Celadon at 9th & Broadway celebrates Grand Opening!

Celedon Exteriors

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

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.

Turner Celadon Interiors

Celadon Lobby | Photography by Stephen Whalen Photography

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 Extewriors

View from SW of Celadon with vertical photo-voltaic array | Photography by Stephen Whalen Photography

Tilted bay windows | Photography by Stephen Whalen Photography

Tilted bay window detail | Photography by Stephen Whalen Photography

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.

Turner Celadon Interiors

View of a typical living unit | Photography by Stephen Whalen Photography

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.

Seminar Room at Level 5 | Photography by Stephen Whalen Photography

Seminar Room at Level 5 | Photography by Stephen Whalen Photography

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.

Turner Celadon Interiors

View of ground level courtyard | Photography by Stephen Whalen Photography

Turner Celadon Interiors

View of level 5 terrace | Photography by Stephen Whalen Photography

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.

Posted in Affordable Housing, Architecture, Design, LEED, Micro-Units, Mixed-Use, SRO | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Construction is Underway for Building 271!

Before After ImageConstruction is progressing for High Tech High Building 271 in Point Loma at Liberty Station!  High Tech High Building 271 is a proposed elementary school on the site of an existing former military athletic facility located at the corner Cushing Road and Farragut Road. Portions of the existing structure will be incorporated by varying degrees into the proposed renovation project.

Pool 1 - Pile Testing

Pile Testing – the existing piles that were part of the former pool and basement structure were tested before being incorporated into the new construction


Pool 2

The new structural system is incorporated into the former pool!

The 61,000 sf project  will be accomplished in a single phase and will include 18 classrooms, and accessory uses such as physical education areas, a multipurpose room and school administrative offices. The classrooms will surround a two-story light-filled atrium which will be a central gathering space for the school.


Glulam beams are being installed in the school’s Central Building


The skylit atrium

The public charter school will serve 420 students from kindergarten to fifth grade and will complement the other schools owned and operated by High Tech  High within Liberty Station.  High Tech High Building 271 is expected to open its doors in the fall of 2015, so stay tuned for updates on its construction and opening!


The former gymnasium is being transformed into a multipurpose space.

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School is in session at High Tech Elementary North County


View of the corridor with colored lightboxes at each classroom entry

Studio E Architects is excited to share with you the completed High Tech Elementary North County.  Construction began in January of 2013, and its completion in time for school in Fall 2014 also marks completion of the master plan for the entire San Marcos campus.  The elementary school employs similar design strategies and material palettes as its Studio E-designed neighbors, High Tech High and High Tech Middle North County so that the three schools generate one cohesive campus.


View of the elementary school and play area

The 31,500 square foot school educates around 300 students and is fully equipped with distinctive classrooms, administrative spaces, and a Commons which opens directly onto a large playground. The project also adds student gardens and an outdoor classroom to the campus’s wealth of student and faculty amenities.


View of the Commons opening to the play area

The building design supports the unique education methods of High Tech, encouraging curious and engaged students and teachers. With movable classroom walls and transparent windows, students can work in small groups or large groups and students (and adults) can see and be inspired by one another’s work.


Visual connection into the classrooms

Similar to High Tech High and Middle School, the new elementary school places value in sustainability and is slated to achieve a LEED Silver rating from the USGBC .  Not only does the project maintain a high environmental standard, but it achieved it affordably – the construction cost for High Tech Elementary was $8.75 million.


View from the elementary of the other campus buildings

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Studio E Architects unveils Mesa Commons Apartments

Studio E Architects is happy to announce that construction on Mesa Commons – our 78-unit affordable family housing project in San Diego’s College Area community – is now complete!


Community building at Mesa Commons projects a contemporary presence on adjoining El Cajon Boulevard.

Featuring a mix of two- and three-story buildings on El Cajon Boulevard near San Diego State University, Mesa Commons enlivens a long-vacant 4.08 acre parcel along the Boulevard’s edge and provides much-needed affordable housing for families in Mid-City San Diego. The community serves large families making between 30 and 60 percent of area median income – the equivalent of $24,200 to $48,360 per year for a household of four – with monthly rents varying from $542 to $1,253 depending on applicant income, household size, and apartment square footage.


