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This Eco-Friendly San Francisco Apartment Building Is Clad in Plastic

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On tight city lots, where space and sunlight are scarce, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd, and get natural light into a residence's nooks and crannies. This updated multiunit apartment building in San Francisco's Mission District doesn't have that problem: Its glass-and-steel frame is clad in places with plastic—white plastic used for decks, to be precise—and sits behind a gate made of metal perforated with a funky geometric pattern.

Designed by Bay Area studio Kennerly Architecture and Planning, the building encompasses a townhouse and two two-story apartments—the Street House; the Sky House; and the Garden House—and, according to Dezeen, adjoins a circa-1907 former gathering hall for a local union. Timber abounds inside— the floors, ceiling panels, balustrades, doors, and more are all made from wood—and sun streams in from strategically placed windows.

Outside, the architects paved the driveway with a porous material that lets rainwater make its way back to the earth beneath. This—and design moves inside the building meant to make the structure more sustainable, like low-water-use plumbing and radiant heating—make the residence a bit greener than other new-builds.