After months of steady progress, we at Studio E are proud to announce that Riverwalk – a 50-unit affordable family housing development built on a sliver parcel in south San Diego for Affirmed Housing Group – is now complete and is already garnering rave reviews.
Just a few months after the paint has dried and the residents have moved into their new homes, the project has been nominated for “Housing Project of the Year” in the San Diego Housing Federation’s 2012 Ruby Awards. The winner will be announced at a ceremony on Thursday, June 14, 2012 at the McMillin Events Center at NTC/Liberty Station.
The project makes the most of an extremely challenging site while addressing the fears of nervous neighbors. Fifty apartments in five buildings are carefully arranged along opposing banks of a small, seasonal creek. The formerly trash-filled creek was cleaned out, re-vegetated with native species, and re-purposed as a part of a linked community open space & walking trail. In addition to the creek, the site was severely encumbered by major utility easements and setbacks. The design team often compared this challenge to building a ship in a bottle.
The buildings were sculpted with dormers, bays, and balconies to reduce their bulk and create an appearance more sympathetic to nearby single family homes. Broad roof overhangs, timber trellises and horizontal lapped siding (Smartside by LP) add familiar layers of domesticity to the development.
A 1,800 square foot Commons building sits at the center of the complex, overlooking the creek. Its roof hosts a photovoltaic array that offsets the projects common area lighting demands. Inside, a kitchen and a computer area are provided for use by the residents. Riverwalk serves as a valuable case study in how to do a lot with very little.