jonathan segal, faia, la jolla, calif.

Architect-developer Jonathan Segal, FAIA, wanted to build himself a house in San Diego's Little Italy neighborhood. But he needed to find a way to finance it. So instead of designing just one house for his modestly sized corner lot, he shoehorned in three, selling the two smaller units to friends.

The judges approved, remarking on the arrangement's versatility. "It's very interesting, because the smaller units could be mother-in-law apartments, et cetera," commented one. Such flexibility exists even within each residence. "The bottom floor could be rented out as a studio or used as an office," says Segal. "It's meant to be convertible housing that can grow and shrink as you need it to." With his budget in mind, he used only the most basic materials, such as stucco and mostly stock windows for the exteriors and plywood and concrete inside.

principal in charge/project architect/land planner/developer/general contractor/interior designer: Jonathan Segal, FAIA
landscape architect: Spurlock Poirier Landscape Architects, San Diego
project size: 1,450 to 5,800 square feet
site size: 0.1 acre
construction cost: $95 per square foot
sales price: $300,000 to $850,000
units in project: 3
photographer: Benjamin Rand, except where noted