Photography: Misha Bruk Photography and JETT Landscape Architecture + Design
The NorthPoint Apartments, built in 1969 in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood, featured five courtyards which were located over podium parking and designed by the office of Lawrence Halprin. Suffering from waterproofing failure, the courtyard landscapes had to be replaced. This posed two notable challenges: designing a contemporary project that honored Halprin’s original idea and half-century old design as well as reapportioning both common and private spaces to meet changed expectations while staying within the tight constraints imposed by the original flat-slab construction. The strategy is one of carefully proportioned spaces animated by finely detailed abstractions of water and stone. The use of these natural elements was an homage to Halprin and the materials he used with such insight. All five of the courtyards share forms and colors that pick up on the language of the surrounding buildings, but are differentiated from one another in their geometry, palette of plant materials, and focal elements.