Uplands II

Master Planning Multi-family Housing
Project Number:
1972-November 1973
Pullman Building Company
Paradise Drive, Corte Madera, California
Project Name:
Uplands II

In 1965 the Pullman Company built seven three-story rental apartments on seven acres of extremely steep hillside property in southern Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. The design specifications included units per acre net density of the Townhouses and condominiums to be 14.6 units per acre including 20 percent with two bedroom, 60 percent with three bedrooms and 20 percent with four bedrooms. An additional fifteen acres were master planned for fourteen more buildings of the same type including 161 living units. The amenities included consisted of three recreational centers, three swimming pools, a children’s play area, and hiking trails. However, community reaction against the massive appearance of the existing structures, plus a shift in the market demand to ownership units caused the client to abandon its approved master plan. Willis and Associates Inc. were retained to utilize the CARLA process to develop a new program.

Geological analysis of the property using stereoscopic pairs photography and side scanning radar analysis, identified the presence and extent of numerous slide areas. A minimum of hand auger borings was used to determine the limits and depths of the slide areas, and those which were deemed uneconomical to rebuild were avoided in the new planning. Environmental and storm water analyses displayed the degree and extent of the ecological and vegetation features which the community required to be preserved.

Through the use of CARLA’s site area allocation software, the resulting buildable land provided minimum areas for sheltered recreation while assigning prime view locations for residential units. By way of Alternative Massing Configuration computer programs, the client could select the best option from among thirty mathematically feasible site use plans. Graphically displayed cut/fill and depth of cut programs enabled the development of land use methods, which kept the fill and cut depths to less than ten feet in slope areas of twenty per cent.

The final plan, while preserving ecologically sensitive features and encouraging community support, provided a high proportion of two story townhouses, which offered top market potential and minimum site improvement expenses.