David Baker Architects

Crescent Cove

Slideshow | Details


"From our Solar System to our nervous system—everything’s interconnected."

Systems Mural Project will explore the concept of interconnectivity via a 600-foot panoramic mural painted by San Francisco artist Brian Barneclo: "Systems are found in nature (the water cycle) and also created by man (the government). What have we learned about sustainable systems? What works and what doesn’t? Should we revisit ancient technologies? Is the Industrial Age over? It is through this conversation that we gain an understanding of perhaps the most complicated systems of all, our systems of belief."


This affordable rental community maximizes an irregularly shaped site defined by the curve of CalTrain railroad tracks in the emerging Mission Bay neighborhood. A four-story building, entered through stacked double-height lobbies, establishes a defined edge along the street. Bays and recesses, pedestrian entries, private patios, decks, and garden notches provide relief and texture to this edge. To the rear, the building fans into an array of "fingers" with ample garden courtyards widening between them. Glass hallways connect these building sections, offering ample views of the green courtyards below.

Actual Systems Mural as of September 22, 2011. Image: Brian Barneclo

Front entrance. Image: Brian Rose.

Front entrance from interior lobby. Image: Brian Rose.

Crescent Cove in its San Francisco setting. Image: Steve Proehl.

A newly constructed landscaped street swings behind the building face. Lining the curve of the road, looking across at the courtyards, are freestanding townhouse units stacked atop studio apartments. Built with thick rear walls with sound-dampening properties, the curve of the back of the townhouses protects the development from the noise of the train.

Berry Street elevation. Image: Brian Rose.


Berry Street units are directly accessed by stoops.

Front stoops on lower level along Berry Street. Image: Brian Rose.

A courtyard view from the curved private street. Image: Brian Rose

View from resident's balcony out finger courtyard to the City. Image: Brian Rose.

Communal BBQ and picnic area outside community room. Image: Brian Rose.


The spaces between the building "fingers" are 3 landscaped courtyards that are open ended to allow views to the City.

View of the "blue" courtyard from the curved private street. Image: Brian Rose.

Curved row of townhomes consisting of studios on the lower level with 2-bedroom units above. Image: Brian Rose.

Curved Townhome Sound-Wall

The property line to the north follows the curve of the Cal-Train tracks. This 3 story wall of wall up housing, townhomes located over a ground level one bedroom flat, blocks the train noise.

View of curved townhome sound-wall from across courtyard. Image: Brian Rose.

This diagram defines the major issues with the site: the unusual shape, the train tracks, and the freeway passing overhead.

Typical upper-floor plan.

David Baker + Partners Architects

The wall without the mural. Image: Brian Barneclo.

A computer simulation of the mural proposal by artist Brian Barneclo. Image: Brian Barneclo

The next version of Brian's mural. This will be awesome! Image: Brian Barneclo

Crescent Cove in its San Francisco setting. Image: Steve Proehl.

View from above. Image: Steve Proehl.

The main pedestrian entrance on Berry Street features two double-height lobby spaces.

Front entrance. Image: Brian Rose.

The entrance to the curved street with the "sound wall" townhouses on the left and apartment "hand" to the right.

A stoop in 2014.

A community courtyard located between two building "fingers." Image: Brian Rose.

Rear elevation.

West elevation. Image: Brian Rose

East elevation.

Elevation spied from under freeway. Image: Brian Rose.

A courtyard made by the space between the building "fingers."

Looking at townhomes from between two "fingers."

First level pedestrian paths. Image: Brian Rose.

Sunlight filters through custom windows in a communal play space in main building. Image: Brian Rose.

The glass walls of the connecting corridors overlook the "finger" courtyards.

A view of downtown San Francisco can be seen from upper levels of main building overlooking courtyard. Image: Brian Rose.

Crescent Cove rooftops peek out above soundwall.

The rear of the townhouses form a giant sound wall to block the noise of the Caltrain line.

Site plan.

This aerial computer rendering generated in house from Revit digital model was also used for contract documents.

Rendering by Art Zendarski.

DB+P staff touring the townhouse construction at Crescent Cove.


Gold Nugget Award of Merit—Affordable Project (30 du/acre or more)
Pacific Coast Builders Conference
Builder's Choice Grand Award—Affordable Housing
Builder's Magazine


Making Less Space for Cars, More Space for People

project details


Affordable Housing, All Projects, Apartments, San Francisco, Townhouses


San Francisco, California


Related Companies of California

Nonprofit Housing Developer

Chinatown Community Development Center

Affiliated Government Agency

San Francisco Redevelopment Agency


David Baker Architects

Landscape Architect

Andrea Cochran Landscape Architects

Structural Engineer

Structural Design Engineers

Electrical Engineer

Bhatia Associates


Nibbi Brothers General Contractors

Mural Artist

Brian Barneclo



project data
Crescent Cove
420 Berry Street  
San Francisco, California
Completed July 2007
number of units
studio 81
1 bedroom 90
2 bedroom 65
total 236
density ratios
project sf 185,000
site sf 155,597
acres 3.57
total bedrooms 301
bedrooms/acre 84
units/acre 66
total 177
spaces/unit 0.75
type car + motorcycle