Octavia Court Housing Project

Octavia Court

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Once a gritty enclave, San Francisco’s Hayes Valley is now hip, with trendy stores and cafes. It’s now also home to Octavia Court, affordable housing for the developmentally disabled.

The façade of the corner low-rise is a patterned mix of resin-impregnated wood, stainless steel, stucco, glass, and tile. Interweaving higher-end finishes with less expensive ones didn’t just provide visual interest—it helped with cost savings, points out architect Greg Klosowski, principal of ellipsis a+d. Helping, too, are solar panels on the roof that power the house lighting, and corner windows that bring light and skyline views into every unit.

Though difficult, deftly managing the mix of architectural elements was just part of the challenge, says architect Veronica Hinkley-Reck, principal of Ignition Architecture. She also recalls the effort required to juggle the needs of the neighborhood association and meeting budget while fitting housing units, common areas, counseling and support offices, workrooms, and gallery space onto the tight infill lot.

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