David Baker Architects | Location: Oakland, CA
The building provides 92 affordable homes for low-income and special-needs, formerly homeless seniors, many of whom had been displaced by rising Bay Area housing costs. This site is one block from the redeveloped Lake Merritt, a natural estuary and park in the middle of Oakland. This lakeside had fallen into disrepair and the surrounding area reflected the blight. This landscape, previously an impervious parking lot, now features extensive native plantings—including the only street trees in the area—to draw nature up from the revived lake and re-integrate it into the neighborhood. By burying the parking garage and directing rainfall to permeable paving, planters and swales, the project treats 80% of the average rainfall and removes 85% of remaining pollutants before entering the estuary.
Community input, community integration and social equity were at the heart of the design, from extensive pre-design community meetings to an art program, post-construction, for the building designed in collaboration with a non-profit that supports developmentally disabled artists. The massing of the building affords a welcoming entry and ground floor open space that creates sightlines to the street. Sunny, daylit circulation and rooftop and community garden and classroom with sweeping views of the lake add to the dignity and connectivity the design offers its residents. A post-occupancy process was conducted with the staff and residents to learn about the successes and shortcomings of the final product.
A LEED Platinum project, efficiency measures include ENERGY STAR appliances, efficient envelope, heat recovery ventilation, solar thermal hot water and solar PV contribute to a low EUI of 25, which has been verified by utility data.