Till O&O!

October 26, 2017
Reception & Ceremony
The US Grant
Tickets Available Now!


the Earnest

Named from the original neighborhood grocer that built, owned and operated ‘Grobb’s Grocery’ from 1918-1934 -William Earnest Grobb and his wife were the first to build on this property. The Earnest is a new mixed use apartment building with street level hair salon and record store. Its 4-story, full-block presence and striking geometric lines establish a contemporary tone for infill revitalization in the evolving North Park neighborhood.

A true amalgamation art and architecture; the work of local rising-star artist Brittany Segal adorns the structure; a textured, green-toned acrylic on canvas and a pen drawing in a bright poppy, are blown-up 500 times their original size and embossed on giant aluminum sheets applied to the underside of dramatic overhangs and select exterior surfaces. The Earnest typifies a commitment to progressive and sustainable infill development that is guided by the potential to revitalize an aging area. Conceived of as a micro-community, it is designed to encourage social interaction and active lifestyles from its core, with ground floor commercial spaces delivering a renewed vitality to the street.

Achieving a balance of residential privacy in conjunction with opportunities for tenants to interact with one other, the central courtyard contains a “spider web” of pathways diverging from the project’s nucleus; a large, communal, lounge-like outdoor living and barbeque area. The navigational network weaves around and through the building, generating generous exterior circulation, maintaining visual accessibility of the common area and privatizing unit access.

The Earnest’s architectural details emphasize its interactive lifestyle and aesthetic. Visible from the street, Segal’s art, pitched walls, and an entry screen with The Earnest’s “E” logo emblazoned repetitively in steel are framed in black sand-finished stucco, amplifying the structure’s communication with users and passersby. Inside, symmetrically patterned tile work and stainless steel mesh guardrails compliment the black and white stucco composition.

Unit interiors and materiality also speak a fluently fresh and contemporary language.  Sloping built ins and black steel stairs add depth, and charcoal hued, wide-plank wood-grained flooring creates warmth.

The Earnest’s intentional social programming and pioneering design caters to urban professionals who desire a modern crisp space typically found in a hi-rise, with a more intimate, community-oriented setting and experience. Dwellers can opt for a more socially engaged living experience facing the common area, or a more private but still connected residence with outward views of mountains and a nearby water tower.



  • Orchid Nominee

  • Project Address:

    4201 30th Street

    Project Owner/Developer:

    FoundationForForm Architecture & Development

    Owner Contact Name/Email:

    Mike Burnett mike@FoundationForForm.com

    Project Architect/Designer:

    FoundationForForm Architecture & Development


  • Ginger Hitzke


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P.O. Box 122228
San Diego, CA 92112-2228
Federal Tax ID: 95-3513927

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Orchids & Onions is an educational and fundraising program of the San Diego Architectural Foundation, a 501(c)3, nonprofit organization dedicated to education and the promotion of outstanding architecture, planning and urban design throughout the San Diego region.

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