San Francisco


The Natoma Family Apartments, a just-completed affordable-housing complex, is in a particularly rough part of San Francisco's rapidly evolving South of Market neighborhood. It sits right next to Sixth Street, the city's skid row, with its dilapidated single resident occupancy hotels (SROs). During construction, residents of an adjacent SRO pelted workers with hypodermic needles and other trash. Soon after the project was completed, a photographer documenting the exterior was punched in the face. But the new apartment building, designed by local firm Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects (LMS), offers a vision of another world. Its colorful street presence, tranquil outdoor areas, and warm common spaces support a community on a lot that had been empty since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

LMS won the project in 2006, when the city selected the firm and its partner, the nonprofit developer Bridge Housing, to create affordable family apartments on the site. For the architects, the commission offered a chance to tackle one of the last South of Market properties earmarked for redevelopment and, at the same time, satisfy a critical need. “We are concerned about gentrification of the Bay Area, and we enjoy the challenge of creating high-quality architecture within limited means,” says LMS principal Richard Stacy. The firm has completed a total of six affordable housing projects to date in San Francisco and across the bay, in Oakland.

The architects developed a high-density scheme that fit 60 units of different sizes on the 12,000-square-foot property. They accomplished this despite the site's odd T-shape, with a long rectangle to the south, along Natoma Street, and a little panhandle of a lot jutting north, toward Minna Street.

To make the most of the strange configuration, LMS created two separate buildings above an at-grade parking podium. The podium covers the whole site but is hidden behind ground-floor units of the nine-story structure on the Natoma side. On the Minna side, the garage ramp occupies the ground level of the narrower, four-story building. The primary building comprises 57 units along double-loaded corridors, while the smaller one has a community room and three additional units. A courtyard between the two structures provides a sheltered outdoor space. “We worked very hard to get everything to fit—it was like a Swiss watch,” says principal Mimi Sullivan of Saida + Sullivan Design Partners, the project's executive architect.

The design features an exposed concrete frame, which LMS had used to great effect at the Plaza Apartments—an earlier, supportive-housing project designed with Paulett Taggart Architects—located just around the corner. In both projects, the expressed structure showcases the buildings as a series of individual units. “The idea was to take a necessary element and make it a part of the visual architecture,” says Stacy. “It is a cost-effective way to create contrast with the other finishes.”

The result is a main elevation with a geometric diversity that counteracts the typical utilitarian appearance of multifamily housing. To avoid having bedrooms at the street level, the ground floor is occupied by a row of two-story town- houses, which are recessed and have screened-in courtyards. Above, staggered cantilevered balconies create a lively rhythm. To emphasize this effect, the fiberboard cladding flush with the concrete frame is painted a neutral taupe, while the recesses and projections are painted bright yellow.

The apartments are necessarily compact and efficient but still manage to feel open and inviting, in part because of the balconies and generously sized windows. Finishes, such as engineered quartz countertops, dark-stained poplar cabinets, and nylon cut-pile carpeting, were chosen with visual appeal, comfort, and durability in mind.

The rents for these units range from $711 for a studio to $1,569 for a three-bedroom. To qualify, tenants must make between 40 and 60 percent of the area's median income, which works out to about $44,000 to $66,000 for a family of four. Not surprisingly, given the heated nature of San Francisco's real-estate market, where the median monthly rent for a studio is $2,200, demand was extremely high: the developer received 2,800 applications for the 60 apartments.

But the building's common spaces belie this low-rent status. One example is the double-height lobby, accessed from Natoma Street, and its rich textures: there are columns of board-formed concrete, cork-tiled walls, an elegant curtain of woven aluminum coil along the stairwell, and a slatted ceiling and bench of warm-hued teak. A pocket-sized waiting room to the right of the entrance is a gracious gesture of hospitality. From the bottom of the stair, which leads to the central courtyard and the smaller building, there is a view corridor through the site to Minna Street, helping to visually link the elements together.

It is especially difficult to tell that this not a market-rate apartment complex on the building's uppermost level. Here there is a glass-enclosed terrace, a community garden, and what Sullivan calls “the nicest laundry room in the city.” These spaces provide a panorama over the southern half of San Francisco—giving residents a way to enjoy the big picture, gracefully framed.


