News
07.08.2013
Studio Visit> David Baker+Partners
San Francisco-based firm uses simple forms and materials to create dynamic mixed-use projects.
La Valentina Station.
Bruce Damonte

David Baker, Daniel Simons, and Kevin Wilcock of the San Francisco–based practice David Baker + Partners focus their firm on urban mixed-use housing, and on using simple forms and materials without stylistic preconceptions. They create a complexity and richness that grows out of working within the many constraints that housing brings to the table. The architects have been busy lately, completing a string of projects in the last year.

Working with an increasingly broad palette of affordable materials, the firm has developed a particular brand of humility. It could be called anti-elitist work, particularly their affordable housing projects.

Baker, Simons, and Wilcock's goal is to move away from the mistakes of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, including cost containment and impersonal design. In the grand scheme of things, the architects hope to promote a greater sense of community experience and customer satisfaction, the customer being the developer and, at the larger scale, the user, who is often overlooked in projects such as these. To Baker, Simons, and Wilcock, architecture is meant to be, above and beyond anything else, humane.


 
Bruce Damonte
 

Station Center Family Housing

Union City, California

Located in Union City, just south of the San Mateo Bridge and across the bay from Palo Alto, this high-density housing development is made up of 157 affordable rental units in two buildings. The units feature large operable windows, private decks, high-efficiency lighting, and ample sound isolation between units. The project is defined by the staccato rhythm of its individual units, which flow around communal activity zones, including a pool, landscaped areas designed by Fletcher Studio (including a sculpture of two battling gorillas), and a series of programs for youths and teens.

   
Bruce Damonte
 

 

Bruce Damonte
 

La Valentina Station

Sacramento, California

Located beside the light rail line in Sacramento, this 63-unit affordable rental housing development aims to become a beacon of the future of downtown. Situated on a previously unused city site, a remediated brownfield, it focuses on simple and effective planning. A painted, and curving polyvinylchloride (PVC) rainscreen creates a memorable striped facade. Now this once-neglected area is more connected to the surrounding neighborhoods and the building brings a high-design sensibility to a once blighted area.

 
Bruce Damonte
 

 
Courtesy David Baker & Partners
 

Equity Potrero

San Francisco, California

This as-yet-unbuilt project slated for the Mission Bay/Potrero Hill neighborhoods of San Francisco features two buildings and a new 40,000-square-foot park. It seeks to hone in on the intersection between public and private lives by weaving their paths together to provide new sensibilities and intermingled experiences. The two mid-rise buildings connect to the neighborhood through street-level commercial retail space. The building can be thought of as a community of its own, producing a sense of place at the borders of a once derelict industrial wasteland.


Bruce Damonte
 

Fillmore Park

San Francisco, California

This affordable community brings 32 modern homes to San Francisco for working families and individuals. Located in the Fillmore district, this was the final project of the now-defunct San Francisco Redevelopment Agency’s Limited Equity Program, which sought to increase affordable homeownership opportunities to residents of the city. It’s simple color scheme and balanced weight and scale between dwelling and public spaces creates a harmonic and subdued chorus that exudes a certain calm.

   
Bruce Damonte
 
Gregory Hurcomb