Rene Cazenave Apartments

25 Essex Street
San Francisco, CA

  • Architect: Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects
  • Contractor: Cahill Contractors
  • Developer: BRIDGE Housing and Community Housing Partnership
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The Rene Cazenave Apartments from Folsom at Essex
Credit: ©2015 Gina Phelan for Tipping Structural Engineers

Tipping's post-tensioned concrete lateral system delivers unusually high performance — shelter-in-place — to an affordable housing project.

The Rene Cazenave Apartments, meant to house tenants who had formerly been homeless, are built on a 14,262 sq ft rectangular lot located at the southeast corner of Folsom and Essex Streets, a site that had been used as a surface parking lot. The co-developers, BRIDGE Housing and Community Housing Partnership, constructed 108 studios, 12 one-bedroom units, and 3,395 sq ft of retail space. The project includes sustainable building methods and materials and employed the most feasible cost-effective, energy-efficient measures, with Green Point rating of 127. It is expected to use 30 percent less energy than what's required by California's Title 24.

The developers had expressed interest in creating a building capable of allowing occupants to shelter-in-place in the event of a major earthquake. To meet this immediate-occupancy criterion, Tipping used performance-based design concepts to create a post-tensioned concrete lateral system that limits the interstory drift to 1 percent and leaves essentially zero residual drift following an earthquake. This level of performance is quite rare for public projects serving disadvantaged populations.

The Rene Cazenave project was named after a passionate and dedicated San Francisco housing advocate who passed away in 2010. In 2015 the AIA California Council awarded the project with a Residential Merit Award, and in 2016 AIA COTE named it a Top Ten Green Project.






Executed as Tipping Mar