Beyond the Build

Construction Trends

Building Community

A couple of weeks ago, I had dinner with David Baker, one of the leading Bay Area architects. Over the years, his firm has designed a number of award-winning projects, but after my visit with David, it seems his passion is multifamily urban projects.

He has designed everything from lofts, to market rate and affordable housing, to micro units and senior housing. At times, these are tough sites, tough entitlements and transitioning neighborhoods, but he has the goal of tying it all together using what he calls his 9 guiding principles.

Reweave the Urban Fabric. Make Big Moves. A Little Goes a Long Way. Activate the Edges. Be Welcoming. Cultivate Connection. Enlightened Circulation. Get Personal. Art for All.

David’s designs keep people and relationships at the core of the structures. It takes focus and determination to not let this slip and to include as many of the elements above as possible.

While these principles are targeted to urban design, I’d argue they are just good design. A whole lot of wisdom can be summed up with one little word. Community.

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Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.