Senter Road Approved by San Jose City Council!




We are excited to announce that Senter Road has been approved by San Jose City Council!  The proposed 162-unit development will provide chronically homeless men and women with a home and access to counseling and health services.  We are thrilled that those without a home will now have a place to live and thrive, and we are proud to work with such thoughtful and compassionate partners as Charities Housing.  Thanks to the San Jose City Council for courageously advocating for the community most in need of their protection and support.

Read more about the project (and its mildly controversial approval) here!


Aerial View

Aerial View of Senter Road




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Hold onto your hardhats! Studio E Architects has 8 projects currently under construction.



With 8 projects currently under construction (a new Studio E record!), we are putting our  hardhats and construction vests to good use this summer.  These projects range from multifamily housing (affordable, senior, and market rate) to renovations of historic buildings, to bay-side public and commercial spaces.  We are logging the miles as well – the list includes sites in Imperial Beach, Lemon Grove, Chula Vista and San Jose…  Stay tuned by following us here on our blog, Facebook,  and Instagram for updates on each of these projects as they get closer to completion!

Pictured from top left to bottom right: 30th and Broadway, Bikeway Village, Talmadge Gateway, Hotel Churchill, The Metropolitan, The Commons at the Metropolitan, Pack Lofts, Villa del Oro, and Celsius.

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A Small Survey of Small (and Cool) Dwellings – Part 2 of 3 | LOCATION

Back in April we started a series on micro-units – which as a topic have been popping up all over the media. As urban housing becomes more and more costly in metropoles around the country and across the globe – increased interest is being paid to solutions that emphasize compactness and efficiency.  Our own research into the topic (and experiments in designing small units) led us to ask  – “Who were the people living in these small spaces and what were there motivations in so doing?” In Part One we presented 3 tiny dwellings whose occupants were choosing to go small based upon notions of paring down and keeping it simple. Here we offer 3 more (past and present) examples of micro flats that stress the importance of location.


[1] Gustave’s Getaway

The old real estate adage that the three most important facts about any home are location, location and location couldn’t be truer than this one-of-a-kind Room with a View. Perched at around 1000 feet above the river below – Gustave Eiffel built a small but cozy perch in his eponymous tower in Paris.

If you lived here, you’d be home now.



Gustave’s Nest – a view from every room… and what a view!



Too many drop-in guests? Not a frequent a concern at 1,000 feet above the city.



Interior of Eiffel’s Apartment – patterned wallpaper, chintz, and antimacassars can’t disguise the dramatic structure.


GE 1

Would you expect anything less from the World’s Most Interesting Man?

Eiffel frequently invited VIPs to enjoy the view and sip a cognac in his magnificent mini-manse located on the third level of the world wonder. Although tiny by most standards – it was large enough to accommodate a small grand piano.  As small apartments go – this location is pretty hard to top…pun intended.  To read more click here.


[2] The Egg

More properly called the Exbury Egg is the unique creation of British artist Stephen Turner. This floating pod rests comfortably on its moorings in the Beaulieu River in Southern England opposite the Isle of Wight.


The Exbury Egg – floating micro-flat



Welcome home! (and mind your head on the doorway)

Location in this instance is entirely changeable and subject only to the whims of the inhabitant (and the tides). Large enough to accommodate a bed, a desk and a small stove as well as a “necessary” the Egg offers all the comforts of home.


Interior of the Egg – beautiful wood craftsmanship!


exbury egg plan

Floor Plan of the Egg – like the cabin on a boat… all the daily functions are accounted for.



Was this the true inspiration for the Exbury Egg?

The artist claims that the work is partly inspired by the dilemma of global warming and the shifting coastlines. Turner also touts the pod’s “greenness”  and light touch on the land…in this case – no touch at all. To learn more click here.


[3] The Architect who Lived On-Site

Commonly called the Honeymoon Cottage – it could also be rightly referred to as the job trailer.


324 SF of nuptial bliss – the cottage was the first home ( / construction office) of Mr. and Mrs. Jefferson


floopln 1 label

Floorplan of the Final Version of Monticello. The cottage was Phase I.


jb trlr

Common modern job trailer – no charm or romance here…

Before Thomas Jefferson was the Third President of the United States or the Governor of Virginia (or founder of the University of Virginia – WAHOOWA!) he was a planter and newlywed with grand ambitions to build a model plantation.  His head filled with neoclassical inspiration from his studies of Vitruvius and Palladio – Jefferson persuaded his bride to live on-site in this hastily but soundly built 324 square foot pavilion at Monticello.

Martha Washington

The Lovely and Talented Martha Jefferson – who cheerfully tolerated the din and dust surrounding her 18th Century micro-flat.



Monticello 2.0 – TJ radically remodeled the original house following his stint as Ambassador to France

TJ and Martha lived here (apparently happily) beginning on New Year’s Day in 1772 – and supervised construction until larger quarters in the main house (first version) were built.  To discover more about the cottage and the main house click here.


