David Baker Architects

HOUSING HERO

Place: Tuesday, July 8, 2008


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By John King
SF Gate
July 8, 2008

One of many affordable housing designs in San Francisco by David Baker + Partners.

It's not the Pritzker Prize—their field's highest honor—but two San Francisco architects are being commemorated for careers spent creating good places for people to live. David Baker and Daniel Solomon will each receive a Housing Hero Award on July 16 from the San Francisco Housing Action Coalition, an advocacy group.

Aesthetically, the two have little in common: Baker plays with bright colors and bold shapes that splash life into their surroundings, while Solomon's forte is a textured nuance that looks rooted, contextual and modern at once. What they share is a strong batting average—even the iffy designs show care—and a conviction that good architecture isn't reserved for the elite.

Solomon's new Broadway Family Apartments tucks 80 affordable units into a handsome eight-story complex near the Embarcadero that's the equal of its aged red-brick neighbors; Baker's work includes Curran House, a jazzy collection of 67 low-income apartments on Taylor Street that received a design award this year from the American Institute of Architect's California Council.

In other words, the work of Baker and Solomon strengthens the city physically and socially. Not a bad combination. Who needs the Pritzker, anyway?