Affordable / Merit
Architect David Baker isn't afraid to use color—especially in the affordable projects that he champions—but he knows from experience that bright hues can elicit all kinds of responses. Fortunately, neighbors and merchants in the vicinity of Soma Studios and 8th + Howard Apartments loved the colors his firm used on an earlier building around the corner. "When we mentioned that project they said, 'Oh, we love the colors. We want brighter colors,'" Baker recounts. The architect gave them what they wanted: A vibrant yellow, blue, and green geometric mural pops out at the urban landscape along 8th Street, giving the project its own distinct identity and energy.
In addition to 74 one- to three-bedroom apartments and 88 studios (some renting for as little as $580 a month), residents of this five-story project got a museum-worthy entry gate, semi-public courtyards, a day-care center, 19,000 square feet of retail, a garage with space for car-share pods, six community rooms, and access to bike lanes and public transportation. Indeed, said one judge, "the parts are brilliant ... there is much to like about it."