San Francisco CA | Completed
Located in San Francisco’s Bayview District, this affordable family townhouse community is part of a trend of transit-oriented development along Third Street. The community is just a block from a stop of the Muni Third Street Light Rail line, with easy access to downtown. This project was designed and built in tandem with Armstrong Place Senior, a LEED Gold apartment building that bring sustainable senior homes plus neighborhood-serving retail and community services to the area. This pairing supports intergenerational living, and helps reduce isolation for solo seniors.
Occupying a large block between Armstrong and Bancroft Streets, off the Third Street corridor, the community features two sections of stacked townhouses flanking a large shared open public courtyard. This central public courtyard serves as a mid-block passage and features allotment gardens for families to grow food and flowers, as well as a rain garden to manage and clean stormwater.
The townhomes have a unique configuration, stacking an “upside down” townhouse on top of one with a more conventional plan. The lower-level homes are entered directly into the mail living level from the podium level or via stoops from the sidewalk, with the bedrooms upstairs. The upper townhouses are entered from elevated fourth-floor catwalks into the living level and descend to the bedroom area downstairs. This arrangement places the private quarters above street level, manages internal noise by not having active spaces above neighbors’ bedrooms, and avoids public walkways along bedroom levels. More than half of the homes have three or four bedrooms, to accommodate growing families.
Besides the central community courtyard, each townhouse section enjoys a dedicated semi-private podium courtyard, which tops the half-level depressed concrete parking structure. These smaller spaces are ringed by the open-air circulation balcony above.
Additionally a row of 10 three-story townhomes with private garages line Mendell Street to the west, which features pedestrian-friendly pavers and extensive plantings. The entire street edge ringing the development is lined with curbside bioswales—landscaped swaths that add green and collect and manage stormwater runoff. An additional landscaped pedestrian way runs between the senior and family housing.
Together Armstrong Place and Armstrong Senior won a national AIA Housing Award and a 2012 ULI Global Award for Excellence noting their effect as a catalyst for development in the neighborhood. The Urban Land Institute's Global Awards for Excellence recognize developments that have an enduring impact on diverse communities.
“Just... fun! The architect takes a complex program and enlivens it and creates a wonderfully playful place. Joyful, bold, and full of life...this shows a great collaboration of site, purpose, and design.” —2011 AIA Housing Awards
Third and Armstrong Streets
San Francisco, CA