California College of the Arts – Blattner Hall Student Housing

Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects filled an immediate need by completing the Blattner Hall Student Housing at California College of the Arts in San Francisco, California.

In response to the critical unmet need for affordable student housing near the San Francisco campus of the California College of the Arts (CCA), a board trustee has developed a new mixed-use student apartment building that integrates affordability, community, and sustainability with great design.

Founded in 1907 in Oakland, CCA educates students to shape culture and society through the practice and critical study of art, architecture, design, and writing. CCA is undertaking a unification of the school to their newer San Francisco campus by academic year 2012–22. Their master plan includes an academic expansion by Studio Gang and on-campus housing by Natoma Architects.

Blattner Hall provides new affordable apartments for CCA students (including continuing, transfer, and graduate students) in a mixed-use private development. Long-time board trustee Simon Blattner initiated the development on the site of his former business warehouse near campus specifically to benefit CCA and gave CCA a long-term lease.

The site is located in a low-rise, formerly industrial area between the CCA campus and the Potrero Hill residential neighborhood. The immediate neighborhood is going through a transformation, with new higher-density multifamily residential development around an existing one-block city park. This transformation includes enhanced pedestrian amenities and neighborhood-serving retail.

The upper floors are a series of wings radiating from central common areas with affordable apartments for over 200 students. They are four-bedroom/two-bath apartments for up to eight students with a shared living area and eat-in kitchen in each apartment. There are bedroom hallway study nooks, a laundry and common room on each color-coded floor and a central stair for daylight and health.

The ground floor has a main lobby with reception desk, info monitors, mail area, student life offices, a multipurpose room for student activities and special events, two courtyards flanking the multipurpose room, along with commercial tenants oriented to CCA and the neighborhood needs.

The exterior design is a response to the hybrid industrial and residential context. The ground floor is activated by board-formed concrete piers, slate tile walls, high ceilings, tall storefronts, and multiple entrances. The upper floors are segmented into residential-scale forms separated by glazed bay windows and recessed hallway windows. Wood-resin panels at bedroom windows and living room bays provide counterpoints to the utilitarian fiber cement siding. Perforated metal sunshades on the street facades respond to their solar orientation.

The design and construction of Blattner Hall was guided and evaluated by the GreenPoint New Homes Multifamily Rating Certification System, which sets standards for a residential green building. The rating system recognizes performance in five categories (Community, Energy Efficiency, Indoor Air Quality and Health, Resource Conservation, and Water Conservation) to evaluate the sustainable benefits of the building. Points are earned by complying with the specific standards for any of the given measures in the system. Projects are scored on overall performance and performance in each category.
This project is anticipated to achieve a Platinum rating, the highest rating category. In keeping with CCA’s sustainability goals, Blattner Hall is expected to operate using approximately one-quarter of the energy used by typical U.S. student housing.

ArchitectLeddy Maytum Stacy Architects
Project Team: Richard Stacy, Jasen Bohlander, Dominique Elie
Contractor: Oliver & Company
Photography: Bruce Damonte