Saint Francis Apartments at Cathedral Square
The Saint Francis Apartments at Cathedral Square is a 50-unit multi-family project in Denver, Colorado. The project utilizes a tried and true Housing First model to combat homelessness and provides permanent supportive services necessary to overcome chronic homelessness. This development, consistent with the mission of its namesake, is designed to support the poorest among us and give a sense of peace and place. The project is proximate to a number of services, amenities, and employment—all key factors in the fight against homelessness.
The city around St. John’s is rapidly densifying, changing the Cathedral’s historic presence in the urban fabric. A master plan was commissioned to address and embrace these changing conditions, preserving views to St. John’s Cathedral and ensure that a sacred open space, Dominic Park, is retained. This surgical infill project was created from the desire of St. John’s Cathedral leadership to positively impact their community physically and spiritually. With this in mind, the tight site was not an impediment, but gave the designers an opportunity to think outside of the box.
The ground floor is animated by materials and rhythms that make the building a partner to the pedestrian life, including a community space that is clad with a glass garage door to invite events and collaboration of neighbors. A confessional-inspired scrim clads the northern façade. A bold geometry of the top floor and roof speak to the vision of opportunity contained within.
The architecture is focused on the new building playing a supportive role to the cathedral, the pedestrian environment, and the skyline. This structure consists of a six-story building with podium parking and a lobby, reception, and management functions on the ground floor. Levels 2 -5 contain the bulk of the residential units. All of the community and counseling spaces are located on the 6th floor to best enjoy the inspirational views of the State Capital and the Rocky Mountains.