Client:  Smitha Seshadri, Project Manager, BRIDGE Housing Corporation, 415-989-1111

Owner: BRIDGE Housing Corporation, 415-989-1111

Design Architect:
Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects
677 Harrison Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
T. 415.495.1700
F. 415.495.1717

Executive Architect:
Saida + Sullivan Design Partners
350 Brannan St. Suite #310
San Francisco, CA 94107
T. 415.777.0991
F. 415.777.0992

Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects:
Richard Stacy, Principal-In-Charge (Registered Architect)
Vanna Whitney, Project Architect (Registered Architect)
Mattison Ly (Registered Architect)
Elizabeth Surya
Sannihita Takkallapalli

Saida + Sullivan Design Partners:
Mimi Sullivan, Principal-In-Charge (Registered Architect)
Koji Saida, Project Architect (Registered Architect)
Chris Hunter
Scott Moon
Tsung-lin Chen
Keiko Ito

Architect of record: (see above, official title is Executive Architect)

KPFF Consulting Engineers
T. 415. 989.1004

Luk & Associates
T. 510.724.3388

Mechanical Design-Build Engineer:
Bay City Mechanical
T. 510.233.7000

Electrical Design-Build Engineer:
Decker Electric
T. 415.552.1622

Plumbing Design-Build Engineer:
Egan Plumbing
T. 650.592.0472

Cliff Lowe Associates
T. 415.431.0394

Architectural Lighting Design

Charles M. Salter Associates, Inc.


Water Proofing Consultant:
Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
T. 415.495.3700

General contractor:
Nibbi Brothers General Contractors
T. 415.649.7531

Bruce Damonte
T. 415.845.6919


73,000 square feet

Total construction cost:

$22.4 million

Completion date:

March 2014



Structural system
Natoma building - 9 Story Affordable Family Housing: Type IB concrete structure
Minna building - 3 Story Townhouses Type VB wood frame
construction above 1 Story Type IA concrete podium

Exterior cladding
Metal Panels: Firestone Metal Products, Panel System: UNA-Clad Series 3000 Aluminum Plate Panels

Window Walls: Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope, FG-3000 (Non-Thermal Flush Glaze), FG-6000 (Thermal MultiPlane), Series 3000(Thermal MultiPlane)

Fire Rated Storefront: Fire Windows and Doors

Moisture barrier:
Grace Vycor V40 self-adhered flashing
Polyken 626-35 Foilastic Premium Flashing Tape-35 mil
Polyken 626-35 Foilastic Roof Flashing Tape (flashing at windows)
Grace Perma-A-Barrier Wall Membrane
Grace Perma-A-Barrier WB Primer
Jumbo Tex 60 Minute Building Paper

Other cladding unique to this project:
Cementitious Siding:
James Hardie, Hardiepanel vertical siding
James Hardie, Hardieplank lap siding
James Hardie, Hardie Soffit Panels

Azek Trim Boards-Frontier (infill boards at gates and fences)

Cementitious Panel:
Georgia Pacific, Densglass Sheathing

Built-up roofing: Johns Manville Roofing System 5GNC-CR

Membrane Waterproofing:
Hydrotech Monolithic Membrane 6125/6125 EV
Hydrotech Surface Conditioner (asphaltic concrete surface conditioner)
Hydrotech Flex Flash F (spunbonded polyester fabric)
Hydrotech Flex-Flash UN (thermoset uncured neoprene rubber)
Hydrotech Perma Board (Semi-Rigid Protection Board)
Hydrotech STYROFOAM Brand Insulation (closed cell, rigid platic, extruded polystyrene foam Insulation)
Hydrotech  Hydrodrain 700 (composite drainage system)
Hydrotech Hydroflex RB II (rubberized asphault sheet)
Hydrotech SpinOut Growth Regulator (water-based latex coating)

Elastomeric: 7th floor unit decks – Kemper System,  9th Floor and Unit Patios – Tremco,
Mechanical Penthouse - Dexotex

Sheet Metal Flashing:  Marina Mechanical galvanized sheet metal flashing

Metal frame: Winco Window Co. 1150 Series 2” Thermal Fixed and Projected Windows

PPG Solarban 60 (unit windows and glazed patio doors)
PPG Solarban 70XL (glazing at 9th floor community garden)

Walker-Textures, Velour Translucent Glass

Entrances: Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope, Series 375 Medium Stile Doors W/ 10” Bottom Rails

Metal doors:
Anemostat, LoPro Metal Vision Frame (metal door lite)

Wood doors: Jeld-Wen Windows and Doors

Fire-control doors, security grilles:
Total Door (smoke door)
Anemostat, FireLite NT (fire & impact/Safety Rated glazing material)
Anemostat, AFDL & AFDL-T (transom louver core only)
Smoke Guard System, Model 200 Smoke Curtain

