Founded in 1982, David Baker Architects has designed and built more than 10,000 dwelling units, including more than 6,000 affordable units throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. The firm’s work evinces a sincere commitment to doing affordable housing well, involving the community as a whole to develop spaces that go beyond just affordable living spaces. With social housing, support from the local community is vital. In order to obtain it, the concerns of neighboring residents must be respected and considered.
In the Drs. Julian and Raye Richardson Apartments, built in the trendy neighborhood of Hayes Valley in San Francisco, community members were concerned about having people who were formerly homeless move in so close to their own homes. However, DBA designs take care to create a whole community that unifies populations at both ends of the social spectrum. The finished project, developed on a site that opened up after an earthquake collapsed a freeway onramp, is now a vital part of the community.
The building itself is friendly and livable; All units get natural light, there are on-site medical and counseling resources for residents, and there are even amenities such as outdoor terraces and a roof garden. Additionally, the street-level retail businesses, including a non-profit bakery, bring life and activity to a once deserted corner.
Currently, the practice is working on multiple projects. One such project, 2118 Sacramento street, has 75 units and will bring modular affordable housing for the formerly homeless to Vallejo, California. Another project, Sutter Park, is a 14-story high-rise that will offer 221 new homes, including 44 on-site affordable units, and an adjacent 3,500-square-foot child care center in San Francisco.