A New Home in Historic San Francisco

Broadway Cove & 735 Davis

The Broadway Cove and 735 Davis project heals one of the last scars of the Embarcadero Freeway, transforming surface parking lots into a lively community of seniors and families. With 178 affordable units, the buildings surround a public mid-block corridor, where planting, ephemeral water features, and seating areas welcome users with reclaimed local materials that speak to the history of the site.

Two pedestrian passages which intersect at the center of the block and the terraces that overlook these spaces form the heart of the design. Voids in the architectural massing allow sunlight to enter and give respite from the wind. The confluence blends public-private open space, creating a social focal point and access to ground-floor program. A vibrant mural by a local artist extends the length of this passage and turns the corner at the central mews, inviting investigation.

During investigations of existing conditions, the team uncovered granite setts once used as ship ballast during 1800s. The reclaimed stones form the spine of the mews “ribbon”, extending the length of the block as a datum of paving, planting, and columnar Ginkgos. Basalt column pieces scatter across this line—sawn pieces act as informal seating, and naturally dished pieces catch rain. These ephemeral water features highlight seasonality and encourage those resting on the tree-fern shaded benches to contemplate California climate realities.

Lush textural planting of flowering succulents and agaves fill raised planters and sculpt space for communal activities at the second story multi-family terrace. Senior living residents garden on a fifth-floor terrace with views of the city and bay beyond. Native and adapted grasses line rooftop edges providing green foregrounds seen from interior spaces, and screen mechanical structures from view. The upper rooftop is planted with native species to provide habitat and resources for local pollinators like the endangered Mission Blue butterfly.

88 Broadway and 735 Davis are a model for taking underutilized land and turning it into what we need most in this city—100 percent affordable housing.

Mayor London Breed

This GreenPoint Platinum project provides welcoming spaces with lush waterwise planting, and opportunities to embrace the outdoors as a respite from urban life; it seeks to serve as a salve to the city’s housing crisis.

The Embarcadero Freeway, a stacked freeway in San Francisco’s Northern Waterfront neighborhood highlighted in pink above, was constructed to more efficiently facilitate port commerce as part of a larger roadway plan that was not fully realized due to public protest. Many celebrated the removal of the freeway years after La Loma Prieta earthquake rendered the infrastructure defunct. By replacing one of the last freeway segments, Broadway Cove & 735 Davis apartments emphasizes the area’s shift from auto-centric industrial commerce toward a more livable and pedestrian centered future.


San Francisco, CA




Bruce Damonte