The Nexus
Berkeley, California

The Nexus is a 6-story mixed-use development located five blocks from the UC Berkeley Campus, close to shops, restaurants, and cafes. This student housing project comprises 290 single-occupancy, fully furnished apartments in a transit-oriented location adjacent to the busiest bus line in the East Bay.

The project provides as much student housing as possible with compact units that maintain livability while keeping rents low. Utilizing the California State Density Bonus Law, the team was able to incorporate an additional floor. The plan organization is vital to the success of the density-livability balance: instead of a double-loaded corridor (which would yield an inefficient building with fewer units), a single-loaded outdoor corridor lines a 25-foot wide interior courtyard connecting the units. This courtyard allows living spaces to face both the exterior and the protected courtyard, providing light, air, and fire access, thus increasing the number of allowable bedrooms on the site.

The density of the project and the highly efficient unit layouts allowed for amenities like a roof deck with spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge, a planted courtyard with built-in seating, as well as common lounge spaces. High ceilings, cross ventilation from the courtyard to the exterior, and many well-placed windows enhance the indoor experience. At the ground level, a retail storefront occupies the Telegraph Avenue frontage. Landscaped areas in the podium-level courtyard and on the rooftop provide much-needed open space amenities for residents and neighbors of this dense urban infill project.

Most units are a shared 4-bedroom type with 1.5 baths. These units, varying from 619 to 818 SF are highly efficient, with rooms and spaces designed to code minimums with no extraneous space. The bedrooms are an efficient 70 SF with no built-in closets, only appropriately selected furniture.

This project was submitted to the Berkeley Design Advocates (BDA) 14th Biennial Design Awards for 2019-2020 and received a citation award based on its excellence in urban planning and innovative design solutions.

“The jury applauds two residential projects for the inventiveness with which they have put land assembly and construction methods to use both in providing additional housing and creating examples that future developers and architects would do well to follow.”

72,000 SF
6 stories
70 units

Urban infill
Transit-oriented design
Rooftop and podium-level open space
Ground floor retail

2021 Berkeley Design Advocates Citation Award

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