Schlage Lock Company

LCN Closers

Exit devices: Falcon

Pulls: Cabinet Pulls- Pride Industries

Security devices:
Viking AES 2005F, Accessible Entry System with Color Video Camera
Honeywell, Prowatch Professional Edition 6000 Series
Honeywell, OmniProx Proximity Card Readers
Honeywell, Maxpro Video Management System
Honeywell, HD51X Super High Resolution Vandal Dome Camera w/ Vari-Focal Auto Iris Lens
Honeywell, HD4HDIH Equip Series 1080p High Resolution True Day/Night Rugged IP Dome Camera
Honeywell, Rapid Eye Hybrid HD 16 Channel Hybrid High Defiinition Video Recorder (DVR) System w/ Video Analytics Option
Honeywell, Vista-128BP Series Alarm Panel
Honeywell, Premier Keypad
Bosch, DS160 Series High Performance Request-to-exit Detectors
Linear Radio, Delta 3 Gate Receivers Models GRD & GRD-2 (WOR receiver for garage system)
Altronix AL400ULACM, AL400ULACMCB Power Supply/Chargers w/Multi-Output Access Power Controllers
General Electric, Steel Door Contact

Interior finishes
Suspension grid and decorative ceiling: Norton Industries, Wood Grille System

Cabinetwork: Grandview Products Co. Shaker cabinets

Custom woodwork in Lobby: Dan Wyrick, DW Acoustics, Inc. ph: 707-575-6117

One Coat Primer - Kelly Moore 247 Acry-Shield Exterior 100% Acrylic Masonry Primer
Two Coats - Kelly Moore 1050 KM Professional Interior Acrylic Semi-Gloss Enamel
Rust-Oleum V9100 (garage trash room walls and floor)

Gypsum Board, Factory Primed:
One Coat - Kelly Moore 550 Acry-Plex Interior Acrylic Flat Paint
Benjamin Moore Acrylic Latex 625

Gypsum Board at Bathrooms and Kitchens:
One Coat Primer - Kelly Moore 971 Acry-Plex Interior PVA Low-Odor/Zero-VOC Primer/Sealer
One Coat - Kelly Moore 1010 KM Professional Interior Acrylic Zero-VOC Eggshell Enamel

Steel Shop Primed:
Two Coats - Kelly Moore 1050 Professional Interior Acrylic Semi-Gloss Enamel
Wood Panel/Base Board/Casing/Trim:
One Coat Primer – Kelly Moor 975 Acry-Plex Interior Enamel Undercoater
Two Coats – Kelly Moore Professional Interior Acrylic Zero-VOC Eggshell Enamel

Wall coverings: Expanko Resilient Flooring, Cork Tile - Thin Mosaic (lobby wall)

Wood Panel/Base Board/Casing/Trim:
One Coat Primer - Kelly Moore 975 Acry-Plex Interior Enamel Undercoat
Two Coats - Kelly Moore 1010 KM Professional Interior Acrylic Zero-VOC Eggshell Enamel

Solid surfacing:
Cesarstone, Quartz Surfaces - Sandy Beaches #2260 (kitchen countertop)
Granite Countertop - Plum Blossom (9th floor terrace kitchen)

Floor and wall tile:
Graniti Fiandre, Nihon Collection Tatami Color (lobby floors, lobby stair, elevator cabs, 2nd floor lounge)
Graniti Fiandre, Nihon Collection Goma Color (9th floor terrace kitchen)
Dal Tile, Urban Putty Color #B902 (community room bathroom floor)
Dal Tile, Urban Putty Color #0161 (community room bathroom wall)
Dal Tile, Misty Meadow Color #0112 (community room bathroom wall accent color)

Resilient flooring: Armstrong, Step Better Kyoto Camel

Shaw, ZA 570 - Name Dropper, Joel Gray
Patcraft by Shaw, Modern Appeal - Attitude
Patcraft by Shaw, Modern Appeal - Charisma
Patcraft by Shaw, Breathe Collection - Vital Awaken
Patcraft by Shaw, Modern Appeal - Prestige

Raised flooring: (Exterior Decks) Bison, Level.It - Adjustable Deck Supports

Office furniture:
Steelcase, RPF2427AF Pedestal-Fixed, 2 box/1 file, flush steel front
Steelcase, RPM2427AF Pedestal-Mobile, 2 box/1 file, drawer, flush steel front
Steelcase, RBB30WTAK Universal; Bin-In the case, wood door, Technology/Answer/Kick Application
Steelcase, RLF18362F Universal; Lateral file, 2 drawers, flush steel front
Steelcase, RLF24362F Universal; Lateral file, 2 drawers, flush steel front
Steelcase, TS71830TB Tack board
Steelcase, Work surface-Straight, Square edge profile, wood

Arcadia, Ovate Lounge Chairs - Armless
Sitonit Seating, Rowdy Armless Chrome Frame Chair
Sitonit Seating, Cart Stacking Chair
Bernhardt, Edge Lounge Chair 6912
Bernhardt, Edit 1151 Guest Chair
Bernhardt, Coterie 8302 Lounge Chair
Coalesse, Kathryn - Guest Chair, Wood, Open Back
Steelcase, 46543100 Think Chair, 3D knit, Arms, Assembled

Arcadia, Ovate Table
Bernhardt, AL48EXX Linc Table
Coalesse, Enea Lottus, Table-Craft - Square
Coalesse, Au Lait - Table-Square
Steelcase, BFR36SW Table-Round, 36” dia.

