David Baker Architects

RESIDENTIAL / DAVID BAKER ARCHITECTS

ARCHITECT MAGAZINE: 222 Taylor


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The aluminum window surrounds of 222 Taylor provide shading to help minimize energy consumption. Image: Bruce Damonte

By Edward Keegan, AIA

This article appeared in the February 2020 issue of ARCHITECT.

San Francisco’s Tenderloin District is not a place visitors typically go to see architecture. While technically part of the downtown area—and just steps from some tony shopping districts—the neighborhood hasn’t seen the prosperity associated with the city’s decades-long tech boom. “It still feels pretty rough,” says David Baker, FAIA. But 222 Taylor, an eight-story, 126,000-square-foot affordable housing project designed by local firm David Baker Architects (DBA) might help change that feeling—especially for its residents, who include low-income and formerly homeless families and individuals.

The L-shaped structure holds the northeast corner of Taylor and Eddy Streets with 113 units that range in size from studios to three-bedrooms. The two wings with a double-loaded corridor define an interior courtyard at the northeast corner of the site. Ground-floor retail spaces with 15-foot ceiling heights house two long-established neighborhood businesses: a grocery store and a Yemeni restaurant.

The residential entrance is on Taylor, and from there, “it was important to have a direct view into the courtyard,” Baker says, “but you want a little more shelter from such a tough street.” Bike parking, a community room, laundry, and shared kitchen spaces are adjacent to the courtyard, which contains separate seating and play zones that provide varied social options for the building’s community. A management suite houses comprehensive support services for tenants, including two full-time social workers.

 

Recessed, cement-board-lined cuts in the facade reference the rooflines of the surrounding historic structures. Image: Bruce Damonte

Designed to both “fit in” and “stand out,” the building’s masonry façade is composed of vertically oriented, thin clay brick. Masonry was important as a reference to earlier buildings in the neighborhood, but the architects thought of the multiple colors of 3/8-inch-thick face brick at 222 Taylor as being akin less to masonry construction, and more like the application of ceramic tile: “We were really using it like paint,” says DBA principal Daniel Simons, FAIA. This idea drove the deployment of the facing brick in vertical soldier courses. The ground floor is glass and concrete, so the material never actually touches the ground. The building’s massing is marked by asymmetrical notches at the sixth and seventh floors that align with historic neighboring cornices and provide dramatic articulation for the building’s two principal façades. “By cutting these slits, we created horizontal volumes that are proportionally similar to the horizontal volumes of the adjacent buildings,” Simons says.

The lobby features board-formed concrete walls and elevator surrounds made from HC Muddox unglazed brick. Image: Bruce Damonte

The building is registered for both EnergyStar Multifamily High-Rise and LEED for Homes Mid-Rise. Achieving an EnergyStar rating (which was required for project financing) was a new wrinkle for DBA. It demanded commissioning, although the firm already advocates for this process as part of its sustainable strategy for other projects. “We spend a lot of time in San Francisco responding to air quality requirements that require filtered fresh air to all the units,” Baker says. “There’s a balancing act, because fresh air increases ventilation rates that can increase heating and cooling loads.” The architects adjusted window sizes and custom metal sunshade surrounds in response to their analysis.

The courtyard is accessible to all residents and features pavers from Basalite, Pavestone, Stepstone, and Wasau, and furniture by Hay. Image: Bruce Damonte

The building is registered for both EnergyStar Multifamily High-Rise and LEED for Homes Mid-Rise. Achieving an EnergyStar rating (which was required for project financing) was a new wrinkle for DBA. It demanded commissioning, although the firm already advocates for this process as part of its sustainable strategy for other projects. “We spend a lot of time in San Francisco responding to air quality requirements that require filtered fresh air to all the units,” Baker says. “There’s a balancing act, because fresh air increases ventilation rates that can increase heating and cooling loads.” The architects adjusted window sizes and custom metal sunshade surrounds in response to their analysis.

