This unusual 9-unit multi-family project in San Francisco’s mission district covers three adjacent lots, with three units on each lot, divided by a partially shared courtyard. The narrow lots conceal a surprisingly ample amount of floorspace (between 1,200 sq ft and 1,600 sq. ft. per unit) and a mix of private and shared parking garages. The developer selected the site, however, in part because of its many transit options—not least of which walking--so automobiles play a supporting role in the design.
“The neighborhood has a lot of Victorian buildings, and small streets with a pedestrian feel,” notes architect Glen Rescalvo. “The way we sold this design was that because the units are divided—facing onto opposite streets, it would keep the same feel of a neighborhood, and put more eyes on the alleyways. Also, we put it on a flat site, so people could walk easily, and forget about their cars.”
The narrow lots and rounded roofs, he says, not only reflect more unwanted heat, but imitate the rhythms of nearby Victorian homes. Inside, the units have a contemporary feel. Their uncluttered look, water saving fixtures, and energy conscious lighting and appliances appeal to young, hip buyers.
The units were assembled primarily rom pre-fabricated panels, partly to save labor, partly to reduce the amount of noise during construction. The resulting walls, with blown-in fiberglass insulation hit an R-26 walls, with R-38 floors, and R-56 below the roof. The project is targeting LEED platinum certification, but developer Andrew Greene says some details remain before that process is complete.
Along with a 95% efficient wall mounted gas boilers, solar hot water panels on the roof supply more than 85 percent of water heating demand for each unit. Because of the courtyard design, every unit has both daylight and access to outdoor space. A combination of local plants and artificial grass keep irrigation to a minimum, and frosted glass screens provide privacy for individual decks.
“Once the project was done, we brought some local planners down here to tour the project,” Rescalvo says. “We had told them we could build a contemporary, energy smart home in an existing neighborhood and make it work. And that’s what we did, with careful attention to the rhythm of other buildings and by listening to the neighbors.
“We had another thing going for us on this site,” he adds. “It’s in a microclimate, and gets more sun. Five blocks away, the fog comes in and just sits there. Location really matters, especially in San Francisco.”
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