Eviva Mission Bay, designed by LDA Architects, Inc. offered imposing challenges that were developed into unique design opportunities. The property is situated between established, industrial buildings, with a railroad yard and a freeway ramp to the north and a budding residential neighborhood to the south. It is an odd-shaped lot that presses tightly against the curve of the off-ramp. This created a few challenges for any units along the north side – the quality of life for the residents of those units is important to protect. Light, air and views became paramount concerns in the design of those units. Environmental issues created by the traffic noise and air quality compound the burden.
The design team wanted to shield those units from the challenges imposed by the freeway, yet pay homage to the industrial history of the neighborhood. To accomplish this, LDA proposed a corrugated steel skin to buffer the noise and to offer the impression of a protective barrier – using Corten steel of highway guard rails and the siding of choice for heavy, industrial buildings. This skin floats above the parking level, curving in response to the sweeping arc of the off-ramp and wrapping around the east to present this materiality to the descending traffic.
Balcony rails appear to “peel away” from the exterior metal, for added texture while offering protection to the shallow balconies behind them. Clad in a perforated version of the corrugated siding, they match the long, random panels that cover the numerous exhaust vents that are now invisible behind these masks. Wide, shallow windows channel interior views towards the distant San Francisco skyline, and in sync with the peeling balconies and long, perforated vents, reduce the frenetic pace of the freeway.
Along Berry Street, the scale of the neighborhood changes, as does the façade. This is the residential side of the site. This south facing side is much more open, bright and playful. A seemingly random assortment of bays, balconies and recesses are apparent among the grid that dominates the pattern down to a pedestrian level. The street level contains private stoops with bright, unique colored doors that define the personal space of these garden units. The skin is embellished with glass bars that are inset to refract light and promote interest to passing pedestrians. Windows along this south side face the sidewalk to create a connection between residents and their passing neighbors.
The interior courtyard at the podium level adjoins the open space at the neighboring development, creating a larger area of light and air. A fitness room sits below a living roof, clad in the corrugated metal of the north side, while colorful patterns replicate the look and feel of the streetscape, allowing for a conjoining of the two languages at the garden.