Colourful residential development in San Francisco takes reference from historically African-American neighbourhood
This complex development fills a formerly industrial city block with an innovative housing mix, introducing affordable urban townhomes to keep growing families in the city and family housing adjacent to senior apartments to prevent seniors from living in isolation. Leading a trend of transit-orientated development along the district’s main business corridor, the development lies just a block from a stop of a new light-rail line, a park, and a health centre.
The senior building, with 116 affordable rental units, serves as the anchor for the development, housing neighbourhood-serving retail space and services and presenting an iconic tower at the corner that signals a sense of place.
To reflect the historically African-American population of the neighbourhood, design details were drawn from traditional African textiles and symbols. Textile-inspired paint and window arrangements combine to wrap the public face of the building in an interlocking 'quilt' of colour and pattern.
The senior apartments overlook the park, the courtyard, or a landscaped mews that runs between the building and the family townhouse development. The mews, an extension of the city street grid, provides direct access to the surrounding neighbourhood and serves as a walking path away from the main arterial roadway.
In the family development, two mirrored sections of stacked townhouses flank a large open public courtyard above one level of parking, lobby, and community spaces. While staying connected to the city streets through private stoops and balconies, the townhouses surround the central courtyard, which features vegetable gardens, outdoor seating, and a picnic and play structure. Each side also features a smaller private courtyard with planters and picnic tables.