Affordable High-Rise Blends Energy Efficiency and Award-Winning Aesthetics

A cutting-edge model of affordable, green high-rise housing is officially open.

San Diego, Calif.—A cutting-edge model of affordable, high-rise housing is officially open.

QmoV9-b77qWZCcG1LzSrKfhmFFLfNqVuOxpg6Ph6ZxcStudio E Architects presents Celadon I, an innovative model providing a distinctive fusion of extreme energy efficiency, award-winning aesthetics and expansive community spaces. The 130,000-square-foot structure is situated at 929 9th Avenue at the intersection of Broadway in the heart of downtown San Diego.

Studio E took on the challenge of designing for a broad range of occupants to create a unified urban community as perceived by its developer, BRIDGE Housing. Made up of 250 affordable micro-units, studios and one-bedroom homes for individuals and small families, residents also include seniors, the adult service workforce, and at-risk youth transitioning from homelessness. The Santa Ana-based SVA Architects teamed up on the project executing Studio E’s design and serving as the executive architect.

The 17-story building has offerings that accommodate and support the residential population on numerous levels. A main office offering healthcare assessments, social and additional support services is within one of the two ground floor commercial spaces that together total 6,200 square feet.

cKjZ4Q2Cd7ZVTgNJfv1t_yYMEcmsMhWTNAZD1-4ORv4“We had three agendas in the design of Celadon,” said Lead Design Architect and Studio E Principal Eric Naslund, FAIA. “To do right by the environment, to do right by the city, and to do right by those who would live there. Everything about the expression and experience of the place brings it back to these core missions.”

Celadon’s five-story pedestal and basalt clad façade incorporate harmoniously with the age-old pattern of historic five- and six-story structures along Broadway. The slim, twelve-story tower is placed to allow a surplus of open space on top of the pedestal. At the base of the tower a glass gasket separates the two, enhancing the feeling of openness and giving the appearance of the tower floating above the pedestal. Studio E integrated sawtooth-patterned tilted bays to protect units from the glare and solar heat gain that come with the late afternoon west-facing views. Along with shielding the low afternoon sun and directing views across San Diego bay to the ocean, the bays also increase the footprint of the living spaces.

Qualifying for LEED Silver Certification, the design, functionality and budget are all swayed by its ultra-efficient outline, including a 143-foot vertical PV array—one of the tallest in the United States, that folds at its base to form an awning over the terrace. Solar hot water panels located on an exposed steel framework at the upper terrace offset nearly 50 percent of the entire building’s hot water needs while simultaneously providing shade for the terrace below.

XdGs3G3eWcEuBr5Dxnxt-pucCg9hToFg-q8dyLhHoLAThe corridor running north to south is open on both ends, encouraging natural airflow. Celadon’s expansive community spaces add to its distinction in both the urban environment and affordable realm. A large community room pours out to a furnished courtyard on the ground level. Dual terraces burrowed into the city on Level 5 have multiple communal gardens and gathering spaces. The largest terrace to the north includes a BBQ and picnic area. A seminar room opens to the southern terrace with a pet play area shaded by the PV panel awning. Another open terrace on the 15th floor offers widespread city views. Eco-roofs are landscaped with drought tolerant plants and community gardens and planked concrete planters hang over Broadway from the Level 5 terrace, showing off the energized atmosphere.

Celadon I has been recognized with a “2014 Builder’s Choice Design Award” by Builder Magazine. The landscape architecture was done by Spurlock Poirier and Turner Construction was the general contractor.