The Union Flats: one of the largest completed housing developments in Northern California

Georgina Johnston
18 Mar 2020

Designed by David Baker Architects, the range of prefabricated construction offers 243 modern and practical rental homes

The practical rental homes are situated across from a new public plaza and the Union City BART station; the new LEED Platinum community includes 40 flexible live-work lofts, a new housing type for Union City. 

The development fronts a landscaped promenade shared with the adjacent affordable family housing to the south, the pioneer building in this developing neighborhood, which was completed by DBA in 2012.

At the corner of the promenade and 11th Street, a prominent entry is demarcated by an open air stair tower, bridge circulation, and a community art gallery. Lining both 11th Street and this promenade, flexible live-work lofts are set back from the property line an additional 10ft, widening sidewalks and creating space for ground level patios.

Keeping the surrounding streetscape active and vibrant, residential units along the newly created Berger Street to the north feature raised stoops that connect directly to the sidewalk. At the rear of the site, an embedded garage provides 1:1 parking and buffers the homes from the sound of the adjacent rail tracks to the east.

Inside, homes encircle a large central courtyard filled with amenities from a large swimming pool and freestanding green-roofed pavilions with a wellness, coworking, resident lounge, and dog washing spaces, plus a leasing office. The pool is shielded from view by the pavilions, yet there is a broad visual connection through portals from the street into the courtyard, revealing flashes of green and something of the inner life of the building.

The Union Flats features a range of prefabricated construction; modular set on a foundation, modular atop a Type I podium, and modular wrapping the Type I concrete garage. Guerdon Enterprises fabricated 388 “mods” in Boise, Idaho, while foundations were being poured in California. 

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