pavilion at the entry of the pier shed.

American Pole & Timber is a specialty supplier and manufacturer of high quality and FSC Certified® timber products such as structural timber trusses.