[4] A sneak peak at our latest micro-flat plan for a project on-the boards in Cupertino CA…

SEA mirco-unit - Stevens Creek

This micro-unit features a sleeping alcove and includes a private balcony.  Stay tuned for future development…


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UCLA Saxon Suites Published on ArchDaily!

Studio E Saxon Suites 4

We are thrilled to share with you that UCLA Saxon Suites has been published on Arch Daily!  Saxon Suites is an innovative model of renovated student housing and student commons space.

Studio E Saxon Suites 1

We were tasked with completely rebuilding and modernizing six existing buildings and creating a sense of community that was lacking. The existing residential buildings are three story walk ups containing 458 beds in 2-bedroom suite unit types with connecting bridges around courtyard spaces.

After stripping them to their studs, each residential building was provided with new roofing, plumbing, heating, electrical, lighting, sprinkler systems, alarm systems, structural upgrades, interior finishes, windows and exterior finishes.

Studio E Saxon Suites 5

The commons building is the new icon of the project with a strong visual presence to the rest of the campus. The building contains gathering spaces, study rooms, a conference room, offices and laundry facilities and hovers in a dramatic cantilever over poor soil from an earlier in-filled canyon that once crossed the site. The ground floor is open with lounge spaces and easy connections to outdoor gathering spaces. Its western side aligns on the plaza at the clearing and includes a projection wall for community movie night. Clad in a weathering steel rainscreen, the building channels all of its storm water to a celebrated retention basin at the building entry.

Studio E Saxon Suites 2

Saxon Suites is a LEED Platinum project and a model of sustainable reuse of existing buildings. Building envelopes at the renovated buildings were completely updated using rainscreen claddings, high-performance windows, permeable air barrier systems and extensive insulation. Mechanical systems were replaced with high-efficiency radiator units on a shared boiler. Window openings were tuned to their exposure with sunshades placed on vulnerable exposures. The new commons utilizes similar envelope measures and includes a very high efficiency heating and cooling system. The undersides of both levels are clad in reclaimed douglas fir planks sourced from demolished buildings.

Studio E Saxon Suites 12


Studio E Saxon Suites 8

The design team for Saxon Suites included Spurlock Landscape Architects (formerly Spurlock Poirier Landscape Architecture), KPFF Structural and Civil Engineers, Michael Wall Electrical Engineers, Stantec for mechanical and plumbing engineering, Gaia for LEED certification, RJA for code and fire and life safety and Newsom Design for environmental graphics. The General Contractor was Icon West.

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Celadon Wins Big!

Celedon Exteriors

View of NW corner at 9th Ave and Broadway intersection | Photography by Stephen Whalen Photography

We are excited to announce that Celadon at 9th & Broadway has received the inaugural Urban Model for Healthy Living Award from the San Diego-Tijuana Urban Land Institute (ULI)!  This award acknowledges that Celadon supports public health as an essential aspect of thriving communities and good design.

Turner Celadon Interiors

One of Many Outdoor Spaces for Tenants to Enjoy | Photography by Stephen Whalen Photography

Celadon provides affordable housing in downtown San Diego for seniors, the adult service workforce, and at-risk youth transitioning from homelessness.  The high-rise affordable tower is an innovative model for sustainable and affordable architecture in an urban context.  Designed for BRIDGE Housing, Celadon was completed in association with SVA Architects.  Learn more about Celadon here and here.


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Hotel Churchill’s Sign Is Reinstalled

Churchill Sign 1

Construction at Hotel Churchill is coming along!  The historic hotel in downtown San Diego is scheduled to open its doors this summer and will provide housing for homeless veterans, youth who are aging out of the foster care system, and adults in need of additional support services.

Check out the great before and after pieces of this iconic sign in the San Diego Union Tribune!




Churchill Sign

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High Tech Elementary – school’s out for the summer [well. almost.]

High Tech Elementary in Point Loma at Liberty Station is wrapping up its first year in its new(ish) facility. High Tech Elementary Building 271 is located on the site of an existing former military athletic facility located at the corner Cushing Road and Farragut Road. Portions of the existing structure were incorporated by varying degrees into the military facility turned elementary school.


The 61,000 sf project  includes 18 classrooms, and accessory uses such as physical education areas, a large multipurpose room and school administrative offices. The classrooms are separated by mobile walls, allowing teachers to utilize both small group and large group learning experiences.  These flexible classrooms surround a two-story light-filled atrium which is the central gathering space for the school.



The public charter school serves 420 students from kindergarten to fifth grade and complements the other schools owned and operated by High Tech  High within Liberty Station.


