Lakeside Senior Apartments
Architect: David Baker Architects
Location: Oakland, California
Category One: Excellence in Affordable Housing Design Award
This project replaced an underused parking lot to provide housing for 91 low-income and special needs seniors who have been displaced by the Bay Area’s sky-high housing costs.
Integrated into Oakland’s urban grid on the south side of the city’s Lake Merritt, Lakeside Senior Apartments provides housing for 91 low-income and special needs seniors who have been displaced by the Bay Area’s sky-high housing costs. In a prime location just one block away from a renovated outdoor lakeside amenities, the building replaced an underused parking lot with high-density housing that features easy access to transit to downtown Oakland and San Francisco.
"This project brings dignity and beauty to people in their twilight years, most of whom have had very difficult and stressful lives." ~ Jury comment
The design was a response to feedback from the neighborhood, and the team ensured the building’s profile did not hinder the light and views appreciated by adjacent buildings. A mid-size building, the massing is broken up into two separate volumes that step down toward the lake, helping maintain the neighborhood’s scale. Beneath the five levels of housing and community space, a below-grade garage provides replacement parking while adding additional capacity. The building’s edges enhance the neighborhood with new plantings and the apartments’ private balconies and stoops provide a direct connection with the street and opportunities for social interaction.
Communal spaces are available throughout the building, beginning with the ground floor’s community room that features a kitchen, TV lounge, and activity space for art making programs and regular resident meetings. The room is adjacent to a sunny, west-facing main courtyard, which overlooks the street and connects both of the building’s masses, creating a flexible indoor-outdoor plaza. On the fifth floor, a suite of community spaces enhances views of the lake and offers rooftop garden plots for residents, outdoor decks, and a wellness studio used for stretching and tai chi classes. Niches in the lobby showcase artworks created by residents in on-site classes held in partnership with a local non-profit gallery that supports developmentally disabled artists.
"There is great beauty here that is thoughtfully executed in a light and airy way that is echoed throughout the building." ~ Jury comment
Slated for LEED for Homes Mid-Rise Platinum Certification, the building was designed with a complementary set of sustainable strategies. Low- and no-VOC paints, adhesives, and carpets can be found throughout, and CFL and LED lighting and EnergyStar appliances have helped the building exceed California’s strict Title 24 standards by 17.6 percent.