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Tassafaronga Village - 2015 AIA Top Ten Green Project

Tassafaronga Village is a new neighborhood bringing a diversity of affordable housing to an underserved Oakland area, while repairing the deteriorated neighborhood fabric. The 7.5-acre brownfield infill site - previously home to decrepit public housing, an abandoned factory, and unused train tracks - was an isolated and unhealthy environment inviting to crime.

Developed in 1945 as war-worker housing, the site is sandwiched between residential and industrial uses. In 2005 the Oakland Housing Authority began planning to remediate the site with high-density, accessible, energy-efficient units for low- and very low-income households and to create a pedestrian-friendly environment that would soften the industrial border and create safe linkages to neighborhood amenities.

Jury comment: This is a former industrial site that has been repurposed as an affordable housing development. There is the innovative adaptive reuse of a former pasta factory and an intentional strategy of reducing visible parking in order to prioritize a safe, semi-private shared public play space. We admired the diversity of house type and scale. This project proves that the highest levels of environmental performance can be achieved at very low budgets and still have a design agenda. This shows that high performance has entered the mainstream. The project provides a prototype for new housing in this community. This doesn’t look like a “public” housing project. We appreciate the quality and diversity of architecture and landscape strategies. We like the simple energy efficiency coupled with the photovoltaic systems on the roof. It appears to be a true collaboration with a landscape architect.

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