David Baker Architects’ La Fénix Is A Masterclass In Affordable Housing.

In San Francisco, where nefarious NIMBYs, multi-year environmental impact reviews, and an absurdly complex building code exist, completing any building is an accomplishment.

David Baker Architects' La Fénix Is A Masterclass In Affordable Housing.
David Baker Architects’ La Fénix Is A Masterclass In Affordable Housing.

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However, La Fénix of 1950—a new development by David Baker Architects located directly above a BART station and consisting of 157 affordable apartments (with 20% reserved for formerly homeless families)—feels miraculous.

La Fénix is located in San Francisco’s Mission District, directly across the street from a highly contentious (and ultimately cancelled) mixed-use project dubbed “Monster in the Mission.” From the start, the architects collaborated with a group of local artists on a regular basis.

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Architect Caroline Souza says that connecting with the Mission’s thriving arts community was very important for this project. This is because the neighbourhood’s ever-rising property values have hurt the arts community.

Souza explains: “It’s the Mission—everything is vibrant and alive.” Local artists’ work is displayed throughout the project, and the architecture is inspired by its surroundings: Awnings, screens, and gates reference Papel Picado, a traditional Mexican cut-paper art form; columns, walls, and stairwells are clad in Mexicali Rose—coloured tile; and the firm carved out the Paseo de Artistas, a midblock passage filled with murals, affordable artist studios, and a gallery space.

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David Baker Architects' La Fénix Is A Masterclass In Affordable Housing.
David Baker Architects’ La Fénix Is A Masterclass In Affordable Housing.

According to Souza, the site “demonstrates how wonderful and community-building transit-oriented development can be when parking is not required.” Rather than that, the ground floor could house a childcare centre, a laundromat, and retail spaces that serve the community. “

On one of the building’s rooftops, solar water heating panels are installed; on the other, a park with native plants, a community garden, and a playground for the building’s youngest residents is located, complete with breathtaking views of Twin Peaks and downtown.

The building, named for the phoenix, which is a symbol of rebirth, is a sign of how a community cares for its most vulnerable with the vitality and verve that make this neighbourhood unique.


Written By Tannu Sharma | Subscribe To Our Telegram Channel To Get Latest Updates And Don’t Forget To Follow Our Social Media Handles Facebook Instagram LinkedIn Twitter. To Get the Latest Updates From Arco Unico

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