Crisp lines and an artful materials palette inform the architectural character of Mesa Commons.

With façades of alternating horizontal and vertical masses, an artfully-varied materials palette, and low-sloping roofs behind crisp parapets, Mesa Commons projects a warm, contemporary-urban feel to the street. The project provides a point of transition between the commercial & retail development along El Cajon Boulevard and the older single-family residential neighborhoods to the north and west of the site. As such, the project’s site design takes care to reduce and humanize the perimeter building scale, and conceal parking from view.

Site Plan of Mesa Commons, San Diego

Site design of Mesa Commons was conceived to create distinct people-centric spaces and conceal parking.

Within the site boundaries, the development’s thirteen residential buildings were arranged to create a system of connected open spaces to encourage resident circulation and invite users to enjoy the project’s common areas and amenities. These include a fitness center, computer room, picnic areas and tot lots on-site. Off-site, the list of amenities continues – as Mesa Commons boasts a prime location just a short walk from the College Area’s wealth of shopping, restaurants, and public parks.


Buildings of flats & walk-ups are oriented to form spaces for resident enjoyment at Mesa Commons.

At Studio E Architects, all of our projects begin with sustainability as a guiding principle, and Mesa Commons is no exception to the rule. The project was designed to conform to GreenPoint Rated Multifamily Guidelines, incorporating such features as: a photovoltaic system designed to offset 50% of the project’s energy consumption; Energy Star appliances; water-saving plumbing fixtures; fluorescent lighting, energy-efficient windows with low-E glazing; a “cool” roof; and low VOC, formaldehyde-free, & recycled construction materials. These measures combine to create a community that exceeds California Title 24 performance requirements by a projected 25%.


Picnic area and play court for residents at Mesa Commons.

For more on Mesa Commons, click here. For leasing information, contact client Palm Communities at 866-936-6569 or complete the interest form found here.

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Doing the Right Thing – Studio E Architects Sponsors Student Designer in Humanitarian Project.



Preliminary Program Collage


We are excited to share with you the powerful work of our sponsored student designer, Jessica Kuhlman.  Jessica is a 5th year architecture student at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo who is partnering with Journeyman International on her thesis project.


Jessica Pic

Jessica with some of the kiddos of La Yaguita who attend Hogar del Crecimiento


Journeyman International pairs senior architecture students with local and global humanitarian organizations, providing pro bono design to under-served communities.  Jessica’s thesis project will serve the impoverished community of La Yaguita in the Dominican Republic by offering them a new and empowering place of worship and a safe space for children to play. This project proposes a new chapel and playground for the neighborhood preschool called Hogar del Crecimiento.


JI_program with water color

Proposed Program Diagram


Hogar del Crecimiento serves as a small preschool and homework area to give children a safe place to study and play while their parents are at work.  Children receive at least three lunches per week and are referred to Hogar del Crecimiento by the public school’s principal, who meets with the school leadership on a monthly basis. Together, they coordinate strategies for helping children achieve greater academic success in the public schools. While attending the homework help session, students often achieve in one semester what normally takes a full year in the public school.  Jessica’s project will provide Hogar del Crecimiento with a new playground and chapel facility.


parti diagram and interior 2

Interior Rendering and Site Diagrams




Site Section – existing facilities with proposed playground and chapel


Studio E Architects is eager to support organizations like Journeyman International and young designers like Jessica  – so that good design is impacting neglected places and people. Together with KPFF Engineering (our co-sponsors), we congratulate Jessica on her dedication to serving those in need with her time and talents! We look forward to seeing the impact this project will have in La Yaguita!

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#TBT Imperial Beach Pier Plaza

Imperial Beach Plaza Pier

Imperial Beach Plaza Pier

This project (completed for the San Diego Unified Port District on behalf of the City of IB) involved three public workshops held on-site. Our Co-designers were Spurlock Poirier Landscape Architects. The explicitly stated request of the City was to create “the postcard image of Imperial Beach” – a place that all her citizen’s would be proud to bring out-of-town guests and visitors.

