By Meghan Hall
Over the past several years, San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood has emerged as one of its trendiest districts thanks to a growing number of attractions and services offered there. For Align Residential and architecture firm Woods Bagot, the Dogpatch’s increasing popularity proved to be a driving factor in the design of 2177 3rd Street, a new residential project that seeks to blur the lines between development and neighborhood.
“It started a long time ago, before Dogpatch was as big of a deal as it is now,” explained Woods Bagot Principal Katy Mercer. “It was perfect timing from a development point of view to create a sense of community.”
The Dogpatch has a varied history. The neighborhood was once known as “Dutchman’s Flat” and was home to a wide variety of immigrants, as well as the City’s industrial core. Today, large-scale development can be seen throughout the neighborhood in the repositioning of Pier 70, the newly completed Crane Cove Park, or Chase Center arena.
With so much change, the project team sought to cater to all that was happening around Dogpatch, and create a sense of community. In all, the project features 114 condominium units and 4,000 square feet of retail, and is sandwiched between the formerly industrial waterfront and bustling Third Street. Amenities within the building include a co-working space, resident lounge with chef’s kitchen, a fitness center, pet “spaw,” roof deck and bike workshop. Individual units feature nine-foot ceilings, natural finished materials and views of San Francisco’s ever-evolving waterfront and skyline.
The building rises seven stories, but the project team made a number of design choices to bring the development to a more human scale. At mid-block, a deep setback framed by a five-story living wall brings space into the building’s core. The main entry is located off of Third Street on the opposite end of a private pre-courtyard. The lobby is sleek and modern, fitted with Italian travertine walls, walnut wall slats, basalt and marble. Organic materials, such as custom Italian wood cabinetry and white marble countertops also finish out the space. A window wall adds to the theme of light and transparency, and from the sidewalk, pedestrians and those on the exterior of the building can see straight through to the development’s internal courtyard.
“All of the way through the entire property that blur between indoor and outdoor for something as dense and urban of an environment as [this is], is really important to the driving design,” said Mercer.
Within the courtyard, a layered stack of pedestrian bridges, one per floor, link the opposite ends of the building. Units are able to open up the facades of their residences via sliding glass doors, allowing for more light and transparency throughout the building.
Mercer continued, adding, “It feels very penetrable.”
For materials, the Align Residential and Woods Bagot selected a bronze cladding, which changes color depending on how the light hits the facade. In the entry courtyard, understated gray flagstones as well as pedestal pavers are used. Glazed, teal brick was selected to define the street level retail spaces, and the corner store has an operable glass storefront, allowing retail activity to spill out onto the street. The selections were specifically made to compliment a three-story green wall, another major feature of the development’s design.
“We felt [the bronze] was reminiscent of tree trunks or a more natural material than aluminum of black steel coloration,” noted Mercer. “We really also believe in natural contrast [of it].”
In addition to connecting to the outdoors via design, the project is pursuing a number of sustainability certifications. The project is aiming for LEED Gold certification, and because of San Francisco’s moderate climate, residents have passive ventilation. Additional heating and cooling–when necessary–is facilitated through systems using Variable Refrigerant Flow. Other features include smart lighting and energy-saving kitchen appliances, such as ecotech heat storage within the units’ dishwashers and heat utilization in the ovens.
The project was completed in the fall of 2020, and very quickly Align Residential and Woods Bagot were able to see the impact of their designs. The easy access to the Dogpatch and San Francisco’s waterfront have proved a selling point for many interested in the community.
“We had a commitment from the development team pretty early to do something of quality that would move the needle a bit,” said Mercer. “It proved itself quite rapidly to be a return…Design matters.”