Ironhorse: Sustainably-Built Affordable Housing in SF

by , 01/22/10

ironhorse, oakland, ca, sf

Affordable housing developments are all too often shoddily built, with little consideration given towards environmental impact. That’s why Ironhorse at Central Station, a planned development in Oakland, California, is so impressive. The development, built on abandoned former industrial land, will feature 99 sustainably built one, two, and three bedroom apartments when it is completed later this year. What’s more, all of the apartments will be priced for families with incomes of $18,000 to $50,000.

ironhorse, oakland, ca, sf
Designed by architectural firm David Baker + Partners, the development will feature vegetated green roofs, solar hot water panels, solar panels to provide electricity in common areas, CRI Green Label Plus carpets, vegetated swales to capture rainwater, a high-efficiency drip irrigation system, and outdoor furniture, benches, and seat walls made with 100% recycled materials.

Ironhorse is just a small part of the Central Station project, which will transform 29 acres of former industrial land into a residential neighborhood. When it is completed, Central Station will have over 1,200 homes. Here’s hoping the housing outside of Ironhorse will also feature similar green amenities.

+ Ironhorse

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  1. scottpro October 10, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    Looking at this I can’t help but feel like this is going to be Pruitt-Igoe all over again. I hope that I’m wrong, but it just seems like another architect’s pipe dream to “design” social change.

  2. dbarchitect January 26, 2010 at 12:23 am

    The green roof areas have been installed but some of them haven’t filled out yet so they look brown in the photo. There is more information, including live readouts from the 130 KW solar electric collection system, at

  3. jeanX January 23, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    In a certain neighborhood of sf, there are ‘projects’, which resemble every other house on the block.These are 2 story row-houses.Of course, not all the projects are as nice as these.The East Coast has stopped building 3-story projects,
    believing that 2-story projects make better neighborhoods.This a massive redevelopment in Oakland.It is not worth reviewing,
    save to condemn.

  4. CP January 22, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Oh — I see that Ariel lives in the West Bay. It’s all clear to me then; she’s just trying to claim some of Oakland’s awesome for her own city. :-)

  5. CP January 22, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    Nice article, but: Why do you say it’s “in SF” when it’s in Oakland? As a proud resident of the East Bay, I must protest.

    I’d accept “Bay Area” or even “SF Bay Area,” but it’s unclear whether either would be superior to the more precise “Oakland”.

    Not a subdivision or suburb of SF, but its very own urb. 12 miles away. Better in some ways, worse in others, but for better or worse, the actual location of Central Station and the Ironhorse development.

  6. Future Schema January 22, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Will the vegetated roofs come in the first phase or the later phases of the development? The picture doesn’t really show a vegetated area, but the design looks fresh.

    BTW, please correct the title – Oakland is NOT San Francisco. It may be a lot of things (good, bad or indifferent) but it is not San Francisco.

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