The project was honored in 1999 with an Award of Excellence from the San Diego Chapter of The American Society of Civil Engineers and in 2000 with an Award for Outstanding Planning from the San Diego American Planning Association and a Design Excellence Award from the AIA San Diego .

Views of the Pier Plaza and Safety Center (Imperial Beach, California Lifeguard HQ) appeared in the background in the 2013 film Act of Valor.

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Macro Views on Micro: ULI Report & Parkside Studios Progress

A recent report published by the Urban Land Institute – entitled “The Macro View on Micro Units” – suggests that, although small in terms of square feet, micro units fall neatly in stride with the needs and desires of a growing segment of the urban housing marketplace, and should endure as a viable urban housing type for the long run.


Research shows that micro units – like those at Archer Studios, above – are more than just a passing fad.

Drawn from an impressive analysis of hundreds of recently-built rental apartment communities, including the findings from an extensive survey of renters of both conventional apartments and micro units – as well as case studies of existing and planned micro unit communities – the report’s 46 pages can be reduced to this: Micro units appeal to single urban dwellers of limited means, in high-cost markets, who don’t own a lot of “stuff” and are willing to trade some personal space for improved affordability, proximity to downtown neighborhoods, and access to shared spaces and amenities.


Roger K. Lewis for The Washington Post

Of course the report’s authors could have saved themselves the trouble of all that research had they consulted these humble pages – as we at Studio E Architects have been treading this ground for quite some time! Beyond the blogosphere, we’re also fortunate to have several projects under construction or on the boards that feature micro-units, and are thrilled to see these ideas taking shape in real form.


Overhead view of Parkside Studios – Sunnyvale, California. Studio E Architects for Charities Housing

Parkside Studios – our 58-unit, affordable micro apartment development in the City of Sunnyvale for Charities Housing – is one such community, and is also notable as one of the first affordable housing projects to utilize modular construction in northern California. The project will be completed in the second quarter of 2015. Check out the video below to see the pre-fabricated micro units being craned into position for final assembly.


Parkside Studios construction progress video. Charities Housing, Developer.

In our research for these communities, we continue to discover others who are involved in the same pursuit – with oftentimes wildly different sets of budget and spatial constraints. For example – with an average unit size of 372 square feet, Parkside Studio’s micro units dwarf that of the Keret House in Warsaw, Poland – which contains a mere 46 square feet of living space!


At left, Keter House Streetfront elevation – Andreas Meichsner for the New York Times.                                          At right, section view of Keter House – Jakub Szczesny, for Centrala

Designed by architect Jakub Szczesny, the Keret House is the thinnest dwelling in the world, at a shockingly narrow five feet wide. Click here to learn more about the project and enjoy more photos (and a cool animation).


Entry to the Keter House is through the floor – Andreas Meichsner for The New York Times

What are your thoughts? How much personal space would you be willing to sacrifice for a prime location in your favorite city? How small is too small, and what couldn’t you live without? Let us know how you feel in the comments section below, and stay tuned to this space for more!

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Meet the Intern!


Desiree Wismer Age: 21 Hometown: Risch, Switzerland School: Gewerbliche industrielles Bildungszentrum Zug

Name: Désirée Wismer

Age: 21

Hometown: Risch, Switzerland

School Soon to Attend: Gewerbliche industrielles Bildungszentrum Zug

Why am I studying Architecture?

I have always been a creative person in many different areas. Five years ago I started my apprenticeship as a draftsperson and since then I like to see how the things I draw develop.. especially if you could be the one who decide how it should look.

My architect hero?

To be honest I’ve never thought about it. I think I will find her/him soon.

Central Library

Photo courtesy of Darren Bradley http://darrenbradleyphotography.com/Public


My two favorite buildings?

One of these buildings would be the Central Library in San Diego. In this moment in which you enter there immediately you want to start to study something. It is huge and it has a lot of cozy places to stay longer. But, what I like the most is the view from the 9th floor to the Coronado bridge.

