Merritt Crossing \ Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects

• September 7, 2012

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 is expected to achieve 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.

MerrittCrossing 203 600x612 Merritt Crossing \ Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects

Courtesy Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects


• 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 130 points under GreenPoint rating
• Energy Star rated building
• Bay Friendly landscape certification
• Minimized garage footprint using parking lifts

MerrittCrossing 205 600x444 Merritt Crossing \ Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects

Courtesy Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects


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.

MerrittCrossing 209 Merritt Crossing \ Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects

Courtesy Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects


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.

MerrittCrossing 214 Merritt Crossing \ Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects

Courtesy Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects

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

Construction Type: light gauge metal framing over concrete podium
No. of Apartments: 70 (55 one bedroom, 10 two bedroom, 5 studios)
Community Spaces:
• community room
• community kitchen
• services office
• laundry
• management offices

LEED rating: Platinum (LEED for Homes Midrise Program)
Green Point Multifamily rating: approximately 135 points

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

+ Project facts

Merritt Crossing Affordable Housing
Oakland, CA

Architect: Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects
Project Team: Richard Stacy, FAIA, Principal; Claudia Merzario, Project Architect
Location: Oakland, California
Client: Affordable Housing Associates
Date of occupancy: Aug. 2012
Gross square footage: 62,000 sq. ft.
Site area: 0.38 acres
Construction cost: $18 million
Contractor: Nibbi Brothers Construction

Structural KPFF
Landscape Cliff Lowe Associates
Mechanical MHC Engineers
Electrical C&N Engineers
Acoustical Charles Salter and Associaties
Lighting Architectural Lighting Design
Civil Luk & Associates
Soils Engineers Alan Kropp & Associates
Green Rating Beyond Efficiency

Key materials (type/brand):
Siding Swiss Pearl
Modular Trellis GreenScreen
Roofing Johns Manville
Windows Torrance Aluminum
Storefront Arcadia
Decorative Panels 3Form
Wood Paneling Plyboo
Cabinets Grandview
Indoor Floor Tile Graniti Fiandre
Planter Tile Northern Lights Ceramic Tile Design
Exterior Ceramic Floor Tile FMG/EuroWest
Resilient Tile Flooring Flotex Integrity
Linoleum – Living Units Forbo Marmoleum
Carpet Tile Shaw
Carpet – Bedroom Broadloom Patcraft

Software used: AutoCAD
Awards/certifications: Honor Award, AIA East Bay, Exceptional Residential
Photographer credit: Tim Griffith
Certification targets: LEED Platinum certification, GreenPoint Rating, Bay-Friendly Landscape Rating

+ All images courtesy Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects


Category: Architecture, Residential

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