Designtex, Barrato 3266-104
Designtex, Astrid 2747-701
Designtex, Granduer - 3455-204
Designtex, Sand 201
Steelcase, 5S28 Root Beer

Interior ambient lighting:
Evergreen Lighting, Artistry – 21st Century Edition AR1W22-A-WH-120
Evergreen Lighting, Saturn Ceiling Flush STN-C-18-213Q-WH-OA
Borden Lighting, #551-CF1/26-120-SAL-TS Indirect Sconce ADA
General Electric Lighting, GE Ecolux Biax T4
Gammalux Lighting Systems, G-Beam Recessed Series #GB34RC2
General Electric Lighting, GE Ecolux Starcoat T5
Borden Lighting, #M552-17-CF2/26-120-TS-MOD
General Electric Lighting, GE Ecolux Biax T4
YLighting, Cigar Lamp - BUB-cigar Pendant Light
General Electric Lighting, Soft White Spiral T3
Lumasape,Uplight Luminaire LS343-252-A-N-85-AR-21-Q-4/LS685
Lumasape,Uplight Luminaire LS343-252-A-N-85-AR-21-Q-4/LS6012 (mounting system)
Wellmade Products, Series 183 SSB-UNV Solid State Ballast
Corelite, Class A Indirect Wall Mount, #AW-SN-2T8-2C-UNV-SU-WA-8’/12’

B-K Lighting, Catskill - CK LED X22 FL SAP 9 11 C
B-K Lighting, NEMA 3R Remote Driver Housing

Task lighting: Philips, Alkco Super Inch 1-1/2” Task Light T8 Fluorescent 300 Series

Luraline, #279 WM - 32EMB/OFC12
Luraline, Remote (Wal) Mounted EMB - Emergency (Battery Back-up) Ballast
LSI Industries, LED Linear Strip Light #LSL2-48-LED
Kim Lighting, CFL1/42PL120/DB
General Electric Lighting, GE Ecolux Biax T4
B-K Lighting, El Capitan Series EC-LED-e22-MFL-SAP-12-B
Philips, Omega Revelation OM6100ED17MHPCSPL 6” Splay Lens Cylinder #70ED17MHWC-SPL-FL-WL-AL-U
General Electric Lighting, GE Protected Constant Color PulseArc CMH Ceramic Metal Halide ED17
Deco Lighting, HID Lighting D202 Small Flood Light D202-26-C-PT-EB-BZ-LP-GS
HK Lighting Group, Model ZX20I-20/39W ZX20I-20/39W MH-BLK/LV20/MH-JB-6
HK Lighting Group, Model LV20 ZX20I-20/39W ZX20I-20/39W MH-BLK/LV20/MH-JB-6
HK Lighting Group, Model MH-JB-6 ZX20I-20/39W MH-BLK/LV20/MH-JB-6
Cooper Lighting, Metalux SNL Series #6TSNL-225-UNV-EB81-U
Juno, Trac-Master Decorative LED Mini-Pendants #TQJP-L-78-3-SN-STN
Philips, eW Blast Powercore 2700 K, 10 degree Clear Lens
Philips, eW Blast Powercore 2700 K, 21 degree frosted Lens
Philips, eW Blast Powercore 2700 K, 83 degree (no optic)

Otis Elevator Company, Gen2 L Series with Regenerative Drive Elevator System
American Chute Systems, Trash/Recycle Chute, Intake door, Access Door, Through Wall Door & Pneumatic Operated Door

Accessibility provision: One ramp exist in the courtyard to the smaller wood frame building.  All common areas and the majority of units are on an accessible route except the two townhouses in the Minna Street wood frame building.

Sterling, HET-High Efficiency Toilet 402081
Sterling, Luxury Height Low Consumption Toilet 402082
Kohler, Barrington Pressure Lite Toilet K-3578
Kohler, Coralais Bath & Shower Trim Set K-T15601

Other unique products that contribute to sustainability:
Solar Hot Water Panels for pre-heating domestic hot water
Project Achieved Green Point Rating

Add any additional building components or special equipment that made a significant contribution to this project:
Public Art:   “Global Garden” exterior public artwork is featured on the elevator tower facing Natoma Street.  The Artist is Catherine Wagner and she is located in San Francisco.
Art Panels are Dri-Design Panels with Ombrae Imaging Technology