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