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Argus Designed Branding and Wayfinding for 2015 Urban Land Institute Winner, St. Joseph’s

Before BRIDGE Housing’s renovation of Oakland, California’s St. Joseph’s Home for the Aged, the building had been used as low-rent commercial space and the building had deteriorated over time. Now the property is a vibrant campus providing affordable housing to low-income seniors and families.

Last week, St. Joseph’s and the property’s developer, BRIDGE Housing, were one of ten properties awarded the Urban Land Institute Award for Excellence. According to ULI, “St. Joseph’s Campus offers an example of adaptive use, historic renovation, and new construction coming together to create a multigenerational community.”

Property branding, led by the team at Argus, played a critical part in uniting the three very different but prominent components of the historic 1912 landmark property: the campus, the historic St. Joseph’s Home for the Aged and a newly constructed family apartment building, “Terraza Palmera.” “Argus helped steward the history of St. Joseph’s and integrate the new components of the development through an identity, environmental graphics and art installation. Their work tied the campus together in a way that supports a real sense of community,” said Lyn Hikida, Director of Communications and Media at BRIDGE Housing. Argus Partner, Jeff Breidenbach, explains further, “It was critical that we honored the historic aspects of the site while bridging modern features to build a cohesive sense of place that elevates the feeling of home for residents in this rich Oakland community.”

The branding strategy included a thoughtful process of research and development including an audit of St. Joseph’s history, stakeholder interviews and a community study. The results included naming, a family of identities— one for each of three elements; the campus, the senior apartment building and family apartment building, a signage program. Other unique elements help bring the property to life like an entry gate built in the shape of the campus identity and an art gallery that illustrates the transformation of the campus and the local vibrant local community.

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