David Baker Architects

Columbia Park

Slideshow | Details
Fullwidth image

2017 aerial view. Image: Steve Proehl


The park across Columbia Street opened in 2006, finally completing our design intent.

Oblique view of Folsom + Columbia corner.

Located in San Francisco's South of Market district, Columbia Park integrates affordable family housing into a varied commercial and light industrial neighborhood. The building responds to the surrounding typologies—both Folsom Street's commercial establishments, as well as those of the neighboring narrow alleys scattered with light industrial workshops and warehouses.

This four story building maintains an urban edge along Folsom Street while reducing in mass toward the main entry on Columbia Street. Ground floor offices have entries on Folsom Street, while the residential gate on Columbia Street is buffered from the traffic by a forecourt. The materials used—concrete, wood and galvanized steel—are a sampling of materials and textures found in surrounding structures.

Bougainvillea grows on the entry gate.

Children play in the second level courtyard.

A central courtyard serves as the main organizational element. Opening to the west, it provides a shared garden and play space. Stepping up to the second floor level, the courtyard connects the circulation loop and provides a protected environment for the adults and children to meet and play. The landscape elements include planters, trellises, tile mosaics and sculptural colored concrete seating areas. The resident entrances faces a park and playground across a shady alley.

Typical upper level plan showing apartments and courtyard.

Site plan.

Courtyard and entrance.


Design Matters—Best Practices in Affordable Housing
University of Illinois, City Design Center
Design Matters—Best Practices in Affordable Housing
University of Illinois at Chicago
Honor Award—Best of the Bay and Beyond
San Francisco Chapter, American Institute of Architects

project details


Affordable Housing, All Projects, Apartments, San Francisco


San Francisco, California

Nonprofit Housing Developer

Mercy Housing California


David Baker Architects

Associate Architect

Baker Vilar Architects

General Contractor

Cahill Contractors

Landscape Architect

Delaney + Cochran

Structural Engineer

Dominic Chu


David Wakeley



project data
Colombia Park Affordable Housing
1035 Folsom
San Francisco, California
Completed 1996
number of units
1 bedroom
2 bedroom 12
3 bedroom 30
4 bedroom 4
total 50
density ratios
project sf 60,000
site sf 23,700
acres 0.5
total bedrooms 134
bedrooms/acre 246
units/acre 92
total 50
spaces/unit 1
type podium