David Baker Architects

ARCHITECT MAGAZINE

Residential: Five88, David Baker Architects


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The building’s south façade is clad in Cor-Ten panels from BOK Modern. Image: Mariko Reed

by Edward Keegan, AIA


This article appeared in ARCHITECT's May 2018 print issue and online.

 

 

Over the last decade and a half, San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood—which was created with fill from the rubble of the 1906 earthquake—has swapped 20th-century industrial development for a more holistic community with a University of California, San Francisco campus as its institutional anchor. Next to a planned expansion of Mission Bay Commons park, local firm David Baker Architects recently finished Five88, an affordable housing and mixed-use complex that fills most of a city block.

Concrete piers contrast with perforated Cor-Ten on the south façade. Image: Keith Baker

"This building is the largest new 100%-affordable development to open in San Francisco in a decade. Located in the rapidly developing Mission Bay neighborhood, the sustainable urban building provides 200 affordable, mixed-use, transit-oriented homes for low-income families, plus street edges activated with residential stoops and neighborhood-serving retail space.

This is an example demonstrating that affordable housing means design opportunity, not design abdication. Every window, railing, and material finish is considered and handled with care through to the project's well-built conclusion."

—AIASF

Form-based code guidelines provided the 224,370-square-foot building with its basic outlines, but the design details employed on the project give it a distinct presence. “Make big moves,” says principal David Baker, FAIA, of his firm’s strategy. Marking the southern edge of a residential stretch north of the park, the five-story-tall volume clad in Cor-Ten steel sits above glazed ground-level retail spaces and playfully detailed concrete columns. These “dancing columns,” as the architects call them, have become popular on Instagram: “People love textured concrete,” Baker says.

Standard storefront doors lead to dual lobbies (one at the north end of the building and one at the south), which are open to the elements as covered portions of an internal courtyard. The building’s 200 apartments feature three residential unit types: one one-bedroom and two two-bedroom layouts. The architects varied the double-loaded interior corridors, but intentionally end most of them with a window. “You can see light down the hall,” Baker says. “It makes a difference in livability.”

Building amenities—including a gym, common room, lounge, and laundry room—are located in a two-story pavilion that sits in the semi-private central courtyard. “It becomes a parterre garden,” Baker says. A children’s play area on the second floor eschews playground equipment, opting instead for a blue artificial turf from Fieldturf.

Keeping the building height below 65 feet allowed the architects to utilize Type V construction, which provided economies not available with Type I or III, which are more typical for a building of this size and use. The western half of the building is wood frame atop a concrete garage podium, while the eastern half is solely conventional wood framing.

Ground-floor plan. Image: ARCHITECT

Second-floor plan. Image: ARCHITECT

Image: Mariko Reed

A second-floor lounge opens onto an open-air walkway, one of several community spaces in the building’s internal courtyard. Image: Mariko Reed

Client/Owner: Related California

Architect/Interior Designer: David Baker Architects

Associate Architect: G7A

Mechanical Engineer: Tommy Siu and Associates

Structural Engineer: DCI+SDE Engineers

Electrical Engineer: AlfaTech

Civil Engineer: Freyer & Laureta

Geotechnical Engineer: Rockridge Geotechnical

Construction Manager: Construction Resource Management

General Contractor: Nibbi Brothers General Contractors

Landscape Architect: GLS Landscape I Architecture

Sustainability: Bright Green Strategies

Waterproofing: McGinnis Chen Associates

Acoustical: Papadimos Group

Baker explains that the firm approaches affordable housing with a “material budget” in mind. “Make 20 percent of it really wonderful,” he says. Apartment interiors are simple, finished with Shaw Contract carpeting in the bedrooms and Reward Luxury Vinyl Flooring in the living areas. The primary material used on the exterior is cement plaster, which is accented with cedar and concrete at the lower levels. At the northwest corner, a five-story articulated tower is clad in white standing-seam aluminum; the custom Cor-Ten steel rainscreen stretches across half its south façade. Varied perforations, some as open as 50 percent, shield fresh air vents and accentuate the mottled texture of the Cor-Ten. Stormwater management is exploited for playful invention, with downspouts composed of open three-sided rectangular pipes that make musical sounds in the rain, says associate Caroline Souza, AIA.

Image: Mariko Reed


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Baker notes that Five88 is the largest affordable housing building built in San Francisco in the last decade. The architects have created a lively new structure. “It’s very straightforward, but subtle variations make it look more complicated,” Baker says.

The building’s south façade is clad in Cor-Ten panels from BOK Modern. Image: Mariko Reed

Concrete piers contrast with perforated Cor-Ten on the south façade. Image: Keith Baker

Image: Mariko Reed

Image: Mariko Reed

Image: Mariko Reed

Image: Mariko Reed

A covered open-air lobby on the ground floor contains mailboxes. Image: Mariko Reed

Image: Mariko Reed

In addition to covered community spaces, the courtyard also features outdoor gardens designed by San Francisco and Seattle firm GLS Landscape|Architecture. Image: Mariko Reed

Image: Mariko Reed

Image: Mariko Reed

Image: Mariko Reed

A second-floor lounge opens onto an open-air walkway, one of several community spaces in the building’s internal courtyard. Image: Mariko Reed

Ground-floor plan. Image: ARCHITECT

Second-floor plan. Image: ARCHITECT

Section. Image: ARCHITECT