IF YOU DROVE BY THIS PROJECT, LOCATED in a historic neighborhood, you would not likely guess that it's affordable, targeted to seniors, and features not only 96 apartments but a vibrant, 15,400-square-foot community center, as well. No wonder it came away with two grand awards.

The housing and community center were integrated by using the air rights over an addition to the existing center, which allowed the apartments to be contained in three-story structures. That made the apartments more economical to build and helped them blend into the existing neighborhood better. Variety is the name of the game here, with building materials and access points. There's direct access to ground-floor apartments via front porches that face either the street or the interior courtyard. Upper-floor units all have private deck space. Parking is available in surface lots and in a half-level depressed garage.

One judge said it best: “If only all affordable housing could offer a living environment of such dignity!”

Cesar Rubio

Awards: Best affordable project and best seniors housing project—active adult; Builder: L&D Construction, San Jose, Calif.; Developer: BRIDGE Housing Corp., San Francisco; Architect: David Baker & Partners, San Francisco