Text by Edward Keegan
Designed by local firm HKIT Architects, this 128-unit affordable senior community is the fifth and final phase of a HUD Hope VI public housing project in Oakland, Calif. The 100,922-square-foot complex—built by Nibbi Brothers General Contractors—is laid out around a central courtyard and faces a park that is part of the larger master plan for the redeveloped neighborhood. The building’s bulk is diminished by a lively composition of varied materials and colors that are arranged with a decidedly small-scale rhythm that makes its impressive 86-units-per-acre mass seem less imposing. A patchwork of varied window openings and sunscreens make the building a refreshing addition to the neighborhood while still meeting a modest budget.
A well-designed series of interior common spaces brings the community-minded aesthetic of the exterior indoors, with careful attention paid to small details in corridors, lobbies, and stairs. The play of materials, mass, and color also carries through to these spaces, connecting interior and exterior into one cohesive design. Individual units facilitate independent senior living with spacious windows that provide plentiful natural light and views while maintaining a strong sense of safety and security for the residents.
“The scale of the building is broken down very successfully. The use of depth, materials, and interior details are thoughtful.”
— Juror Katherine Hogan
Architect: HKIT Architects
Builder: Nibbi Brothers General Contractors
Size: 128 units, ranging from 406 square feet to 850 square feet
Cost: $236 per square foot