1180 Fourth Street

Architect: Mithun initiated as WRT/Solomon E.T.C.

Location: San Francisco, California

A distinctly unique project that houses 150 low income, very low income and formerly homeless families and individuals.


The project houses 150 low income, very low income and formerly homeless families and individuals, currently including 261 children. As with other affordable housing in San Francisco, the tenants were selected by lottery from a long list of qualified applicants. Given the acute housing needs most of these people have experienced, particularly the homeless, the project sponsors, city officials, funders, and architects have endeavored to provide for a spectrum of user needs. Moreover, the intention has been to create an environment to forge bonds of community and companionship within the project, to make it a welcome, integral part of the neighborhood, and, by the prominence of the site and the excellence of its architecture, to serve as a symbol of the city’s robust efforts to address the ever-growing need for affordable and supportive housing.

"This is a really cool project! It does some really neat things architecturally and is rich in many ways." - Jury comment

The building’s shared spaces are designed to bring residents together in ways both casual and intentional. Residents meet each other, wait for rides, get their mail, say hello to property management staff, and play together after school in the generous, day-lit lobby and garden courtyards. From the courtyards, they catch a glimpse of activities in the common room – meetings, educational programs, and birthday parties. A landscaped stair from the central court leads to the upper level common spaces, including an exercise room, community garden play space, and family daycare. The spectacular views out over downtown, Mission Creek Park and the ballpark confirms residents’ place in the neighborhood and the city. All these spaces are generous enough to allow residents from different income levels and backgrounds to meet each other comfortably and make friends. It is these social ties that will allow the most vulnerable to support each other, and bounce back.

Additional information

Associate Design Architect: Kennerly Architecture and Planning

Associate Architect: Full Circle Architecture

MEP Engineer: Ajmani & Pamidi Inc.

Civil Engineer: Urban Design Consulting Engineers

Structural Engineer: Tipping Mar and Associates; Bello & Associates

General Contractor: James E. Roberts-Obayashi Corp.

LEED Consultant: Design AVEnues

Landscape Architect: GLS Landscape Architecture

Lighting Design: Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design

Acoustical Engineer: Mei Wu Acoustics

Water-proofing Consultant: Gale Associates


2016 AIA Housing Awards Jury

Jamie Blosser, AIA (Chair), Atkin Olshin Schade Architects, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Ariella Cohen, Editor-in-Chief, Next City, Philadelphia

Kevin Harris, FAIA, Kevin Harris Architect, LLC, Baton Rouge

David Lee, FAIA, Stull and Lee, Inc., Roxbury Crossing, Massachusetts

Suman Sorg, FAIA, Sorg & Associates, P.C., Washington, DC

Image credits


Bruce Damonte


Bruce Damonte


Bruce Damonte


Bruce Damonte


Bruce Damonte