Affordable Housing / Merit
It’s an old tune that the architecture cognoscenti knows by now: David Baker + Partners does better affordable projects than many firms do market-rate work. This mixed-used, Merit award–winning project for low-income and formerly homeless families is no exception.
Occupying a prominent corner on the site of a collapsed freeway, the U-shaped building creates a tree-lined courtyard and common spaces and ground-floor retail to serve residents’ needs. “The goal was to maximize a tight site to meet program needs and create gracious homes and community spaces,” the firm says.
The building conveys transparency and light, though it incorporates a variety of security measures to protect the residents. To accomplish the openness, the firm used high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, and abundant glass panels.
Energy efficiency and green materials play an important role in the project as well, from the reclaimed lumber in the courtyard to the zinc cladding and recycled wood insets on the façade.
The jury lauded the project’s strong presence in the urban context and its “incredible public spaces.” Said one judge, “Spaces are great; [the architects] didn’t give up on or compromise on anything even though it’s affordable.”