Working within extreme constraints, the goal was to design City Scene as a four-story structure over a pre-existing two-story parking garage that was part of a previously failed market rate development. To make matters more complicated, the site was also situated on a constrained urban site with considerable slope. The project required effective re-use of an existing structure that required diligent coordination of design elements to meet this technical challenge.
A project goal was to build affordable homes that embody the aesthetic of our city and allow residents to engage in San Diego's amazing climate and access to sunlight. Designers wanted to create an airy and light-filled environment that would achieve the project goals of natural ventilation and exceptional light qualities while providing dramatic views, qualities rarely found in affordable housing communities.
City Scene's design includes rooftop solar panels and special care was taken to design the living units around a system of natural ventilation and light wells to reduce the need for air-conditioning. This approach also contributed to a quality of living—low income units with an abundance of light and air—that is rare in high-density urban environments.
The pre-existing parking garage on the site was utilized in the project design to offer better amenities and more open space thus reducing overall development costs and positively impacting the construction timeline. A part of the garage deck has been preserved for an outdoor recreation area for children and adults and includes dramatic views with lots of natural sunlight. The result are homes that encourage enagement with our amazing climate that is rarely found in multi-family housing of either market rate or affordable ownership.
The result is a well-received 32 unit LEED Gold certified affordable housing community that embodies advanced design elements not typically seen in this genre of architecture. Through careful planning, each dwelling is a corner unit, a design characteristic that supports ventilation and light. Additionally the units are accessed via open walkways through light and air wells. In essence this results in three sides of the units being open to air and light, creating a pleasing and affordable place to live. The below grade parking lot features special parking for those utilizing sustainable driving methods (i.e. carpooling, biking and motorcycles).