David Baker Architects

Mabuhay Court

Slideshow | Details

The "feng shui"-inspired courtyard provides a green gathering space for senior residents. Image: Cesar Rubio

Mabuhay Court was designed and built in tandem with the Northside Community Center.

Stoops along eastern elevation allow direct access to the street. Image: Cesar Rubio

A senior housing complex with an integrated community and senior services center in the Japantown area of San Jose, this development serves a low-income elderly population. Named with a Tagalog word expressing the joy of living, the complex features a mix of apartment configurations that allows for a greater diversity of tenants than a single-unit approach.

The private balconies, stoops, and gardens of these apartments echo those of the adjacent homes. By annexing the airspace over the community center, it was possible to fit the same number of units into a three-story—rather than four-story—building, maintaining the low residential scale of the neighborhood. Along with the adjacent Northside Community Center, the corner public park and meditation garden provide a welcoming green space for the entire community.


PDF Icon2009-11 Uli Mabuhay Senior 1

Download a PDF of the 2009 ULI Fall Meeting presentation made by Ann Silverberg of BRIDGE Housing and David Baker, FAIA, LEED AP.

Many of the residents ride bicycles around the neighborhood.

Residents celebrating at the building's grand opening.

Trellis entrance detail.

Stoops connect directly to the courtyard. Image: Cesar Rubio

Aerial view from the east.

Site plan.

Section sketch.


Design for Aging Review Merit Award
AIA Design for Aging Knowledge Community
National Award of Excellence
Builder's Choice Project of the Year
Builder's Magazine
Builder's Choice Grand Award
Builder's Magazine
Merit Award for Design
California Council, American Institute of Architects
Maxwell Award of Excellence
Fannie Mae Foundation
Gold Nugget Grand Award—Best Affordable
Pacific Coast Builders Conference
Gold Nugget Grand Award—Best Senior Housing/Active Adult
Pacific Coast Builders Conference
Meritorious Achievement Award
NALHFA 2OO3 Fall HOME Awards Competition


Environments for Life
Today's Senior Housing Reflects Connectivity

project details


Affordable Housing, All Projects, Apartments, BRIDGE Housing, Senior Housing


San Jose, California


BRIDGE Housing

Affiliated Government Agency

City of San Jose Department of Housing

Affiliated Government Agency

San Jose Redevelopment Agency


David Baker Architects

Interior Design

Design Mesh

Structural Engineer

Tipping Mar + Associates


L + D Construction


Cesar Rubio



project data
Mabuhay Court Affordable Housing
270 East Empire Street
San Jose, California
Completed 2002
number of units
studio 19
1 bedroom 61
2 bedroom 16
total 96
density ratios
project sf 95,308
site sf 74,389*
total bedrooms
units/acre 56
total 77
spaces/unit 0.8
type underground
  *includes community center