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Unveiled> 8 Octavia
Where there was once a highway, Stanley Saitowitz / Natoma Architects has designed a sleek residential building in San Francisco.
Courtesy Stanley Saitowitz / Natoma Architects

8 Octavia
Architect: Stanley Saitowitz / Natoma Architects
Client: DM Development | DDG
Location: San Francisco
Completion: 2014

When a four-block stretch of San Francisco’s Central Freeway—a two-story elevated highway running through Hayes Valley—was demolished in 2002 after being deemed seismically unsound, the California Department of Transportation gave the city the blighted and previously inaccessible land below. Reinvented in 2005 as the ground-level Octavia Boulevard, the area is transforming into a gateway to the city. There is a new park, Hayes Green, and now construction has started on 8 Octavia, a stepped, five- to seven-story, 47-unit condo designed by Stanley Saitowitz/ Natoma Architects.

Occupying a slim, previously undeveloped, sloped piece of land at the corner of Octavia Boulevard and Market Street, the glass curtain-wall-clad 8 Octavia will offer flexibility for customization—allowing residents to tailor one-bedroom to three-bedroom layouts to suit their needs. Average units are slightly more than 950 square feet and the building will include seven below-market-rate units. A pod option groups the kitchen, bathroom, and washer/dryer together, freeing up living space. Reconfigurable wall panels allow the interior spaces to evolve easily. Light wells and adjustable colored sunshades help optimize natural light without sacrificing privacy at the busy intersection. 8 Octavia will also include 24 bicycle stalls in addition to parking for cars, with more than 2,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space.

Ariel Rosenstock