A decrepit textile manufacturers’ union hall was the raw material for a sustainable building that holds two affordable live/work units and an office. The 1970s slump block structure, now smartly clad in mild steel, is joined by three new stucco-covered volumes that sprout from two adjacent parking lots. Architect Jonathan Segal designed this compound for the ultimate amenity: freedom from the grid. Built without variances or subsidies, each of the 16 units generates its own electricity with roof-mounted photovoltaics. Other green features—as easy on the eye as they are on the earth—include abundant natural light in every room and private outdoor patios that provide ventilation while dissolving indoor-outdoor boundaries. The project’s scale and massing express individual ownership and blend with the surrounding buildings. Where some saw only an eyesore, Segal saw the opportunity to grandfather-in commercial use, save on demolition costs, and preserve a piece of the eclectic neighborhood.

CATEGORY: Green/Sustainable project;

Learn more about markets featured in this article: San Diego, CA.