Another one I just visited is the Salk Institute. In one word it is breathtaking. The location is absolutely perfect.


Photo courtesy of Darren Bradley. http://darrenbradleyphotography.com/Public


Favorite food:

This is a hard question. I actually I love all food, but if I had to decide I would pick a delicious fish and some vegetables.

Calvin Harris and John Newman

Image courtesy of http://www.edmtunes.com/2014/08/calvin-harris-blame-feat-john-newman/


Top songs on my mp3 player? 

Waves  – Mr Probs and Blame – Calvin Harris and John Newman. These songs will always remind me of my six months in San Diego.



Image courtesy of http://communitytable.com/272307/viannguyen/treehouse-masters-pete-nelson-5-things-every-beginning-builder-must-know/


If I could live inside a work of art, I would choose…

I think this would be a fancy treehouse which is huge and high up in the trees so you can see as far as possible.

Secret ambition?

An Ambition of mine is to draw and realize my own home someday. I think my talent is to play volleyball. I’m a passionate volleyball player. It’s a good way to find a balance between work and school and I think I’m pretty good at it.


Image courtesy of http://www.luxetravel.com/destinations/united-states/california/southern-california/



Favorite San Diego experience?

All around living in San Diego especially trying out surfing with my friends – lying on the board and the feeling yourself catch a wave – amazing! Also, to have this interesting experience by Studio E. – Thank you.

What’s next?

In Switzerland, after we finish an apprenticeship we have to go to school for one year. I will do that, so I can go to college.


Map of Risch, Switzerland

Image courtesy of Google Maps. Map of Risch, Switzerland


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Meet the Intern!


Name: Ludovica Frezza Age: 25 Hometown: Senigallia, Italy School: Politecnico di Milano


Name: Ludovica Frezza

Age: 25

Hometown: Senigallia, Italy

School: Politecnico di Milano


Why am I studying Architecture?

After high school I was quite confused…I thought to enroll at “Accademia di Belle Arti” (School of Fine Arts), but then I realized Architecture School would have given me something more, or maybe would have just been more challenging. What I like the most is that architecture requires many abilities and involves many spheres: the architect is not a technician, since what is at stake requires much more than technical skills, at the same time it’s not just about creativity…


Photo courtesy of http://www.artfilm.org/Art/arch-kahn.htm

Photo courtesy of http://www.artfilm.org/Art/arch-kahn.htm

My architect hero?

Louis Kahn. I love the monumentality of his projects, his spatial conception, his drawings and the idea that also the material could have its own soul.

Image courtesy of http://www.mimoa.eu/projects/Spain/Vitoria-Gasteiz/Archaeological%20Museum%20of%20Vitoria

Image courtesy of http://www.mimoa.eu/projects/Spain/Vitoria-Gasteiz/Archaeological%20Museum%20of%20Vitoria

My two favorite buildings?

Two years ago I visited the Salk Institute for the first time: the pictures on my history book were great, but not even comparable to the actual building! The project and the location are both amazing! I also like the Archeology Museum of Vitoria-Gasteiz (Basque Country) designed by Francisco Mangado; it looks like a dark box from the outside but the internal space is really cool: witty and essential.

Photo courtesy of http://ricettele.overblog.com/pasta-con-i-frutti-di-mare-una-bonta-partenopea

Photo courtesy of http://ricettele.overblog.com/pasta-con-i-frutti-di-mare-una-bonta-partenopea

Favorite food:

I love eating, so probably this could be the most difficult question… I was born and grew up on the Adriatic coast so I definitely like fish and, even if it’s a bit obvious, I also love pasta… so probably my favorite dish is “tagliatelle ai frutti di mare”.

Top songs on my mp3 player? 

Flight Facilities – Two Bodies, C2C – Delta,  Daft Punk – Derezzed, Gramatik – While I was playin’ fair

Image courtesy of http://www.artcyclopedia.com/artists/klee_paul.html

Image courtesy of http://www.artcyclopedia.com/artists/klee_paul.html

If I could live inside a work of art, I would choose…

I would live in one of the surrealist ancient cities drew by Paul Klee.

