David Baker Architects

Bell Mews

Slideshow | Details

View from upper Ellis Street, downtown buildings and a bank of fog offer a dramatic backdrop.

A resident's garden sculpture adds a personal touch to semipublic space.

View across Divisadero Street.

Located in the historic Western Addition neighborhood of San Francisco on a former gas station site, this development offers affordable two, three and four bedroom townhouses to first-time home buyers The San Francisco Redevelopment Agency facilitated by providing below market rates to qualified families.

Resident enjoys a meal in his spacious kitchen.

View into the mews and courtyard.

This 10 unit high-density design holds the urban street edge with three-story townhouses. They enclose a semiprivate courtyard or "mews", surfaced with interlocking concrete pavers, that provides access to individual garages and a two-story "cottage" duplex. Private balconies off the kitchens and dining rooms overhang the mews, which extends the public street into the site while buffering it.

Floor plan and aerial photo.

Site plan and aerial photo.

View across Ellis Street.

The townhouses feature a split-level section, which allows each floor, containing a single room, to be only a half story from the adjacent floors. This also places the first living level a half level above the street for privacy and partial separation from the public sidewalk. The wood-frame structure is finished along the street face with a "green" painted composite siding. To add a variation of texture, the cottages and interior elevations are finished with cedar shingles.

project details


Affordable Housing, All Projects, San Francisco, Townhouses


San Francisco, California


San Francisco Housing Development Corporation


David Baker Architects


Nibbi Brothers General Contractors



project data
Bell Mews
Ellis + Divisadero
San Francisco, California
Completed 1998
number of units
2 bedroom 9
3 bedroom 1
total 10
density ratios
project sf 13,000
site sf 10,200
acres 0.2
total bedrooms 21
bedrooms/acre 90
units/acre 43
total 10
spaces/unit 1
type private garage