Mid-Block Parcel A - Sunset Steps
Sunset Steps is a collection of homes that center around the backyard as a place that brings communities together: entertaining, growing, cooking, and sharing food become the catalyst for a true community. Prioritizing the yard as a space for everyone gives every member of the community access to high quality living. The building envelope descends to the common ground providing opportunities for unimpeded stepped terraces giving sixty five percent of the site to landscape. This replicable community increases density and maintains San Francisco’s iconic hillside landscape.
The building fosters collaborative living through two mechanisms: a generous circulation loop and a terraced massing. The circulation loop links each roof top “yard” to a set of shared stairs with decks, balconies, and gardens that serve as venues for informal encounters. The terraced massing gathers density towards the street frontage, and visually connects the communal areas of the midblock site. Together these elements weave a close-knit vertical neighborhood.
The homes’ notched massing allows light to enter deep into the property. Corner windows create homes with natural light on multiple sides, uncompromised natural ventilation and biophilic connections to the native landscaping that envelopes the site. Quality natural materials like the deep terracota facade, wood windows, and heavy timber structure bring warmth to each home. The introduction of CLT slabs cuts the typical me for framing in half. The high-performance windows, continuous insulation, and ventilation paired heat recovery system optimize for air lightness, climate specificity, and thermal-bridge-free design achieving passive house standards.
Partnering with a local community land trust keeps this property affordable. That community land trust owns the land, reducing the cost of the homes significantly. Individuals can own a whole floor or a portion. The simple addition or subtraction of a portion of wall allows this flexibility. At its most dense this is a community of ten homes and at its least a set of four. The homes can grow and shift with the community over time. Together, the qualifies that build Sunset Steps form something greater than a multifamily building: it is a place for a beloved community to call home.