Richardson Apartments

San Francisco CA | Completed 


This affordable, supportive studio housing is both a haven for its formerly unhoused residents and an asset for its neighborhood, which had suffered a fracture following the demolition of an urban freeway.

In the heart of San Francisco, this mixed-use building provides permanent, supportive studio apartments for very-low-income formerly unhoused residents, many with mental and physical disabilities.

The high-density development is part of a larger urban plan to remediate sites along the path of a collapsed freeway with green homes, street improvements, and neighborhood-serving retail.

The first big move was programmatic: Eliminate parking on-site parking. Based on the transit-oriented location and anticipated low car ownership of residents, the choice was made to forgo parking. This freed both space and funds to maximize the number of homes and include an on-site medical and counseling suite to directly support residents.

An iconic swooping corner clad in zinc and hardwood draws the eye toward the main retail and residential entries and stands as a symbol for the entire building, the balance of which is clad with durable, practical materials such as stucco and cement plaster.

This prominent corner is home to a busy social-venture bakery that serves the neighborhood and provides training and jobs available to building tenants and disabled neighborhood residents. A row of retail spaces connects the building to the nearby neighborhood retail corridor. These spaces enjoy a 15-foot ceiling, shade and signage space for their entries, and broad glazing to bring in daylight and display wares and services.  Along both public edges, well-lit sidewalks, permeable paving, plantings, and bike racks contribute to a safe, people-friendly streetscape. 

Placed on the quieter street, the residential entrance features a custom redwood door as well as a reception station and mailboxes designed by DBA_Workshop.

Balancing independence and security, the ground level includes a monitored dual-door lobby, offices, the medical and counseling clinic, courtyard, lounge, program rooms, kitchen, and laundry. These rooms are grouped together for convenience of use, and the community rooms open widely to the central courtyard to form a flexible indoor-outdoor gathering space. In the courtyard, an open-air stair reduces reliance on the elevator and encourages walking and interaction between residents.

This lobby has views through to the central courtyard and other shared spaces, offering a glimpse of the inner life of the building. The south-facing courtyard frames an expansive existing mosaic of dancers on the side of the neighboring garage. Rather than building to obscure this mural, the building was configured to allow the art-covered wall to serve as the back wall of the property, incorporating the colorful large-scale piece into the building’s central courtyard. 

The high-density development had a big open-space requirement, which was realized by complementing the courtyard with a roof deck that includes a living roof, urban agriculture, and gathering spaces. A range of outdoor social spaces throughout the building allow residents to gather outside of their apartments without loitering on the street.   

Project Details

Project Number


365 Fulton at Gough
San Francisco, CA
United States


Number of Units

Total 120

Density Ratios
65,419 sf
18,906 sf
Units per Acre

Parking Spots

Type VA
Type IA
5 Stories

GreenPoint Rated Platinum


2013 Design Awards—Merit
American Institute of Architects, San Francisco
AIACC Residential Design Award of Merit
AIA California Council
2012 ASLA Professional Award of Excellence in Residential Design
American Society of Landscape Architects
2012 Exceptional Residential—Bay Area Regional Design Honor Award
AIA East Bay
Gold Nugget Grand Award—Residential Project of the Year (Attached/Urban Environment)
Pacific Coast Builders Conference
Gold Nugget Merit Award—Best Affordable (over 30 du/acre)
Pacific Coast Builders Conference
AIA National Housing Award
American Institute of Architects
AIA/HUD Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Affordable Housing Design
American Institute of Architects / U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
2012 Merit Award
ASLA Northern California
Residential Architect Design Award—Merit
Residential Architect Magazine
Real Estate Deal of the Year—Best Affordable Residential
San Francisco Business Times
2012 Western Wood Design Award—Multi-Story Midrise


Owner’s Representative
Design Studios Gonzalo Castro
Nonprofit Housing Developer
Nonprofit Housing Developer
Mercy Housing California
Affiliated Government Agency
San Francisco Redevelopment Agency
David Baker Architects
Associate Architect
Baker Vilar Architects
Landscape Architect
Andrea Cochran Landscape Architects
Cahill Contractors
Affiliated Architect (Hayes Valley Bakeworks)
Architects II


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