This project is so much more than its gorgeous architecture and design, but I’ll start there. Russell is known for his signature “handmade modernism,” and for good reason. Every detail of The Louie is considered and on point. From the uniquely molded concrete to the landscaping, to the clean lines, stained and natural wood, and sunny-yet-subtle colors, it’s a treat for the eyes, He’s done justice to the canyon it overlooks in replacing the eyesore that was previously there. It’s rare to see a building of The Louie’s scale done in such a thoughtful and unassuming manner.
The Louie is also a textbook example of how to get infill development right. Beautiful, wide sidewalks with gorgeous landscape and THREE commercial storefronts. James Coffee and a seriously adorable boutique, Thread + Seed, currently operate out of the two southernmost; with Extraordinary Desserts building out the north corner with the help of another rock star architect, Jennifer Luce, FAIA. It is scheduled to open in October.
I’m always shocked to see new buildings that have zero relationship to the sidewalk, hence none with the community. Everything about The Louie should set a standard not only in Banker’s Hill but all over San Diego. We have some of the best weather on the planet. Clearly and unfortunately, not all developments will be as attentive or caring in the design aspect, but all new development should support this magnitude of neighborhood-oriented walkability.