Studio E Architects is pleased to announce the completion of Celadon, opening this Friday, May 1. Designed by Studio E, Celadon is an innovative model of high-rise affordable housing, offering a distinctive fusion of ultra-energy efficiency, award-winning aesthetics, and expansive community spaces on a tight urban infill site. The 130,000 square-foot mixed-use building is located at 929 9th Avenue at the intersection of Broadway in the heart of downtown San Diego.
Studio E was tasked with designing for a broad range of occupants to create a cohesive urban community as conceived by its developer, BRIDGE Housing. Comprised of 250 affordable micro-units, studios, and 1-bedroom homes for individuals and small families, Cealdon’s tenants include seniors, the adult service workforce, and at-risk youth transitioning from homelessness. Our collaborator on Celadon was SVA Architects, who implemented our design and served as the executive architect.
“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 fundamentals.”
The 17-story structure offers components that accommodate and support the residential population on multiple levels, while a main office – offering healthcare assessments, social and additional support services – is contained within one of the two ground floor commercial spaces that together total 6,200 SF.
Celadon’s five-story pedestal and basalt-clad façade integrate harmoniously with the long-standing pattern of historic five and six-story structures along Broadway. Its slim (44’x168’), twelve-story tower is positioned to allow abundant open space atop the pedestal. A glass gasket at the base of the tower “detaches” the two, augmenting the sense of openness and giving the appearance of the tower floating above the plinth.
In order to protect living units from the glare and solar heat gain that come with west-facing views in the late afternoon, Studio E integrated a sawtooth-pattern of tilted bays into the tower’s western façade. While shielding inhabitants from the low afternoon sun and directing views across San Diego bay to the ocean, the bays also increase the footprint of the living spaces within.
Celadon is designed to accommodate need with simple gestures. Its exposed concrete frame construction with glass and infill panels is indicative of its straightforward transparency. Uniquely devised as a simple grid of columns rising from an underground garage, there are no transfer beams or shifting of loads; its columns align all the way up through the tower – thus avoiding structural idiosyncrasies and saving expense.
In qualifying for LEED Silver Certification, Celadon’s design, functionality, and budget are all influenced by its ultra-efficient scheme, which includes an impressive 143-foot vertical PV array – one of the tallest in the U.S. – that folds at its base to form an awning over the terrace. Solar hot water panels arranged on an exposed steel framework above the upper terrace offset an estimated 50% of the entire building’s hot water needs while providing shading to the terrace below. The north-to-south corridor is open and breathable on both ends, encouraging utmost natural airflow.
Celadon’s expansive community spaces are another attribute that add to its distinction in both the urban environment and the affordable housing realm. Where a large community room spills out onto a comfortably-furnished courtyard at the ground level, dual-terraces nestled into the city skyline at Level 5 provide multiple community gardens and gathering spaces. To the north, the larger of the two terraces houses a BBQ and picnic area, while a seminar room opens onto a southern terrace that is shaded by the PV panel awning above and also features a pet play area. Another open terrace on the 15th floor offers sweeping views of the city to all residents. Eco-roofs are landscaped with drought-tolerant planting and community gardens, while cantilevered concrete planters hover over Broadway from the Level 5 terrace – serving as an indicator to the street of the energized atmosphere above.
Celadon has been recognized with a “2014 Builder’s Choice Design Award” by Builder Magazine, and a 2012 Gold Nugget Award of Merit by PCBC. The General Contractor for the project was Turner Construction.