Richardson Apartments 2012 in Review, Affordable Housing, All projects, Apartments, Baker Vilar Architects, Current Work, Green, Micro-Units, Mixed-Use, San Francisco
San Francisco, California

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PDF IconEnterprise Richardson Case Study

Download the Richardson Case Study PDF at the link above.



The Enterprise Community Partners case study on the benefits of Richardson Affordable Apartments.


This case study of the socio-economic benefits was prepared by the Enterprise Community Partners.

PDF Icon2012-11-11 Nyt-kimmelman 2

Gracious words from the New York Times's Michael Kimmelman in the October 11, 2012, Art & Design section.


Formerly a parking lot on the southeast corner of Fulton and Gough streets, the Drs. Julian + Raye Richardson Apartments has risen on one of the sites freed for development by the demolition of the collapsed Central Freeway. This five-story building provides permanent supportive housing for a very-low-income, formerly homeless population.

The project is part of the Market + Octavia Neighborhood Plan, which aims to create a dense transit-oriented neighborhood with housing over retail and streets that are friendly to pedestrians and bicyclists.

This short video at right, produced by Community Housing Partnership tells the story of moving into the Drs. Julian and Raye Richardson supportive apartments.

Learn more about Community Housing Partnership's mission of serving the formerly homeless at


Read "Design as Balm for a Community's Soul,"  Architecture Critic Michael Kimmelman's review of Richardson Apartments and Tassafaronga Village in the New York Times

"Thank you for bringing elegance and creativity to Hayes Valley. I live at Hayes and Franklin, and the Richardson Apartments have single-handedly changed the tenor of that portion of the neighborhood. The building is a pleasure to see—it never fails to put a smile on my face and leave me with a good feeling about where I live."
—Raymond Buscemi, Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association



"The incredible public spaces are great; [the architects] didn’t give up on or compromise on anything even though it’s affordable.”
—Residential Architect Awards Jury



PDF Icon20509 Tourpresentation

Download a short PDF presentation that we show at tours of Richardson Apartments.

The entry lobby with Pacassa Studio's reception desk and mailboxes. Image: Bruce Damonte

Drs. Julian and Raye Richardson

Dr. Julian Richardson was born on April 4, 1916 in Birmingham, Alabama, as the son of a coal miner. Dr. Raye Richardson was born in Arkansas in 1920 and was raised in Waukegan, Illinois. An avid reader and honors student, she was accepted to The Tuskegee Institute at the young age of 16. There she met Julian Richardson, who would later become her husband and life partner in political activism. At Tuskegee Institute, a historically black university in Alabama, the Richardsons studied with George Washington Carver and Invisible Man author Ralph Ellison.

Settling into San Francisco in 1942, Dr. Julian Richardson worked as the first black typesetter at the SF Chronicle, but soon after started his own printing and publishing business Success Printing in 1946 with his wife Dr. Raye Richardson in the Fillmore District. A serious reader and book collector, Julian went into the book-selling business with his wife Raye when friends kept borrowing books and neglected to return them. Together they opened Marcus Books in 1960, the oldest black bookstore in the country. Far more than a bookstore, Marcus Books has served as a community institution and a center of critical discussion on black diasporic history, culture, and politics. Rosa Parks, Angela Davis, Bill Cosby, Malcolm X, Cornel West, Patti LaBelle, Julianne Malveaux, B.B. King, Randall Robinson, Huey P. Newton, and Fannie Lou Hamer, are among the hundreds of esteemed authors, activists, and celebrities to visit Marcus Books.

Dr. Raye Richardson served as the first interim chair of Black Studies at San Francisco State University, and retired as the first Professor Emerita of the School of Ethnic Studies. Raye’s political activism, sharp intellect, and commitment to teaching has made her a sought-after public speaker. Dr. Julian Richardson, died in San Francisco on August 21, 2000 at the age of 84, leaving behind a rich legacy as an avid learner and mentor to many.

The residents’ entrance on Fulton Street features a spacious lobby with a reception station. Beyond the lobby, the south-facing courtyard frames an expansive existing mural—a paint-and-glass mosaic of dancers on the side of the Performing Arts garage. Four levels of fully equipped studio apartments sit atop common spaces surround the private landscaped courtyard.

An illustrative section of the courtyard green drainage strategies by Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture.

The courtyard at dusk looking towards the Green Stair. Image: Bruce Damonte

An open grand staircase connecting the first through fifth floor levels reduces reliance on the elevator and encourages interaction between residents. Beyond the lobby, the south-facing courtyard frames an expansive existing mural—a paint-and-glass mosaic of dancers on the side of the Performing Arts garage. Four levels of fully equipped studio apartments sit atop neighborhood-serving retail and surround the private landscaped courtyard.

Typical upper-level floor plan showing SRO-type units.

