San Diego, California is the site of a new mixed-use building, located between the Hillcrest and University Heights parts of town at a site that sat barren and empty for ten years. Developed by Jonathan Segal Architect, the building is known as Park and Polk.

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A square shape building lit with lights from within set against a city

Park and Polk features 43 residential rental units, seven office studios, ground-floor retail spaces and four low-income units. In contrast to most buildings that offer low-income housing, there was no government support during the build. Instead, Jonathan Segal, being both the architect and developer of the project, absorbed all the costs upfront. 

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A woman standing on a balcony of an apartment unit

The space is a hub of varied activities and the infrastructure supports them all. Public spaces encourage mingling between office, retail and apartment residents. The rooftop features a large common area to prepare and BBQ food while taking in expansive views of the surrounding city. Huge concrete planters house native grasses and large olive trees that filter rainwater. 

Roof of the building with a red circle in the center

The overall shape of the building makes an “H” shape, a choice that allows natural light to fill each of the spaces inside. The copious windows also pairs indoor life with exterior views. Passive design elements provide natural ventilation, but the primary energy needs are fully offset by a solar panel system on the rooftop. Individual units also offer outdoor space with decks that allow for views while maintaining privacy. On the ground floor along Park Boulevard, trees line the street where the transition to the glazed commercial area, offering protected seating. 

Inside office space with chairs sitting on a rug with floor-to-ceiling windows

“The western elevation has thin delicate fins that provide lighting and heat control,” stated in a press release from Jonathan Segal. “When traveling up and down Park Boulevard, the articulating façade is rhythmically changing. Light romantically defines different shadows as the sun passes and the form, which can appear as a solid mass, breaks apart into the individual linear elements. The fins, modeled off of vintage car grilles, were delicately cast in place and taper from only three inches at the face to six inches where they bite into the slab cantilevering off of the building.”

+ Jonathan Segal Architect

Photography by Matthew Segal and Jeff Durkin