Belles Street Townhomes

Just west of Mountain Lake in San Francisco’s historic Presidio, nestled into a neighborhood that once housed physicians and their families, Belles Street consists of seven new townhomes, a vital piece of the Presidio’s first “green neighborhood”: the entire district has been re-imagined as a welcoming park gateway, featuring residences, cultural and educational organizations, and public trails that link the Presidio’s natural, historic and recreational attractions.

This project was originally designed by Living Homes, but due to a shift from modular to conventional framing, WRNS was selected to revise the structure, update the design, complete documentation and construction. We were additionally responsible for integrating the sustainable design strategies that made LEED for Homes Platinum possible. Materials were cut to spec prior to delivery, which reduced waste both at the mill and onsite. The four-story units were designed vertically to minimize the project’s overall footprint, while the open floor plan interiors remain comfortable.

The exteriors, clad in trespa panels, constitute a highly efficient envelope that requires little indoor climate control, while roof-mounted photovoltaics, high-efficiency LED lighting, Energy Star appliances, and skylights and abundant windows for daylighting further reduce energy usage. Low-flow fixtures, FSC-certified flooring and radiant heating with smart zone controls also contributed towards the project’s LEED Platinum rating.

The drought-resistant landscaping incorporates an efficient irrigation system, permeable paving and site drainage that reduces stormwater runoff. (The large lawn above is not part of the project’s landscaping; rather, it serves the park and is maintained by the Presidio.) Transit and other services are a short walk away.

While some Presidio developments have been controversial, the Belles Street Townhomes and surrounding district have been widely cheered. The project has demonstrated that the Presidio’s mandate to be financially self sufficient can be achieved through quality design and site-sensitive, sustainable buildings.

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