David Baker Architects | Location: San Francisco, CA
Hunters View is located on hilly terrain in Bayview-Hunters Point, a neighborhood in the southeastern corner of San Francisco. It is a HOPE SF site on the former location of a degraded public housing project which included 267 units located barracks-style housing built in 1956 distributed over a 22-acre hilltop site, and largely isolated from the surrounding urban grid. HOPE SF is a San Francisco initiative that incorporates both a financial mechanism and a set of principles to guide the revitalization efforts, and the model includes a service-delivery component to stabilize families in crisis and enable them to take advantage of new economic opportunities and amenities, as well as end decades of isolation from the surrounding community.
As the final phase of the redevelopment, this project offers a unique opportunity to examine needs of the community that may not yet have been fully addressed by earlier phases. To leverage this opportunity, the project participated in the International Living Future Institute’s Affordable Housing pilot program, led by the goal of achieving net positive energy, red-list-free interior finishes, and a close examination of where place, social equity, health and well-being intersect. Key features include a major new public park that is as productive for the community and site ecology as possible, adjoined by community spaces that form an active, safe community amenity.
To cultivate health and well-being, the project places a deliberate emphasis on issues of social equity, beginning with an extensive community engagement process and post-occupancy evaluation of previous phases. These efforts revealed facets of residents’ experience that contributed to a sense of at-homeness, dignity and comfort in the already-completed buildings, identifying minor design decisions that were uplifting to residents as well as those that caused unnecessary acoustic or safety issues, daily inconveniences and other hardships. Utility data revealed the cost and unpredictability of central gas systems and the volatility of electric heating costs. Community feedback directly shaped programming as well, identifying needs for a library-like space or learning center, reduced barriers to Internet access, and a future restaurant or market, all filling critical gaps in a neighborhood with poor access to these every-day resources.
The two all-electric, “zero-net-energy-ready” buildings have extremely low predicted energy use intensities under 16 kbtu/sf-year, owing to affordable, in-unit heat pump water heaters; quality insulation and air sealing inspections; heat recovery ventilation with a bypass for summer evenings when cool air is desired; ultra-efficient fixtures and appliances and LED lighting. Rooftop solar PV is expected to cut energy use further by roughly one third. Healthy building materials have been integrated into the interior unit finishes and a high percentage cement replacement has been integrated into the concrete mix specs, further reducing the project’s life-cycle impacts. Hunters View Phase III will also be responsible for capturing all of its site area as well runoff from the adjacent street and deficit from the newly constructed adjacent development blocks.
The team took on the challenge of reviving the contaminated site to become a neighborhood of opportunity, ecological restoration, and social resilience. The high-priority brownfield site was remediated, and demolition and construction practices were carefully considered. The abandoned factory building was preserved, despite the relative ease and cost-effectiveness of tearing it down, in the interest of increased sustainability. 93% of the existing factory—structural steel, framing and decking, and most exterior walls—was reused on site. By eliminating on-grade parking, 40% of this very high-density, 7.5-acre development is planted landscape. The comprehensive site-wide storm-water strategy includes drainage systems, infiltration features, and vegetated swales that manage and treat run-off before the City sewer system. By now, the deep planting beds—including those on the apartment building podium—have filled out with drought-tolerant shrubs and full-sized trees, creating shade, reducing heat-island effects, and providing a measure of relief from the relatively poor neighborhood air quality.