THE HEART OF THIS NINE-STORY, assisted-living center in the cultural core of San Francisco is, appropriately, its fifth floor. Setback requirements created space there for a patio with a view, drawing and dining rooms, and other amenities. The 120 studio units are comfortable but snug, the result of maximizing density and local height limits, says architect Eduardo Caceres.

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Galvanized steel plays a dominant role in the crown of an otherwise warm-hued building: Tilt-out railings shield a roof garden, and reverse-angle accents decorate the column tops. Category: Assisted living; Entrant/Architect: Kodama-Diseño, San Francisco; Builder: James E. Roberts-Obayashi Corp., Danville, Calif.; Developer: San Francisco Care Center, San Francisco; Landscape designer: Carter Tighe Leeming Kajiwara, Mill Valley, Calif.

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Learn more about markets featured in this article: San Francisco, CA.