The living units range from studios to three-bedrooms, and feature Karndean vinyl composition tile plank floors, granite countertops, and views out through Peerless aluminum windows. Image: Bruce Damonte

The rooftop is a busy place, with solar domestic hot-water service, photovoltaic arrays providing electric power for the building, and an urban farm. The farm is a departure from similar ones the architects have designed in the past, where residents would grow vegetables for their own use. At 222 Taylor, “TNDC [Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, the client] partnered with an organization that manages that farm,” Simons says. “They’re growing a lot of food and it’s a wonderful initiative for the clients,” Baker says.

The courtyard also features a play area lined with HG NM synthetic turf from Heavenly Greens, where children can entertain themselves but still be in the sightline of parents who are using the communal laundry rooms or other facilities. Image: Bruce Damonte

DBA’s 222 Taylor walks a fine line in the Tenderloin, inserting itself firmly but quietly within the area’s gritty context, raising design standards while still respecting the fabric that’s given the area its identity for decades.

 

Project Credits

Project: 222 Taylor, San Francisco

Client/Owner: Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corp.

Architect/Interior Designer: David Baker Architects, San Francisco

MEP Engineer: Emerald City Engineers

Structural Engineer: OLMM Consulting Engineers

Civil Engineer: Carlile Macy

Construction Manager: Waypoint Consulting

General Contractor: Cahill Contractors

Landscape Architect: GLS Landscape|Architecture

Lighting Designer: HLB Lighting Design

Sustainability: Beyond Efficiency

Building Envelope: Aquatech Consultancy

Size: 126,000 square feet

Cost: $52,756,215

 

Materials and Sources

Acoustical System: Armstrong (Tectum panels)

Carpet: Interface (Straight Edge carpet tile)

Cabinets: Lanz Cabinet Shop (Northview collection)

Countertops: Royal Countertops (natural granite)

Exterior Wall Systems: Cembrit (Cembonit fiber cement panel cladding); Sika (BMI cement plaster); HC Muddox (unglazed and glazed thin brick)

Flooring: Armstrong (Rejuvenations Ambigu vinyl sheet flooring); Karndean Commercial (Opus Woods VCT plank)

Glass: Vitro (Solarban 70XL); Cardinal (366 Low E)

Insulation: Roxul (CavityRock exterior insulation); OwensCorning (unfaced fiberglass batts)

Metal: United Miscellaneous Ornamental Steel (custom-painted steel sunshades)

Mural: Art fabricated and installed by Sterling Graphics (Reproduction of “Untitled (Blue/Yellow)” by Creativity Explored artist Jennifer Bockelman)

Paints/Finishes: Sherwin Williams

Photovoltaics/Other Renewables: Heliodyne (GOBI 410 001 solar hot water collector); SunPower (Performance Series P17 photovoltaic collector)

Roofing: Johns Manville (DynaWeld Cap FR CR SBS modified bituminous membrane)

Site/Landscape Products: Basalite, Pavestone, Stepstone, Wasau (pavers); Heavenly Greens (HG NXM synthetic turf); Hay (Palissade outdoor furniture); Arborica (Reclaimed eucalyptus tree trunks)

Structural System: Concrete

Windows and Doors: Aluminum Windows: by Peerless (G201 aluminum windows); Kawneer (1600 aluminum storefront); Pacassa Studios (K-Door custom front door)

Typical upper-floor plan. Image: David Baker Architects

Ground-floor plan. Image: David Baker Architects

The aluminum window surrounds of 222 Taylor provide shading to help minimize energy consumption. Image: Bruce Damonte

Recessed, cement-board-lined cuts in the facade reference the rooflines of the surrounding historic structures. Image: Bruce Damonte

The lobby features board-formed concrete walls and elevator surrounds made from HC Muddox unglazed brick. Image: Bruce Damonte

The courtyard is accessible to all residents and features pavers from Basalite, Pavestone, Stepstone, and Wasau, and furniture by Hay. Image: Bruce Damonte

The living units range from studios to three-bedrooms, and feature Karndean vinyl composition tile plank floors, granite countertops, and views out through Peerless aluminum windows. Image: Bruce Damonte

The courtyard also features a play area lined with HG NM synthetic turf from Heavenly Greens, where children can entertain themselves but still be in the sightline of parents who are using the communal laundry rooms or other facilities. Image: Bruce Damonte

Typical upper-floor plan. Image: David Baker Architects

Ground-floor plan. Image: David Baker Architects