Shotwell Design Lab

San Francisco CA | Completed 


Shotwell Compound is a mixed-use urban contemporary approach to living and working. It combines the new Zero Cottage, a workshop, and an existing building that combines apartments with a gallery storefront.

David Baker’s home and workspace, two levels share an austere-yet-quirky yard and freestanding woodshop. The modest living quarters flank a sun-filled multipurpose room that extends onto a glass deck. Downstairs houses a private apartment and art studio-gallery space that opens to the street.

At the top of the stairs is a large room with an asymmetrically sloped high ceiling. It’s a very flexible space with functional service areas—a kitchen, pantry, office, and library—located behind shoji screens fabricated from fiberglass, bamboo, and aluminum. Interior doors, shelves, and furniture are fabricated from plyboo, a plywood made from sustainable fast-growing bamboo.

The passage originally allowed horses to get the rear yard stable, mow it’s the entry to the Courtyard and Zero Cottage. The rear yard is landscaped with permeable surfaces as a rain garden. Storm water runoff from the roof is directed to rusting steel planters filled with bamboo and horsetail plants, where it is allowed to infiltrate the natural water table. The rear deck surface is textured glass, which allows maximum light to penetrate into this space with high concrete walls on two sides.

Sustainable Features 

  • 2.0K solar electric system generating over half of electrical power on site. 
  • Solar domestic hot water collection system providing over half of water heating needs.
  • Digital dimming lighting controls on all lights to reduce consumption and extend bulb life.
  • Small-scale appliances: under-counter refrigerator, freezer, and dishwasher.
  • Passive solar design: high thermal mass, polished concrete floors, and south-facing clerestory warm the living areas.
  • Casework and wood doors made from rapidly renewable material: bamboo plywood.
  • Walls insulated with ground recycled denim batting.
  • Rain garden system diverts roof water runoff from city sewage system and into local aquifers.
  • Permeable infiltration garden and pavers in city public sidewalk intercept storm water runoff in public right of way.

Project Details

Project Number


337-339 Shotwell Street
San Francisco, CA
United States


Density Ratios
3,062 sf

Bicycle Parking

GreenPoint Rated Certified
LEED for Homes Platinum
Passive House Certified


David Baker Architects


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