Secret ambition?

Designing something different from a building, like a clothing line or furniture line…

Photo courtesy of http://www.meetup.com/www-namasteveyoga-com/

Photo courtesy of http://www.meetup.com/www-namasteveyoga-com/

Favorite San Diego experience?

I really love doing waterfront yoga in Pacific Beach!!I I believe Yoga is a great practice for a person’s well-being and San Diego offers the amazing opportunity to do it in the weekend looking at the ocean.

What’s next?

This experience is making me grow a lot, but I’m aware that sooner or later it will end… the next step will be finding a more stable position, who knows where?

map of italy

Google map of Senigallia, Italy


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Meet the Intern!

Meet the Intern_Torsten

Name: Torsten Kjær Ravn Age: 28 Hometown: Copenhagen, Denmark School: The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts – School of Architecture


Name: Torsten Kjær Ravn

Age: 28

Hometown: Copenhagen, Denmark

School: The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts – School of Architecture

The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. Image courtesy of  http://www.kunstakademiet.dk/en/

The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. Image courtesy of http://www.kunstakademiet.dk/en/


Why am I studying Architecture?

I have always liked producing stuff. All kinds of stuff: music, words, photos, images, drawings, furniture, stupid ideas etc. And I have always been aware of what surrounds me. Architecture is somehow a perfect combination of my natural interests: To produce and invent spaces.


Louis Kahn. Image courtesy of  http://niels85.wordpress.com/2012/03/11/architecture-and-film-part-2-my-architect-2003-the-secret-life-of-louis-kahn/

Louis Kahn. Image courtesy of http://niels85.wordpress.com/2012/03/11/architecture-and-film-part-2-my-architect-2003-the-secret-life-of-louis-kahn/


My architect hero?

No one in particular. But Louis Kahn is not bad at all. His work always presents perfectly scaled shapes and the beauty of honest and logical use of materials.


The Playhouse in Copenhagen by Lundgaard & Tranberg.  Photo courtesy of http://www.photographyserved.com/Gallery/The-Copenhagen-Waterfront-at-Night/318045

The Playhouse in Copenhagen by Lundgaard & Tranberg. Photo courtesy of http://www.photographyserved.com/Gallery/The-Copenhagen-Waterfront-at-Night/318045


My two favorite buildings?

Tough call. But I guess San Diego has one of them: Salk Institute.

The other one could be: The Playhouse in Copenhagen by Lundgaard & Tranberg.


Fish Tacos. Photo courtesy of http://www.hitherandthither.net/2013/08/my-favorite-fast-food-baja-style-fish-tacos.html

Fish Tacos. Photo courtesy of http://www.hitherandthither.net/2013/08/my-favorite-fast-food-baja-style-fish-tacos.html


Favorite food ?

Fish tacos! …at El Pulpo. I miss it!!


Top songs on my mp3 player?

  1. Remorse Code – Richard Hawley
  2. In Reverse – The War On Drugs
  3. Most Of The Time – Bob Dylan


2001 Space Odyssey. Image courtesy of http://stupiddope.com/2014/10/23/2001-space-odyssey-trailer/

2001 Space Odyssey. Image courtesy of http://stupiddope.com/2014/10/23/2001-space-odyssey-trailer/


If I could live inside a work of art, I would choose…

I don’t know if it qualifies, but the rotating space station in ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’. That’s got to be memorable! Right now I’m really fascinated by space movies. And no one comes close to being as brilliant as ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’.


Secret ambition?

To release an album together with the band I’m playing in. And – some day – build my own wooden house.


Mt. Soledad. Image courtesy of http://101thingstodosw.com/san-diego/mt-soledad/

Mt. Soledad. Image courtesy of http://101thingstodosw.com/san-diego/mt-soledad/


Favorite San Diego experience?

Watching the sunset from Mt. Soledad Cross. And the time I spent with you guys at Studio E!


What’s next?

To find a job in Copenhagen… and release an album. I did find a job, and I’m working on the album…


Map of Copenhagen. Image courtesy of Google.

Map of Copenhagen. Image courtesy of Google.

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