jonathan segal, faia, san diego

Jonathan Segal, FAIA, can't resist a challenge. When building his own house, the San Diego–based architect/builder/developer chose an irregularly shaped lot in busy downtown La Jolla, right across from the town's commercial center. To provide sufficient privacy while still getting the expansive outdoor living spaces he and his family wanted, he'd have to come up with some clever maneuvers.

And he did, with the help of his wife and business partner, Wendy. They surrounded the home's concrete-and-glass structure with walls of rusted steel, effectively blocking intrusive noises and views. A constantly running fountain also filters out city sounds. Floor-to-ceiling sliding glass walls open the first floor up to a lap pool on one side and a terrace on the other, allowing the Segals and their two children to enjoy their urban oasis to the fullest. “When you're in this house, you forget the complexities of the site,” said a judge.

Simple, streamlined materials, such as sapelli plywood ceiling panels and scored concrete floors, help the house fall into line aesthetically with Segal's modernist, boutique multifamily housing in downtown San Diego. “Everything's about shaking the building so the parts fall off, so you get that minimal expression,” he says.

principal in charge / project architect / general contractor / land planner / interior designer: Jonathan Segal, FAIA
landscape designer: Wendy Segal, La Jolla
project size: 6,000 square feet
site size: 0.2 acre
construction cost: $198 per square foot
photographer: Steve Simpson, except where noted