Tassafaronga Village Affordable Housing, All projects, Apartments, Green, LEED, Re-Use, Townhouses, Urban Design
Oakland, California

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Tassafaronga Village wins a national 2015 AIA COTE Top Ten Award!

The AIA Committee on the Environment selected the top ten examples of sustainable architecture and ecological design projects that protect and enhance the environment. The COTE Top Ten Awards program celebrates projects that are the result of a thoroughly integrated approach to architecture, natural systems, and technology. www.aiatopten.org

PDF Icon2012-11-11 Nyt-kimmelman

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

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


This new neighborhood, situated on seven-and-a-half acres in the southern end of Oakland, has a range of affordable housing, green pathways, pocket parks, and open spaces. The development has achieved one of the first LEED ND Certified Gold Plans.

All buildings are certified at the highest level of green standard—LEED for Homes Platinum—incorporating a wide range of complementary green strategies including solar power for on-site generation of electricity and hot water.

The Oakland Housing Authority townhouses at Tassafaronga Village are on track to be certified at LEED for Homes Platinum.

"This project works on every level, creating a haven for its occupants without forgetting to engage its communities. The team preserved embodied energy by artfully repurposing an existing building. Variety and articulation of different building and unit types are expressed both on the exterior facing the street, as well as the interiors facing the public gathering areas. It admirably achieves every one of the goals the team set out to meet."
—2011 AIA Housing Awards jury

Image: Brian Rose


There are two townhouse strategies at Tassafaronga: the normal row-house version, and "pinwheel" fourplexes. These units have no exposed backs, just  two adjacent fronts, and have up to 4 bedrooms.  All the Oakland Housing Authority townhomes additionally have washer-dryer closets.

Apartment building podium level plan.

The apartment building courtyard is a green roof over the structured parking. Image: Brian Rose


A three-story apartment building features affordable rental units in multiple configurations. Apartments flank a hidden parking structure, setting a residential rather than industrial tone, and also enclose a second-level open-air courtyard. The front of the building is topped with a rolling green roof.

The apartment building faces the pedestrian mews with grade level direct access to individual units. These lower units hide the garage. Image: Brian Rose

The Village Square shared space encourages community.

Image: Brian Rose

Village Square

Tassafaronga is anchored by a large public plaza known as the Village Square. Each of the three new areas of housing also has a semi-private shared space, creating sheltered play and gathering areas for children and residents.

Image: Matthew Millman

Image: Brian Rose

Pasta Factory

A defunct pasta factory and parcel of unused industrial land are reclaimed as small affordable apartments with a neighborhood-serving medical clinic.

Rendering of Habitat for Humanity's Kinsell Commons.

Two areas of Habitat for Humanity homes—known as Kinsell Commons—are incorporated into the site. Image: Bruce Damonte

Habitat for Humanity

Twenty-two family townhomes are going up in cooperation with the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity. The recipient families of these homes personally participate in the construction of the buildings, with 500 hours of sweat-equity labor, which they are then able to purchase with an extremely low-interest mortgage.

The Farm located in the adjacent park.

Kelly Carlisle is the founder the Tassafaronga Youth Urban Farm. She founded the non-profit Acta Non Verba, deeds not words, after serving in the military. The school kids who learn how to grow food have a farm stand three days a week. The money they earn is deposited in bank acounts for their future education. More information at www.anvfarm.org.

The Youth Urban Farm's wood fired pizza oven with chief farmer Kelly Carlisle of Acta Non Verba.

The former housing on the site was troubled.

The Pasta Factory before renovation.

PDF IconTassafaronga-leed-nd-checklist

Tassafaronga is a Gold Certified LEED ND neighborhood.

Download the PDF of Tassafaronga's LEED for Neighborhood Development Pilot project checklist.


PDF IconTassafaronga-leed-homes-checklist

Tassafaronga is LEED for Homes Platinum certified.

Tassafaronga Village achieved LEED for Homes Platinum Certification in May 2011. Download the PDF of Tassafaronga's LEED for Homes project checklist.



AIA COTE Top 10 Award
AIA Committee on the Environment
2012 Nathaniel A. Owings Award Entry of Note
California Architectural Foundation
MHN Excellence Award—Best New Development/Low-Income
Multi-Housing News
Builder's Choice Grand Award—Best Green/Sustainable Community
Builder Magazine
Growing Smarter Together Award
Association of Bay Area Governments
Excellence in Architecture: Citation Award
AIA San Francisco
Growing Smarter Together Award
Association of Bay Area Governments
ULI Awards for Excellence Finalist
Urban Land Institute
Real Estate Deals of the Year: Affordable Housing (Outside San Francisco)
San Francisco Business Times
AIA Housing Award
American Institute of Architects
Gold Nugget Award of Merit: Best Infill, Re-Development or Rehab Site Plan
Pacific Coast Builders Conference
Gold Nugget Award of Merit: Best Green Sustainable Community of the Year
Pacific Coast Builders Conference


Acta Non Verba Youth Urban Farm Project
Design as Balm for a Community's Soul
Housing Restart
Environments for Life

project details


Oakland Housing Authority

Development Consultant

Equity Community Builders


David Baker Architects

Landscape Architect

PGA Design

Structural Engineer

OLMM Consulting Engineers

Electrical Engineer

FW Associates

Lighting Designer

Horton Lees Brogden

Mechanical/Plumbing Engineer

Guttmann + Blaevoet

Mechanical/Plumbing Engineer

SJ Engineers


Cahill Contractors

Civil Engineer




project data
Tassafaronga Village
Oakland, California
Completed May 2010
number of units
OHA studio
OHA townhome
OHA 1 bedroom
OHA 2 bedroom
OHA 3 bedroom
Oakland Housing Authority total
Habitat for Humanity total
density ratios
project sf OHA
site acres OHA + Habitat
total bedrooms OHA + Habitat
bedrooms/acre OHA + Habitat
units/acre OHA + Habitat
OHA total
Habitat total 30
spaces/unit OHA + Habitat
type garage + surface
LEED ND Gold Plan
October 2008
LEED for Homes Platinum
May 2011