Armstrong Senior Affordable Housing, All projects, Apartments, BRIDGE Housing, Green, HUD, LEED, Mixed-Use, San Francisco, Senior Housing
San Francisco, California

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Armstrong Senior was designed and built in tandem with Armstrong Place. Together the projects won a 2012 ULI Global Award for Excellence noting their effect as a catalyst for development in the neighborhood. The Urban Land Institute's Global Awards for Excellence recognize developments that have an enduring impact on diverse communities.



Located in San Francisco’s Bayview District, this affordable senior housing complex is served by a nearby stop of the Third Street Rail, the new Muni line. These four levels of senior housing above neighborhood-serving retail are part of a larger trend of transit-oriented development along this corridor, and will catalyze future such projects, bringing density, variety and services to the area. Armstrong Senior Housing is a HUD 202 project.

PDF IconDfar-insights-and-innovations

Above: The DFAR11 Insights Study provides a more comprehensive look at statistics, patterns, and innovations impacting the senior living industry and design community.



"Just... fun! The architect takes a complex program and enlivens it and creates a wonderfully playful place. Joyful, bold, and full of life...this shows a great collaboration of site, purpose, and design."

—2011 AIA Housing Awards jury

The "fabric" patterned circulation at the main entry gap off Third Street. Image: Brian Rose

PDF IconArmstrong-leed-nc-checklist

Check out the PDF of Armstrong's LEED New Construction project checklist.


Click here to see the solar performance of Armstrong Senior Housing.

Courtyard plan sketch.

The manager of Armstrong Senior, Woody, brought in these traditional wood fired smokers to supplement the natural gas fired BBQ we specified.

Retail at the corner of Armstrong Senior.

Pedestrian oriented retail at Armstrong Senior.

Concept sketch of African "fabric" wall.

Colors and patterns found in traditional African textiles informed the exterior aesthetic of the building.

To reflect the historically African-American population of the neighborhood, the color palette is drawn from traditional African textiles—the deep indigos and bright accents of Ghanian dutch wax resist fabrics—which along with the window placement, appears to wrap the public face of the building in an interlocking “quilt” of color and pattern. The private side is cloaked in the more subdued tones drawn from the earthy hues of Malian mudcloth.

The residences—predominantly studios and one-bedroom units—enclose a courtyard and sit atop commercial space set to house shops, senior services, a library, and a community center. The unique landscaping—vegetated bioswales along the street and mews, and a courtyard rain garden—does double-duty, adding green areas and creating miniature wetlands that manages runoff, easing the burden on the city's combined stormwater and sewage system.

This project was designed and built to a LEED Gold standard, with healthy interiors for senior residents. Photovoltaic arrays will provide solar electric power and domestic hot water.

Parking is reduced to realistically reflect the auto-ownership of the population and capture additional square footage for retail services. There is a car-share pod with two available vehicles as well as secure bicycle parking. The retail space features a dedicated shower and changing area, to facilitate bicycle commuting.
Click here to see the solar performance of Armstrong Senior Housing.

Armstrong Senior podium level plan.

Armstrong Senior ground level plan.

The senior housing shares a block with Armstrong Place, an affordable family townhouse development also designed by David Baker Architects. The two projects are separated by a landscaped public pedestrian way.
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2012 Global Award for Excellence
Urban Land Institute
Builder's Choice Merit Award—Best Affordable/Workforce Housing
Builder Magazine
Design for Aging Review Merit Award
AIA Design for Aging Knowledge Community
2011 Best Projects
Engineering News-Record
AIA Housing Award
American Institute of Architects


Iconoclast of Design

project details


BRIDGE Housing

Affiliated Government Agency

San Francisco Redevelopment Agency

Affiliated Government Agency



David Baker Architects

Associate Architect

Full-Circle Design Group

Structural Engineer

Structural Design Engineers

Electrical Engineer

Bhatia Associates

Lighting Designer

Horton Lees Brogden

Geotech Engineer

Treadwell + Rollo

Mechanical/Plumbing Engineer

Tommy Siu + Associates

Acoustical Engineer

Wilson Ihrig + Associates

Solar Contractor

Sun Light & Power


Nibbi Brothers General Contractors

Civil Engineer

Luk + Associates


project data
Armstrong Senior Housing
Armstrong + 3rd streets
San Francisco, California
Completed August 2010
number of units
1 bedroom 115
2 bedroom (manager)
total 116
retail sf 7,500
density ratios
project sf 131,800
site sf 35,000
acres 0.8
total bedrooms 117
bedrooms/acre 146
units/acre 145
total 31
spaces/unit .27
type garage
September 2011