All photos © Jim Brady

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A Small Survey of Small (and Cool) Dwellings – Part 1 of 3 | SIMPLICITY

Petite apartments are nothing new – despite the recent buzz. Whether you call them a mini-flat or an efficiency, a bachelor apartment (Canada) a pied-a-terre or chambre-de-bonne (France) or micro unit – small one-room abodes have been around for a long time. What’s more   – they are not and have not been the last legitimate option for those just-getting-by at the edge of the economy – many notables have chosen to call these pint-sized pads their principal residence by choice rather than necessity.  Down-sized dwellers tend to have been incentivized by one of three motivations – Simplicity, Location or Thrift. This week we present 3 micro-units whose occupants were all about paring down and reveling in the essential.


[1] The cabin at Walden Pond

Henry David Thoreau left the comforts of Boston (such as they were in 1845) and managed to squeeze himself and his few essential possessions into an 10’ x 15’ shed. It boasted a bed, a writing desk, a few chairs (he occasionally had visitors), a warm fire, a chest for clothes and sundries and wall pegs for everything else. His two year experiment in simple living inspired his famous reflection Walden: Life in the Woods. His stated goal was “…to live deliberately…to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life – to live deep.” Lofty stuff, right?  Learn more about this chaste little cabin here !

Walden Pond Cabin

Interior of Walden Pond Cabin – 150 square feet of Spartan comfort! (wonder what he kept in the earthenware growler?)


Henry's Hideaway

Henry’s Hideaway – hey, it’s cold out there…somebody please shut the door!)


HDT pic

Was Hank the godfather of the Tiny House Movement?



[2] The Maid’s Closet

Kitoko Studio architects transformed an 8-square-meter maid’s room into a very compact yet highly livable studio apartment with the addition of a large built-in cabinet that conceals a bed, stairs, storage, a closet and a dining table with chairs. The Paris based firm claims that this puzzle of a place was inspired by the Swiss Army knife – storage, stairs, tables and doors slip, slide, fold and deploy from a crafty storage wall along one side of the 5th floor walk-up. Clearly the inhabitant of such a studio would be obliged to make some difficult choices about what was “necessary”…and what could remain at mom’s house.  Learn more about this tiny nest here !

the maid's closet

Birds-eye view of the 86 square foot attic-story apartment in central Paris – note the interior window that allows daylight into the bathroom…nice!


Maids closet combined

Pull out steps offer storage and access to the “loft”. Desk/table pulls out with stools hung below. Bathroom is discretely tucked beside the “kitchen”.



[3] The White Retreat

This is one of those living spaces that look like they were specifically designed to shame the rest of us. This is really pared down living. Stuff? Who needs it? Designed by Colombo and Serboli as a second “home” for an art historian/curator – the uber-chic studio is an essay on less is more. Floors, walls, ceilings  and furnishings are all part of the swirling white-out. The bathroom and kitchen are gathered at one end of the space – both can suddenly disappear in a wink behind folding/sliding panels…leaving one alone to again contemplate the meaning of white (See Chapter 42 of Moby Dick).  Learn more about the White Retreat here !

white retreat

Kitchen disappears behind folding panel. Bathroom can be closed by way of a pocket door. Then it’s back to yoga studio or art gallery…you decide.



The small apartment benefits from access to a terrace – dining al fresco avoids messy spills and crumbs on the pristine floor!



Who needs wall hangings and furniture when this is right outside your door – The retreat is located here in Sitges, Spain – on the coast near Barcelona.



E Architects is currently thinking big on a project for small units on a site in “downtown” Avalon on beautiful Santa Catalina Island.

Affordable studios for island service workers…all within walking distance of jobs in the heart of town.

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Parkside Studios in the News


Parkside has been feeling the love lately with TWO publications in the past month!  Take a look, and let us know what you think!

Read about Parkside Studios in Dwell

Read about Parkside Studios in San Diego Magazine

Read about Parkside Studios in the Studio E Journal




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John Sheehan invited to join board of Love Your Lunchbox


Love your Lunchbox (LYL) is a San Diego based non-profit whose mission is to provide basic nutrition education to those facing the realities of a limited food budget. Additionally, LYL supports those most in need by facilitating the delivery of foods from the local food bank’s mobile pantry. Educational outreach happens in the places where the at-risk population lives – namely affordable housing communities throughout San Diego County. (Some of which have been designed by Studio E Architects).

Paseo Pointe_Community room

Paseo Pointe Commons Room – Paseo Pointe is a 69 unit affordable housing development designed for affirmed Housing is Vista CA. The Commons room hosts regular social events including LYL “Meet and Eats”.


Paseo Pointe Entry & Residential Outdoor Walkway

Programs range from the distribution of free copies of the cookbook Good and Cheap by Leane Brown as well as  cooking classes and educationally based social events focusing on the unique diet challenges  of the low-income population.




Access to and education about healthy food choices is an ongoing issue in many disadvantaged communities. Additionally, food inequality, food waste and childhood diabetes are all hot topics in the media and in the legislatures. Love Your Lunchbox aims to influence both thinking and policy on this critical topic. John joined the newly formed board of directors in October. Interested in supporting LYL? You  are invited to go here to make an online tax-deductible contribution or offer your time at an upcoming event.

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