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2015 AIA COTE Top 10: Tassafaronga Village

David Baker Architects


238,000 sq. feet

Construction Cost

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Project Description


Tassafaronga Village is a new neighborhood bringing a diversity of affordable housing to an underserved Oakland area, while repairing the deteriorated neighborhood fabric. The 7.5-acre brownfield infill site—previously home to decrepit public housing, an abandoned factory, and unused train tracks—was an isolated and unhealthy environment.

The LEED Gold plan created a coherent transition between the surrounding industrial and residential uses, repairing the rift in the neighborhood with 15 LEED Platinum buildings clustered along a network of safe streets and paths. The new village offers varied housing with three times the density of the surrounding area and has attracted a thriving community farm.


This is a former industrial site that has been repurposed as an affordable housing development. There is the innovative adaptive reuse of a former pasta factory and an intentional strategy of reducing visible parking in order to prioritize a safe, semi-private shared public play space. We admired the diversity of house type and scale. This project proves that the highest levels of environmental performance can be achieved at very low budgets and still have a design agenda. This shows that high performance has entered the mainstream. The project provides a prototype for new housing in this community. This doesn’t look like a “public” housing project. We appreciate the quality and diversity of architecture and landscape strategies. We like the simple energy efficiency coupled with the photovoltaic systems on the roof. It appears to be a true collaboration with a landscape architect.


  • Estimated % of occupants using public transit/cycling/walking: 75%
  • Daylighting at levels that allow lights to be off before nightfall: 74%
  • Lighting power density (watts per square-foot): 0.75 watts/sf
  • Outdoor views: 74%
  • Reduction of regulated potable water: 29%
  • Total EUI (kBtu per square-foot per year): 18
  • Net EUI (kBtu per square-foot per year): 15
  • Percent Reduction from National Median EUI for Building Type: 62% 
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