Last developed in the decade following World War II, the new development plan for the Parkmerced neighborhood calls for a community rooted in forward-thinking urban ecology. The Block 20 project sits at the busy intersection of Junipero Serra Boulevard and 19th Avenue on the existing Parkmerced campus, a location that affords sightlines out to Lake Merced and back to the rolling hills of San Francisco.
The design capitalizes on both the fast-paced, active edge along Junipero Serra and the more intimate setting on the opposite side of the site, where deep-set balconies soften the boundary between the residents of the building and an idyllic park. The smooth glass acts as a foil against the prickly high-rise, which itself seeks to make a connection to the urban environment further afield while continuing the playful sophistication that defines the character of Block 20. The design, in keeping with the plans for Parkmerced’s development, is aspirational; the bright palette and gleaming surfaces draws viewers to it. The building itself consists of 299 residential units spread across a 17-story tower — rising 145 feet above grade — and an 8-story midrise.