The Kimball of National City is a mixed-use building composed of 47 residential units and 4 retail units. The project is located on East 8th Street, between the 5 and 805 freeways.
The City of National City has rezoned East 8th Street to be a high-density mixed-use corridor. They’ve reduced the number of lanes on the street and installed traffic slowing measures so to change the character of the street from a low density, high speed automotive corridor to a high density pedestrian utopia filled with street level commercial below housing units.
This project is the first redevelopment project in this section of East 8th Street and was designed to help the City of National City realize it’s goal for this area. It is an excellent example of how one new project can change the character of an existing neighborhood. The elegant, modern design of this building will force future development to attempt to match the quality and aesthetic of this new structure, or they will not be able to compete. The many entrances to the building’s residential and commercial units from East 8th Street and L Avenue create a pedestrian friendly environment that will build on the work of the City of National City to help transform this neighborhood.
Most apartment buildings are a rectangular box with many randomly placed windows that make it look like a block of swiss cheese. The facade of this building was designed as a reaction to those typical, cookie-cutter buildings and provides a more thought out approach. The windows for each apartment are grouped together to form a vertical glazed panel that is recessed a few feet from the facade. These glazed elements are divided by vertical stucco panels. The juxtaposition of these two alternating elements creates an articulated movement along East 8th Street. that is so effective at breaking up the large mass of the structure that one almost forgets that the project takes up ½ of a city block. This is a welcome change from the 10’ to 16’ high retaining wall that lined East 8th Street prior to the construction of this building.
This building deserves an Orchid due to its modern style, elegant architecture and the positive change it has brought to the neighboring community.