seidel/holzman, san francisco

Seidel/Holzman's orders for this project were simple: Provide affordable units for University of San Francisco faculty, students, and staff. But the location posed a more complex challenge: "The site was virtually sand," says Alexander Seidel. "It was sloping and unstable."

It was an engineering puzzle, but an aesthetic opportunity. Seidel used drilled concrete piers and underground parking to stabilize the site, and nestled into the hill a wide variety of flats and town-house units. A pedestrian paseo rises from the lower level and meanders through the upper sections of the project and through campus.

Town houses differentiated by color and individual entries front the lower level and serve to integrate the streetscape into the existing neighborhood. Though the homes may not exactly pace the area's eclectic architectural styles, they are consistent in scale, says Seidel. "It creates a nice urban frontage to fit the San Francisco texture."

The judges said the project just looks like it belongs: "It feels like it may have grown over time."

project architect: Alexander Seidel, FAIA, Seidel/Holzman
architect of record: Derek Dutton, TWM Architects & Planners, San Rafael, Calif.
land planner: Alexander Seidel, FAIA, Seidel/Holzman
developer: Glen Loomis, University of San Francisco, San Francisco
general contractor: Larry Smith, Roberts-Obayashi, Danville, Calif.
landscape architect: Paul Lettieri, The Guzzardo Partnership, San Francisco
project size: 21,000 square feet total
site size: 3.17 acres
construction cost: $35,000 per unit
rental price: $700 to $1,800 per month
units in project: 136
photographer: Russell Abraham