David Baker + Partners

A small firm with a large impact on the residential scene, David Baker + Partners is an unabashed innovator in mixed-use urban infill and multi-family residential design.  While their exposure is probably larger within the industry, particularly among those with associations to the typology, they consistently produce designs that are of the highest caliber.

Located in San Fransisco, the firm benefits greatly from the tantalizing crucible in which the local vibe, urban culture and artistically sophisticated combine to produce a fertile ground for design opportunities.  That said, being in this sector of design myself, many don’t understand the economic pressures placed on the typology, whose funding and financial returns are on completely difference scales than most commercial development, and how that, frankly, separates the innovative from the not.  It’s easy to just give up and say “but the funding just isn’t there for that”, while it’s a quite a more challenging avenue to take these hurdles as a opportunities to foster new thinking.   David Baker + Partners does this on a daily basis, constantly refining what urban living is, and can be.

Folsom + Dore

Armed largely with simple forms and vibrant colors, their designers attack problems with inexpensive materials, quite often simply cementitious siding or stucco, sometimes a strategic smattering of metal panels or wood, and create engaging environments for a variety of users.  While this may sound like an easy, and possibly obvious solution, the subtlety is in the execution.  All too often I see the use of color is mistimed of overdone and comes off garish, or employed too sparingly and without forethought leaving the project morpholigically disjointed and without a clearly defined self image.

Armstrong Senior Housing

Their works aren’t just intended for that hip young urbanite on the Bay Area scene.  In fact, their work challenges preconceptions of low income housing, senior housing and any other function that has been hijacked by the eclectic, the derivative, or the nostalgic.  HUD financed, SRO [Single Resident Occupancy] Housing, bridge housing, any venue that people can call home, DB+P affords the highest level of design to give people, all people, an excellent living experience.

It’s easy to think of housing as simply “people containers” unless their is a financially marketable reason to consider otherwise.  However, this is one of the few sectors of architectural design where we get to directly impact people’s lives through good design.  DB+P is one of those leading the charge.

Armstrong Place

888 Seventh Street

SOMA Residences


10 2011