Tassafaronga Village has brought affordable and accessible housing to east Oakland, California, and created bright public space and environmentally innovative design on land that was once contaminated. In 1945 the U.S. government developed the land and built temporary housing for wartime workers in Oakland’s shipyards. In 1964, the Oakland Housing Authority (OHA) acquired the property and replaced the original structures with 87 public housing units: grim low-rise concrete buildings in a barren hardscape.
Today, Tassafaronga Village offers 157 affordable apartments that house over 500 residents. The architecture firm David Baker + Partners designed Tassafaronga’s cream, sienna, and canary yellow walls. The units are varied in form in direct contrast to the monotony of the site’s former war housing. Completed in 2010, the apartments were immediately fully occupied.
The Village also set benchmarks for environmentally sustainable development. Tassafaronga achieved LEED Platinum status from the US Green Building Council, employing recycled materials and green design strategies. The design included solar power for on-site generation of electricity and hot water as well as a green roof. Tassafaronga is also distinguished as the first community to receive a Gold rating for LEED for Neighborhood Development. Sheltered, enclosed public spaces, ample space, facilities for children to play, and the site’s proximity to transit provide residents with an enjoyable, safe atmosphere.
The Selux SonneLITER solar power luminaire was chosen for its sustainable design while providing excellent illumination for the many pathways residences use daily.