La Valentina Station 2012 in Review, Affordable Housing, All projects, Apartments, Green, TOD Transit Oriented Development
Sacramento, California

awards | publications | PDF Iconpdf brochure
large image slideshow | project details



La Valentina wins a 2013 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its energy efficiency, for spurring the update of Sacramento's antiquated zoning codes, and for revitalizing a derelict area.

The National Award for Smart Growth Achievement recognizes communities that use innovative policies and practices to develop in ways that protect the environment, provide housing and transportation choices, and strengthen their communities.

For more info about the project and the award, watch the video at right or click here. 


PDF IconArchrecord3-13 Lavalentina 1

La Valentina Station is featured as a "Downtown Catalyst" in the March 2013 Architectural Record feature "Sheltering the World: New Models for Social Housing."

La Valentina Station Sustainable Features

• Remediated brownfield
• High density (76 units/acre)
• Transit-oriented development 
• Exceeds Title 24 Energy Standards 
• 34.141kW CEC AC solar array 
• Cool roof 
• LED lighting
• EnergyStar appliances 
• Healthy interiors 
• Natural ventilation 
• Open-air “green” stair 
• Recycled-content steel 
• Minimized south-facing glazing 
• Sun shading at retail level 
• Low-flow fixtures 
• Draught-tolerant landscaping
• Permeable paving
• Storm-water management
• GreenPoint Rating in progress 

A view of the entry from the mid-block courtyard (which doubles as the utility easement). Image: Bruce Damonte

For more than two decades, a high-crime light-rail station stopping at a toxic empty lot; now, a sustainable affordable family housing development and new gateway to downtown. La Valentina Station brings 63-units of affordable rental housing for families to a previously desolate city site.

The development bolsters the local sewer, electrical and storm-water infrastructure and brings compact, transit-oriented homes to the neglected area. Facing the Alkali Flat/La Valentina light-rail platform, the building takes a strong stand along the rail line, balancing security and porosity by putting eyes on the street with private balconies, an outdoor lobby and stair tower, and open-air bridges that create transparency at all levels and on all sides of the site.

A long span of glass, masked with a “bar-code” mural spelling "La Valentina", illuminates the sidewalk at night with a mellow glow while ensuring privacy for the community room inside. In response to neighborhood concerns, the high-density housing tops new service and retail spaces, one set to house a café at the entry courtyard.

The mailboxes are housed in a custom cabinet. Image: Bruce Damonte

Interior of a one-bedroom La Valentina apartment with open kitchen and private deck. Image: Bruce Damonte

The southwest perspective after incorporating design review comments.

La Valentina Station in context, adjacent to the sister La Valentina North development by YHLA Architects. Image: Bruce Damonte

In conjunction with La Valentina North, an energy-efficient family housing development designed by YHLA Architects, this David Baker Architects project creates a gateway into the downtown area. 

View from 12th Street sketch by Kevin Markarian.

Northwest street level perspective computer rendering.

The section perspective illustrates the sun-shading strategies of the west facing elevation.

A detail sketch of the cafe and central gap, responding to the utility easement of the former alley.


At right, the development team lays out the history and future of the La Valentina project.


EPA 2013 Smart Growth Achievement Award
United States Environmental Protection Agency
Gold Nugget Honor Award: Best Sustainable Community (with YHLA)
Pacific Coast Builders Conference
SACOG Salutes! Blueprint Excellence Award
Sacramento Area Council of Governments
Best Infill Project of 2011-12
Sacramento Business Journal


La Valentina Station: 2013 EPA Smart Growth Achievement Award
Sheltering the World: New Models for Social Housing
"Anecdatal" Evidence

project details


Domus Development


David Baker Architects
Peter MacKenzie, AIA

Landscape Architect

Garth Ruffner Landscape Architect

Landscape Consultant

Fletcher Studio


Brown Construction



project data
La Valentina 20703
429 12th Street 
Sacramento, California
Completed July 2012
number of units
studio 9
1 bedroom 24
2 bedroom 30
total 63
density ratios
project sf 67,356
site sf 36,124
acres 0.83
total bedrooms 93
bedrooms/acre 112
units/acre 76
total 68
spaces/unit 1:1
type V