Ground-level plan showing landscaped courtyard surrounded by services and retail facing Gough Street.

The project is being designed and built with the guidance of the Build It Green GreenPoint Rated  and Green Communities checklists, with sustainable features such as a purifying bioswale in the court, sunshades, and possibly solar electric and domestic-hot-water panels. In keeping with the intention of a dense, transit-oriented neighborhood, there is no on-site car parking, and bike parking facilities are provided.

The building responds to the existing fabric of the neighborhood by varying the colors, materials and heights on its façade to suggest a collection of more modest related structures. A prominent corner bay rising over the retail entryway at Fulton and Gough contributes to the dramatic view down the length of the building that culminates with City Hall in the near distance.

A tall retail level with an awning trellis that extends over the sidewalk helps maintain a human scale at the street edge. One retail space is dedicated to a work-training program for residents. Other supportive services and features include a counseling center and a residents' lounge, as well as a prominent community room. Additionally there is dedicated on-site medical suite reserved for resident care.

Benches of Monterrey cypress wood salvaged from the Presidio and supplied by Green Waste Recycle Yard. Tables by Concreteworks in Oakland.Image: Bruce Damonte

The clinic interior with workstations by Pacassa Studio. Image: Bruce Damonte


A full service clinic is located on site to insure direct access to residents to health services.

One of the "carrot" pieces by Evelyn Reyes, who is an artist at Creativity Explored in San Francisco.


Pieces by local artists are integrated into the building concept. There is a series of "carrots" by Evelyn Reyes of San Francisco's Creativity Explored.

Typical unit cut away perspective. 13'-6" x 24': 345 SF

A corner unit showing the bed and dresser provided with each apartment. Image: Bruce Damonte


All 120 of the apartments are Micro-Units: small studios averaging 329 SF, each with a full bathroom and kitchen.

Image: Bruce Damonte

Image: Matthew Millman


The roof hosts a green roof, urban agriculture, open space for residents, and active solar electricity and hot water collection.

Hayes Valley Bakeworks, Richardson's social-enterprise bakery. Image: Matthew Millman

RETAIL: Hayes Valley Bakeworks

Retail spaces brighten the streetscape along Gough Street and connect the building with the established retail corridor on Hayes Street.

Hayes Valley Bakeworks anchors the corner: The social-enterprise bakery, with interiors by Architects II, makes job training and an employment program available to residents.

Streetscape improvements include a tall retail colonnade, lighting, drought-tolerant plantings, and bicycle racks.

Image: Matthew Millman

RETAIL: Dragon Eats

The imigrant owner of this restaurant did his own DIY interior. He also colonized the sidewalk with outdoor seating, something unimaginable brfore this building provided a wider sidewalk pedestrian zone.


VIDEO: Enterprise Fellow Laura Shipman talks about her development role for Richardson Apartments. 

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PDF IconParcel G Questions Answers Information

This download provides answers to commonly asked questions regarding the Parcel G lot and the Richardson Apartment project.


2013 Design Awards—Merit
American Institute of Architects, San Francisco
AIACC Residential Design Award of Merit
AIA California Council
2012 ASLA Professional Award of Excellence in Residential Design
American Society of Landscape Architects
2012 Exceptional Residential: Bay Area Regional Design Honor Award
AIA East Bay
Gold Nugget Grand Award: Residential Project of the Year (Attached/Urban Environment)
Pacific Coast Builders Conference
Gold Nugget Merit Award: Best Affordable (over 30 du/acre)
Pacific Coast Builders Conference
AIA National Housing Award
American Institute of Architects
AIA/HUD Secretary's Award for Excellence in Affordable Housing Design
American Institute of Architects and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
2012 Merit Award
ASLA Northern California
Residential Architect Design Award: Merit
Residential Architect Magazine
Real Estate Deals of the Year: Best Affordable Residential
San Francisco Business Times
2012 Western Wood Design Award: Multi-Story Midrise


Design as Balm for a Community's Soul
Iconoclast of Design

project details

Owner's Representative

Design Studios Gonzalo Castro

Nonprofit Housing Developer

Community Housing Partnership

Nonprofit Housing Developer

Mercy Housing California

Affiliated Government Agency

San Francisco Redevelopment Agency


David Baker Architects

Associate Architect

Baker Vilar Architects

Landscape Architect

Andrea Cochran Landscape Architects


Cahill Contractors

Affiliated Architect (Hayes Valley Bakeworks)

Architects II


project data
Drs. Julian + Raye Richardson Apartments
365 Fulton Street at Gough
San Francisco, California
Completed September 2011
number of units
studio 120
total 120
retail sf 2,700
density ratios
project sf 65,419
site sf 18,906
acres 0.47
total bedrooms 120
bedrooms/acre 261
units/acre 261
total 0
GreenPoint Rated
February 2012