David Baker Architects screens a modularly constructed supportive housing project

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In response to San Francisco’s housing crisis, David Baker Architects (DBA) implemented a modular construction method and fast-tracked financing to deliver its Tahanan Supportive Housing complex. Located in the South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood, the project’s 63,000 square feet of space are distributed across six stories and provide 145 apartments for adults who have been homeless.

The effort’s funding came from a joint venture of Mercy Housing, Tipping Point Community, and the San Francisco Housing Accelerator Fund and the scheme was developed with the City’s Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. Utilizing the density bonus offered by California’s State Bill 35, which was passed to streamline housing construction, the project quickly received regulatory approval.

Constructed on an infill site, Tahanan includes a “community-focused” ground level space that includes access to a landscaped outdoor area, with the upper floors reserved for studio apartments. In approaching the building’s design, DBA wanted to honor the site’s location within the SOMA Pilipinas Cultural District. The name Tahanan “is a Tagalog word evoking the idea of ‘coming home’ and represents a place for people to return to or rest.” SOMA Pilipinas consulted the design team on further incorporating Philippine motifs into the project, with a pattern based on traditional handwoven mats cast into the project’s concrete, and a graphic of Philippine rice terraces depicted on the facade.  

angular view of facade at night
The pattern on the aluminum staircase was inspired by Philippine rice terraces. (Bruce Damonte)

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