Casa Adelante 681 Florida Opens in San Francisco

Date Posted: 11.08.2022

Construction has completed and residents are moving into Casa Adelante at 681 Florida, 130 units of much-needed affordable housing in San Francisco’s Mission District. The building includes 39 permanent supportive housing units as well as 9,000 sf of ground-floor space that is reserved for local arts organizations.

The project site was previously home to several independent and under-the-radar arts spaces that were an important part of the district’s history. In recent years, arts spaces in the city have consistently been on the chopping block due to gentrification. To honor and maintain the legacy of the local art scene, 681 Florida expands access to affordable housing while recreating space for the arts and artists who worked there.

This story of death and rebirth of the arts drove the design process. The final building design celebrates public art innovations and promotes high visibility for art pieces from the local community. The entry features a large gate with laser-cut metal panels designed by San Francisco Public High School students with the Youth Art Exchange, led by faculty instructors Alyssa Aviles and Logan Kelley. Significant murals on the building façade and throughout the project were completed by Trust Your Struggle artist collective, Cece Carpio, Josue Rojas, Miguel Perez and Amy Koehler and Mona Caron. The building’s forecourt is covered by an entryway canopy designed by Mithun in collaboration with Fireclay Tile. The space dissolves the boundary between public and private—a legacy of the Mission District’s cultural heritage. It provides a venue for arts organizations and residential gatherings to spill out onto the street. The forecourt also offers a prime location for the ground-floor tenant, Carnaval San Francisco (Carnaval SF), to begin their Carnaval parade procession into the street.

A major institution in the city and Mission District, Carnaval SF primarily engages in theatrical community interactions, including yearly parades, dance, music and the visual arts. Aiming to promote the visibility of the arts and this 45-year-old organization, Mithun designed a highly transparent ground floor space that stretches across the entire block. Passersby can see all the way through the building to the next street, a captivating transparency that invites community members to see and engage with Carnaval SF. The double-height space is inspired by the Cell Space gallery and American Conservatory Theater prop workshop that used to reside on the site, and will flexibly accommodate a myriad of uses including theater, rehearsal, dance and community gatherings.

The building’s residential spaces are designed with family, community and food in mind. The community room and lobby are large open spaces with ample daylight and the flexibility to support a mix of activities.

Shared outdoor spaces maximize opportunities for family-friendly living. The lower-level roof deck is sunny and intimate, with views to Potrero Hill and a direct connection to a family home daycare unit. On the upper level, the laundry room is positioned next to the roof deck—enabling parents to tackle chores while their kids play outside. On the sunny south side is an urban agriculture farm operated by Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC). The farm provides an outlet for gardening and community-building while providing residents with access to fresh, healthy produce.

Special details promote opportunities for large group celebrations and social functions. Residents who wish to throw birthday parties or quinceaneras can seat twenty guests or more at an expansive events table on the roof deck, with views of downtown San Francisco as a backdrop. Similarly, units feature beautiful kitchens with spacious islands for large meals and gatherings of family and friends.

Casa Adelante at 681 Florida was developed by TNDC and Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA). Mithun provided integrated architecture, interior design and landscape architecture services in collaboration with STRUCTUS, structural engineer; Freyer & Laureta, civil engineer; Engineering 350, MEP; and Salter, acoustics. The project was constructed by a joint venture between Cahill Construction and Guzman Construction Group. Thank you also to the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD), Carnaval San Francisco and the diverse community of artists, neighbors and agencies that were dedicated to this joint vision for the Mission.