Affordable / Merit
The cobbled-together site of this affordable family-housing community presented Studio E Architects principal John Sheehan with a difficult task. “It was a patchwork of irregular shapes that met in an odd way,” he explains. “Our challenge was to make sense of it.”
He and project designer Kevin Nivinskus didn't try to force a sense of cohesion through architectural homogeneity. Instead, they emphasized the downtown San Diego project's eclectic nature by breaking it into several buildings. Varied color schemes and detailing give each one its own distinct design identity. An existing historic building was restored for use as a meeting and exhibition space. And a landscaped walkway winds all the way through the community, providing the connective tissue that holds the buildings and public spaces together.
“There's great pedestrian access,” said one judge. “It's very simple but looks classy. It feels good.”