Sister Lillian Murphy Community | San Francisco - California | 2021

Sister Lillian Murphy Community | San Francisco - California | 2021

Sister Lillian Murphy Community | San Francisco - California | 2021

Architect: Paulett Taggart Architects
Associate Architect: Studio VARA
Landscape Architect: GLS Landscape | Architecture
Design Team: Paulett Taggart Architects: Paulett Taggart, FAIA; Roselie Ledda AIA; Karl Vinge, AIA Studio VARA: Christopher Roach, AIA; Jackie Fung, AIA; Nick Brown, AIA
GLS Landscape | Architecture: Gary Strang, FASLA/AIA; Dean Williams
General Contractor: Cahill Contractors, Inc.
Client: Mercy Housing California
Photographer: Bruce Damonte Photography

Sister Lillian Murphy Community | San Francisco - California | 2021
Sister Lillian Murphy Community | San Francisco - California | 2021
Sister Lillian Murphy Community | San Francisco - California | 2021

Project Description

For this new affordable housing development, community members expressed their desire for a residential scale building to complement and integrate with the nearby neighborhood parks. The design team responded by breaking down the scale of the building, creating smaller distinguishable communities within the block that facilitate the meeting of neighbors and building of community.

The massing strategy breaks open the perimeter block typology into four articulated wings connected by open-air circulation and multilevel landscapes. Open air bridge connections provide porosity between the building wings that allows residents within the courtyards to look out and have a visual connection to their surrounding neighborhood. Ground floor program placement, building heights and design of each wing’s facade responds to the specificity of their street frontage. The main residential lobby and child development center face Mission Bay Kids Park. Along Mission Bay Commons (the neighborhood’s backyard park), a courtyard entry gate serves as the resident back door and street entries to a children’s music school and multi-purpose community room maintain neighborhood connections. The four-story Mews wing responds to the scale of the intimate mid-block pedestrian passage. Stoop entries help to enliven the streetscape around the building’s perimeter.

Open and airy, yet warmed by its wood interior elements, the corner stair tower at the main entry acts as a beacon at the terminus of an urban view corridor, offering stunning views out and welcoming residents to use the stairs for a healthy and active lifestyle. In the evening, it glows with a dynamic pattern of light from its unique configuration of windows. Outdoor spaces, such as the ground floor and upper-level courtyards, and other vignettes act as an extension of the indoor common areas, offering a range of seating and lush landscaping. The bicycle pavilion, with its lively perforation pattern, casts playful shadows and illuminates as a lantern in the evening.
Throughout the multi-level green space, the paving and turf follow a coordinated and dynamic geometric pattern. Ground floor storefront windows have their own distinct rhythm of clear, translucent, colored opaque and colored translucent glass, and act as a continuous ribbon unifying the building’s entire ground floor.

The community room spills into the ground-level courtyard and is strategically located to allow for public access for neighborhood events. An adjacent teen lounge features a variety of seating for study and leisure. The ground floor child development center serves families in the community, with free services to eligible local households. A variety of break-out common spaces (interior and exterior) were equipped with WIFI, a necessary tool for work and school, in response to the needs of resident families. The goals of the project were achieved by creating a healthy and dynamic residential community that establishes a sense of place within the existing neighborhood. Through designed connections and supportive programming, the building design prioritizes the physical and social wellness of resident families.