- Project Name
- David Baker Architects
- Project Types
- Project Scope
- New Construction
- 224,370 sq. feet
- Year Completed
- Shared by
- Project Status
2018 Residential Architect Design Awards / Affordable Housing / Award
“I really love the public spaces—they feel like neighborhood gathering spaces, and there’s is a dignity to them. This really doesn’t look like affordable housing to me, to be honest.” —Stella Betts
Five88 was designed by San Francisco–based David Baker Architects for the city’s Mission Bay neighborhood. The 230,422-square-foot transit-oriented development is located along Mission Bay Commons Park, which separates the University of California, San Francisco campus from a residential area to the north. The building’s southwest corner acts as a gateway to the neighborhood and is clad in perforated self-weathering steel. The building’s other façades are primarily clad in cement plaster, accented with cedar, except at the northwest corner, where there is a five-story tower clad in white standing-seam aluminum.
The building’s courtyard plan comprises two C-shaped sections—the western half with four stories of apartments atop 10,000 square feet of retail and parking on the ground level, the eastern half with four stories of apartments sitting on grade. Resident entrances are via outdoor lobbies at either the north or south end of the block, at the seam between the two sections. Lobbies lead directly to a central landscaped courtyard, which is split between two levels. The lower is landscaped with drought-tolerant plantings; the upper is adjacent to laundry, fitness room, and resident lounge, plus a community pavilion and an outdoor play area paved in bright blue “Smurf turf.”
The building’s 200 units include just three layouts—one one-bedroom and two two-bedroom—which effectively cut complexity and construction costs. Another economical design move was the use of conventional Type V, wood-frame construction, with the exception of the single-story concrete parking garage that serves as a podium for the western half of the structure. Five88 is the largest affordable housing building built in San Francisco in the last decade. A portion of the apartments are prioritized for local school and healthcare workers.
From ARCHITECT's May 2018 issue:
Over the last decade and a half, San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood—which was created with fill from the rubble of the 1906 earthquake—has swapped 20th-century industrial development for a more holistic community with a University of California, San Francisco campus as its institutional anchor. Next to a planned expansion of Mission Bay Commons park, local firm David Baker Architects recently finished Five88, an affordable housing and mixed-use complex that fills most of a city block.
Form-based code guidelines provided the 224,370-square-foot building with its basic outlines, but the design details employed on the project give it a distinct presence. “Make big moves,” says principal David Baker, FAIA, of his firm’s strategy. Marking the southern edge of a residential stretch north of the park, the five-story-tall volume clad in Cor-Ten steel sits above glazed ground-level retail spaces and playfully detailed concrete columns. These “dancing columns,” as the architects call them, have become popular on Instagram: “People love textured concrete,” Baker says.
Standard storefront doors lead to dual lobbies (one at the north end of the building and one at the south), which are open to the elements as covered portions of an internal courtyard. The building’s 200 apartments feature three residential unit types: one one-bedroom and two two-bedroom layouts. The architects varied the double-loaded interior corridors, but intentionally end most of them with a window. “You can see light down the hall,” Baker says. “It makes a difference in livability.”
Building amenities—including a gym, common room, lounge, and laundry room—are located in a two-story pavilion that sits in the semi-private central courtyard. “It becomes a parterre garden,” Baker says. A children’s play area on the second floor eschews playground equipment, opting instead for a blue artificial turf from Fieldturf.
Keeping the building height below 65 feet allowed the architects to utilize Type V construction, which provided economies not available with Type I or III, which are more typical for a building of this size and use. The western half of the building is wood frame atop a concrete garage podium, while the eastern half is solely conventional wood framing.
Baker explains that the firm approaches affordable housing with a “material budget” in mind. “Make 20 percent of it really wonderful,” he says. Apartment interiors are simple, finished with Shaw Contract carpeting in the bedrooms and Reward Luxury Vinyl Flooring in the living areas. The primary material used on the exterior is cement plaster, which is accented with cedar and concrete at the lower levels. At the northwest corner, a five-story articulated tower is clad in white standing-seam aluminum; the custom Cor-Ten steel rainscreen stretches across half its south façade. Varied perforations, some as open as 50 percent, shield fresh air vents and accentuate the mottled texture of the Cor-Ten. Stormwater management is exploited for playful invention, with downspouts composed of open three-sided rectangular pipes that make musical sounds in the rain, says associate Caroline Souza, AIA.
Baker notes that Five88 is the largest affordable housing building built in San Francisco in the last decade. The architects have created a lively new structure. “It’s very straightforward, but subtle variations make it look more complicated,” Baker says.
Project: Five88, San Francisco
Client/Owner: Related California
Architect/Interior Designer: David Baker Architects, San Francisco and Oakland, Calif. . David Baker, FAIA (principal); Caroline Souza, AIA, Billy Forrest, AIA, Julie de Jesus, AIA (associates); Kevin Wilcock, AIA Associate Architect: G7A, San Francisco . Irving Gonzales (principal)
Mechanical Engineer: Tommy Siu and Associates
Structural Engineer: DCI+SDE Engineers
Electrical Engineer: AlfaTech
Civil Engineer: Freyer & Laureta
Geotechnical Engineer: Rockridge Geotechnical
Construction Manager: Construction Resource Management
General Contractor: Nibbi Brothers General Contractors
Landscape Architect: GLS Landscape I Architecture
Sustainability: Bright Green Strategies
Waterproofing: McGinnis Chen Associates
Acoustical: Papadimos Group
Size: 224,370 square feet
Cost: $68 million
FROM THE AIASF:
This building is the largest new 100%-affordable development to open in San Francisco in a decade. Located in the rapidly developing Mission Bay neighborhood, the sustainable urban building provides 200 affordable, mixed-use, transit-oriented homes for low-income families, plus street edges activated with residential stoops and neighborhood-serving retail space.
This is an example demonstrating that affordable housing means design opportunity, not design abdication. Every window, railing, and material finish is considered and handled with care through to the project's well-built conclusion.