Centre Street Lofts
Described by one juror as "an apartment building that offers its’ inhabitants a true Southern California experience," the Centre Street Lofts in Hillcrest is a triumphant example of urban infill without compromise. A fresh, unique apartment complex where the residents have become a small micro-community, interacting with one another as they access their residences through the internal courtyard, while still maintaining a sense of privacy by connecting internal living spaces with elevated linear decks and patios. Working within a tight budget, the architect/developer incorporated a number of unique personal touches and elevated the detailing of many components, from the hand-crafted formwork for the curved concrete walls to the rotating BBQ grill in the courtyard, this project stands out with its’ playful creativity and thoughtful execution. The movement from the street, to the garage, to the common space, to the unit, is so unique and fun; this project provides the benchmark of what should be the norm for all future residential developments and supports the idea that breaking all the rules, while still complying with them can pay huge dividends in the end.
- Project Address: Centre St. between University and Robertson, west of Park, Hillcrest
- Project Owner/ Developer: Lloyd Russell
- Owner Contact Name/ Email: Lloyd Russell: email@example.com
- Project Architect/ Designer: Lloyd Russell
I am nominating The Centre Street Lofts for an Orchid because they demonstrate that market rate multi-family dwellings need not rely on Styrofoam cornices, pink stucco, endless double-loaded corridors or any other generic, consumer-survey, developer-driven ‘slight-of-hand’ to produce neighborhood friendly, sustainable, light-filled living at competitive rates. Avoiding the pratfalls and clichés of the typical five floors over parking, this architect/developer/contractor reinterpreted the Southern California model of courtyard housing to meet the current demands of parking requirements, codes and banker expectations. The 25-unit complex takes advantage of the mild San Diego climate with large outdoor terraces, high ceilings and, where terraces were not possible, 8x8 glass “garage doors,” to offset the relatively small unit size dictated by the restrictive F.A.R. The result is units that are perceived as far larger than they actually are, while allowing for balanced light and natural air circulation due to the presence of windows on two and even three walls of the primary rooms in most units. This is not grandiose or ego-driven architecture, just a lesson for both developers and architects throughout the region: simple, strong, timeless, performative architecture can be built within a modest budget if you simply stick to the basics: light, air, space and materials