Merritt Crossing House en Oakland, California

Merritt Crossing es un nuevo desarrollo de apartamentos y servicios de alta densidad, asequibles y sin fines de lucro, para personas mayores de bajos ingresos, ubicado en el centro de Oakland.

Merritt Crossing is a new high-density, transit oriented development by a non-profit providing affordable apartments and services for low-income seniors in downtown Oakland. Located at the edge of Oakland’s Chinatown neighborhood near the Lake Merritt BART station, the project transforms an abandoned gas station site by an interstate highway into a new community asset. The non-institutional design combines colorful siding and panels with plant supporting wire mesh screens to compliment the neighborhood’s eclectic pan-Asian residential character. The building’s community-building amenities include on-site supportive services, a community room, and a landscaped courtyard and garden. The sustainable design achieved the highest level (Platinum) under the LEED for Homes rating system in addition to a high GreenPoint rating, Energy Star Rating and Bay Friendly landscaping certification. The building’s innovative sustainable systems include both photoelectric power and solar water heating, storm water retention, filtered ventilation, rainscreen facades and recyclable metal framing.

Notable Points
• 70 affordable apartments for a diverse group of seniors with low incomes
• Approximately one-half of the residents are formerly homeless individuals
• On-site supportive services and community room provided
• Reuse of a brownfield site for a community and transit oriented development
• Economical, urban infill, high-density housing
• Colorful, non-institutional, modern design complimenting electric pan-Asian neighborhood character
• Universal design strategies incorporated in accessible design for seniors
• Non-institutional interior residential corridors with daylight and views
• Efficiently designed apartments are quiet, well ventilated and sunny
• South “screen wall” façade mitigates the adjacent freeway and solar orientation
• Ventilated rainscreen type facades
• Both photoelectric power and solar water heating systems
• Anticipated Platinum level rating under LEED for Homes
• Over 200 points under GreenPoint rating
• Energy Star rated building
• Bay Friendly landscape certification
• Minimized garage footprint using parking lifts

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The building was arranged along the long edge (Sixth Street) of the corner site in order to reserve a twenty foot sideyard for a sunny landscaped courtyard and garden. This configuration also allows the courtyard to be directly linked to the ground floor community room, kitchen, laundry and entrance on Oak Street. The courtyard garden is designed as a series of outdoor spaces from community to more private activities. The high ceiling ground floor areas are surrounded by glass walls to enhance the visual connectivity of the community spaces and the public sidewalk. The footprint of the required on-site parking is reduced by the use of stacked parking lifts. The parking garage is wrapped with green screen panels that will create a living wall along the sidewalk and courtyard. In addition, planting beds are tucked under the street side of the building and double function as storm water retention tanks. By reducing the visual footprint of the ground floor level, the upper floors appear to float above which lightens their impact. The upper floors are organized into two parallel bands of apartments separated by a wide hallway combined with the fire stairs and elevators. The ends of the hallways are open with large windows to provide views and introduce daylight. Many of the apartments are provided with balconies that are recessed into the building mass. On the south (red) façade, the balconies are part of a recessed zone that mitigates the visual and noise impact of the adjacent freeway at the same time providing solar shading. The variety of openings and plant supporting mesh panels provides a freeway scale composition. On the north (green) faced the opening configuration provides a scale and variety compatible with the adjacent residential neighborhood. The building’s color scheme accentuates the separation between the two bars of apartments and between the outer building “skin” and the internal balconies and voids.

Statement of Criteria and Desing Solution
Tenant population:
• Seniors (55 and older) with incomes between 30% and 50% of area median
• Over half of the apartments were set-aside for seniors who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness, living with HIV/AIDS or challenged by mental illness
• The project also received 50 project-based Section 8 vouchers that will ensure that the apartments remain affordable to seniors with even lower incomes, 
including those living on SSI

Owner design goals:
• Friendly non-institutional design complimenting electric pan-Asian neighborhood character
• Community enhancing design to mitigate senior isolation and enhance security
• Cost effective design appropriate for publically funded affordable housing
• Energy efficient design to control owner and residents future utility costs
• Sustainable design to reduce environmental impact of development
• Universal design to address accessibility issues for seniors

Community Spaces:
• community room
• community kitchen
• services office
• laundry
• management offices
No. of Parking Spaces: 11
Cost: $18,000,000

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LEED rating: Platinum (LEED for Homes Midrise Program)
Green Point Multifamily rating: approximately 200 points
Energy Star rating: First Energy Star rated multifamily project in California
Landscape rating: Bay Friendly Rated

Sustainable design systems:
• Rooftop photovoltaic panel system for renewable energy
• Rooftop solar hot water system for renewable energy
• Filtered ventilation system for indoor air quality
• Retention planters for storm water management
• Parking lifts for reduced parking garage footprint
• Greenscreen façade panels for energy efficiency and traffic noise control
• Rainscreen façade for energy efficiency
• Enhanced rigid and batt insulation for energy efficiency
• High slab content concrete for lower embodied energy
• Recyclable light gauge metal framing
• High reflectivity roofing for energy efficiency
• Machine room-less elevators for energy efficiency
• High performance glazing for energy efficiency and traffic noise control
• Thermally broken windows for energy efficiency
• Fluorescent lighting for energy efficiency
• Formaldehyde free cabinetry and wall panels
• Bay friendly landscaping for resource efficiency

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