Photo of Avanza 490

Ⓒ Marcell Puzsar

Photo of Avanza 490

Ⓒ Marcell Puzsar

Photo of Avanza 490

Ⓒ Marcell Puzsar

Photo of Avanza 490

Ⓒ Marcell Puzsar

Photo of Avanza 490

Ⓒ Marcell Puzsar

Photo of Avanza 490

Ⓒ Marcell Puzsar

Avanza 490

Housing with a Mission

The first fully affordable housing project to break ground in San Francisco’s vibrant and diverse Mission District in 10 years, Avanza 490 holds a place for formerly homeless and extremely low-income families and individuals to call home. Our design for 490 South Van Ness balances the need to create the maximum number of units possible with high standards for wellness and livability. For this seven-story, mixed-use building of 81 affordable and family-friendly apartments, we worked closely with local community agencies to integrate on-site support services—including stabilization programs, health and wellness resources for children, youth, adults, and families, and leadership training—so residents no longer have to leave the building to get the help they need.

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San Francisco, California
COMPLETED IN 2020
  • 81 units
  • 7 stories
  • 80,624 sq. ft.
MARKET

Housing

DISCIPLINES

Architecture , Interiors , Brand

PROJECT TYPE

Affordable Housing

PROJECT CONTACT

housing@ankrommoisan.com


Architecture Story

Family-first Design

Architecture Photo of Avanza 490

Ⓒ Marcell Puzsar

Architecture Photo of Avanza 490

Ⓒ Marcell Puzsar

Architecture Photo of Avanza 490

Ⓒ Marcell Puzsar

Architecture Photo of Avanza 490

Ⓒ Marcell Puzsar

Architecture Photo of Avanza 490

Ⓒ Marcell Puzsar

Architecture Photo of Avanza 490

Ⓒ Marcell Puzsar

Partnering with BRIDGE and Mission Housing to bring more affordable housing to the Mission District—an incredibly rewarding project—we redesigned the interior of 490 South Van Ness to increase the unit count and meet the city’s affordable housing guidelines. Our design is geared toward families. An additional nine units, moving from 72 to 81, and several amenities make the 490 South Van Ness more family-friendly and service-oriented. A courtyard and playground are visible from the laundry room, giving parents a chance to watch their children and giving their children some freedom to play safely. Three-bedroom apartments are situated on the perfect corner of the lot. Moreover, working with community agencies to design the ground-floor supportive services gives residents a chance to get stable, healthy, and back on their feet. Everyone, from children to youth to adults and seniors, have access to health and wellness resources. Since mobility is a crucial element of opportunity, 490 South Van Ness’s location within a block of public transit makes it accessible for lots of people. Echoing the neighborhood’s dominant brick materiality, we used bricklike tile on the first two floors and a palette of warm browns and beiges throughout. Sealed concrete floors and wood-panel walls reference midcentury industry, while rooftop solar panels anticipate a lower-carbon future and contribute to the building’s energy efficiency.

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Interior Story

Culturally Inspired

Architecture Photo of Avanza 490

Ⓒ Marcell Puzsar

Architecture Photo of Avanza 490

Ⓒ Marcell Puzsar

Architecture Photo of Avanza 490

Ⓒ Marcell Puzsar

Architecture Photo of Avanza 490

Ⓒ Marcell Puzsar

Architecture Photo of Avanza 490

Ⓒ Marcell Puzsar

Architecture Photo of Avanza 490

Ⓒ Marcell Puzsar

Even though 490 South Van Ness centers around affordability, we found creative freedom in décor and materials that express pride and upward mobility for the building’s residents. The building’s name, Avanza 490, means “move forward,” which carries special meaning to the Mission District’s predominantly Latin residents. We also considered South Van Ness’s automobile culture, using vintage car photos from the area to create rootedness and nostalgia. Several furniture pieces play off the idea of cars, and garage doors separate the community room. The apartments are designed for personalization—we want residents to customize their space, to feel ownership over their homes—and we designed community spaces for flexibility. People move furniture to suit their own specific purposes, and they can use the garage doors to either expand or divide the large room on the ground level. Several apartments are designed with additional features that support mobility, accessibility, and emergency communication. Four units are especially supportive of deaf or hearing-impaired people, with strobes that flash to signal the arrival of visitors and in emergency situations.

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Brand Story

Move Forward Toward the Future

Architecture Photo of Avanza 490

Ⓒ Marcell Puzsar

Architecture Photo of Avanza 490

Ⓒ Marcell Puzsar

Architecture Photo of Avanza 490

Ⓒ Marcell Puzsar

Architecture Photo of Avanza 490

Ⓒ Marcell Puzsar

Architecture Photo of Avanza 490

Ⓒ Marcell Puzsar

Architecture Photo of Avanza 490

Ⓒ Marcell Puzsar

Our approach to the overall brand design focuses on ideas of movement and flow. The building’s name, Avanza, means “forward movement” in Spanish, and the building is constructed atop an underground waterway, expressing this concept both metaphorically and literally. Because we wanted to celebrate the vibrant cultures of this predominantly Latin neighborhood, we conducted historical and onsite research. In the mid-century, cars reigned supreme along South Van Ness. This discovery, along with today’s vibrant street art scene and Latin culture, inspired us to echo these influences in our bilingual signs, our color palette, and overall theme of retro cars. More concretely, we paid close attention to accessibility and durability. We chose sturdy, long-lasting materials, and designed high-contrast signs for easy readability. At the groundbreaking ceremony, the entire community gathered to pray and, led by a community leader, hold a moment of silence. Today, this project is helping residents of the Mission get back on their feet, get stable, and move forward.

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