Upscale Housing for Oakland’s Homeless Seniors

Oakland, Calif.—A former Oakland Housing Authority parking lot has been transformed into Lakeside Senior Apartments, 91 homes for low-income and formerly homeless seniors just one block from Oakland’s Lake Merritt waterfront.

Within walking distance of transit, shops, and restaurants, the multifamily property was designed by David Baker Architects for developers Satellite Affordable Housing Associates and Oakland Housing Authority.

The building is articulated as two volumes that step down toward the lake, transitioning between high-rises and smaller residential buildings. Care was taken with the profile to protect light and views enjoyed by adjacent buildings.

Multiple lobbies and sidewalk stoops activate the street edge. The main courtyard opens toward the street, further connecting the building to the neighborhood. The designers creatively applied HardieBoard to add subtle textural variety to the colorful facades.

A fifth-floor suite of community spaces—including garden plots for residents, a community room and kitchen, outdoor decks, and a wellness studio—top the building, offering spectacular lake and city views.

After the art budget was cut, the design team launched a successful Indiegogo campaign to purchase work from Creativity Explored, a nonprofit studio and gallery that supports developmentally disabled artists—for all of the common areas.