Improving quality-of-life in the first public housing in San Francisco’s Chinatown
{"autoplay":"true","autoplay_speed":"8000","speed":"1000","arrows":"true","dots":"false","loop":"true","nav_slide_column":5,"rtl":"false"}
{"autoplay":"true","autoplay_speed":"8000","speed":"1000","arrows":"true","dots":"false","loop":"true","nav_slide_column":5,"rtl":"false"}

DETAILS

LocationSan Francisco, California, United States
ClientChinatown Community Development Center/Gelfand Partners Architects
Size5 acres (four sites)

The San Francisco public housing projects known as “pings” are widely viewed as successful. Part of this success is a direct result of their ties with the wider Chinatown community: they are comparatively low-crime, and their tenants are well-organized. Composed of four buildings with 434 units, 2,000+ residents, and five acres of landscape, the Pings are a part of a complex web of social, cultural, and historical constructs – but due to a long period of mismanagement, corruption, and wear and tear since the 1950s, they had fallen into disrepair. SWA’s landscape improvements are part of a $64M refurbishment that strategically allocates resources for the greatest impact on residents’ quality-of-life. The design is driven by three key principles: dignity, the sense of home, and an environment that supports shared activity.  Unconventional, gardenesque plantings, residential furnishings, and natural materials dramatically shift the space toward these principles and away from a previously “institutional” aesthetic. Spear-pointed entry gates were removed, while the addition of front porches, outdoor living rooms, a playground, and three large community gardens make the landscape a shared amenity and a framework for enabling community.

Related Projects

Stanford Branner Hall

Branner Hall is a three-story undergraduate dormitory built in 1924 by Bakewell and Brown, prominent architects of the time who were also responsible for San Francisco’s City Hall. The renovation design creates two significant courtyards: an entrance courtyard flanked with four-decades-old magnolia trees shading a seating area and an interior courtyard with a ...

Revisiting SunCity Kashiwa

Elderly residents at SunCity Kashiwa are no longer at a loss for dinner conversation: an underutilized terrace outside their extensive ground-level common spaces now features a dramatic pond and mountain-inspired rock formation with multiple cascading waterfalls. Everyone wants a window seat. The striking water feature crowns a new four-season view garden desi...

The Camellias Garden

The Camellias Garden is inspired by the verdant green gardens of India and the petals of one of Asia’s most beautiful and vibrant native plant species: the camellia flower. These blooms’ flowing curves and lines are interpreted within the Garden’s design, drawing residents of these 16 luxury apartment towers out into the landscape and offering the sense of bei...

SunCity Yokohama

SunCity Yokohama is a continuum of care retirement community operated by Health Care Japan Co., Ltd., a leader in Japan’s fast growing senior housing communities. With Perkins Eastman Architects PC, SWA completed the master planning phase of the project and is providing schematic design. The plan consists of two single building “villages” connected...

SunCity Yokohama

SunCity Yokohama is a continuum of care retirement community operated by Health Care Japan Co., Ltd., a leader in Japan’s fast growing senior housing communities. With Perkins Eastman Architects PC, SWA completed the master planning phase of the project and is providing schematic design. The plan consists of two single building “villages” connected...

Fuzhou Vanke City

The Yongtai project, located inside the Red Cliff Scenic Area, borders the Dazhang River and consists of a 45-hectare watershed area surrounded by 12 small hills. It features a boutique hotel, a shopping street, clubhouses, residential high-rises, townhouses, and detached homes. The overall project plan calls for housing clusters that follow the natural site t...

Chongqing Dongyuan 1891

This unique linear site is sandwiched between the Yangtze River and Nan Mountain. The design concept of the model area that unites a one-kilometer retail/commercial corridor with four high-rise residences is to create the experience of Shangri-La in an urban center. The spatial layout is characterized by a series of courtyards offering different experiences in...

SunCity Tower Kobe

Kobe has a unique geographical context in Japan, with breathtaking views both inland to Mt. Rokko and to the broad expanse of Osaka Bay to the south. The landscape design of SunCity Tower Kobe, a landmark senior community in this newly developed city district, celebrates this environment. The tower is tucked into the northwest corner of the site, setting it aw...