Unfortunately, the project’s title is “Orchid.” The Galactic Empire has landed in Normal Heights, bringing along an armored Walker to assault the surrounding neighborhood, if the design of this building doesn’t do it first.  The first comment anyone has of this building is always, “Are those clouds?” The developer must have gotten a really good deal on steel, because it’s everywhere, staircase railings, exposed structural beams, overhang and balcony braces, and just for good measure, trim.  The choice of a funereal paint palette along with a liberal use of concrete block walls lends the place an air of Eastern bloc prison complex, enhanced by the presence of a welcoming guard tower (or is it a lifeguard tower?) at the Adams Avenue entrance.  Per the leasing literature, the Eastern bloc effect carries over to the interiors as well, more drably painted concrete block walls, steel staircases, and outdoor balconies covered by the floor above, guaranteeing that no tenant will dare to try to grow a cannabis plant out there.

The outdoor common spaces were a good idea, but bad execution.  Dark, drab, blocked from the light and enhanced by the presence of a large row of gas meters, there’s really nothing beckoning here.  We’re really unclear on why the vertical exterior stairway panels have to exist, except that the architect really liked the idea of painting the clouds.  The juxtaposition of this All Terrain Armored Transport in between a 100 year old Craftsman and 1930s Streamline Modern single story house, soon to host a cafe of some sort, just makes it stand out like a thumb that’s been singed by a light saber.  About the only thing they got right was not providing any parking, because, that’s all the rage now.  This thing will not age well.

Subject of a whopping 309 comments on a Nextdoor post, 99% of them negative, other names have been proposed instead of “Orchid.”  Among the contenders: 1. Double-wide Dumpster on Stilts 2. Moldy Shipping Container Junkyard 3. Vertical Urban Trailer Park (The Stacks from “Ready Player One”) 4. Gigantic Hovering Mass 5. The Onion 6. Darth Vader

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  • Onion Nominee

  • Project Address:

    3586 Adams Avenue, San Diego

    Project Owner/Developer:

    The Society of Master Craftsmen

    Owner Contact Name/Email:

    Benjamin Longwell

    Project Architect/Designer:

    James Brown, FAIA

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

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