Octavia Boulevard Housing

When Octavia Boulevard replaced San Francisco’s earthquake damaged Central Freeway in Hayes Valley, numerous surplus properties became available for housing. Our proposal addressed a prominent “gateway” site at the corner of Market and Octavia for a competition held before the new boulevard was complete.

We sought to create a building of studio units designed to be desirable and affordable to the entry-level home buyers that would otherwise be priced out of the San Francisco housing market.

Four principles guided our proposal for this site:

Responsible Density – With excellent transportation and nearby employment opportunities, Hayes Valley is an ideal place for a new form of high-density housing that is responsible to its occupants, its neighbors, and the environment. This design includes 87 studio units and no parking.

Expressive Green Architecture – Solar Panels crown the roof, operable windows and sunshades allow the residents to tune their living environment, and a living green roof provides insulation and beauty. Centrally located, this project is not required to provide parking spaces and therefore encourages the use of more sustainable forms of transportation.

Urban Outdoor Living – Private and shared outdoor spaces are provided for cooking, eating, lounging, and living. Most of the Haight Street level is a semi-public garden terrace. Additionally, each unit has a private entry deck that contributes light and ventilation to the shared corridor.

Progressive Contextualism – Much of the area’s architecture is characterized by its 25 foot wide lots, horizontal siding, and bay windows. All of these elements have been incorporated into a design that seeks to blend into both the Residential fabric of Haight Street and the Mixed-use fabric of Beaux Arts Market Street.

The building subsequently built on this site has 47 units.


  • San Francisco, California


  • Lara Kaufman


  • 2005