The Richardson Apartments by David Baker + Partners are named in honor of Drs. Julian and Raye Richardson, local activists and founders of Marcus Books, the oldest black bookstore in the country, founded in 1960. Located on Fulton Street just blocks away from city hall, the building takes over a former parking lot, which was one of the sites freed for development by the demolition of the collapsed Central Freeway. The apartments provide much needed supportive housing for San Francisco’s homeless population and work to encourage a pedestrian, bike and transit friendly neighborhood. While the building itself is 65,000 sq ft, it is designed to look like a series of varied structures rather than one large one to break up the view from the street.
The ground floor houses a resident entrance lobby, retail space, a common lounge, a common mixed purpose room with a kitchen and a community health clinic. A large open courtyard with seating, tables, benches and plants provides space to gather and enjoy the outdoors. No car parking is provided, but plenty of secure bike parking is available. Above the ground floor are 120 studio apartments furnished with basic necessities like a bed, a dresser, a full kitchenette, an accessible or adaptable bathroom, and a secure telephone line to the front desk.
The Richardson Apartments were designed using the guidelines of Build It Green GreenPoint and Green Communities. Sustainable features of the project include the use of reclaimed woods, a purifying bioswale in the court, and sunshades. The roof includes a living roof, allotment garden plots, solar arrays, seating and views of city hall. The project received its GreenPoint certification in February of 2012.
Images ©Bruce Damonte