Nominated by: Architects Orange
Location: San Diego, Calif.
Developer: HG Fenton Company
Architect: Architects Orange
General Contractor: Ledcor Group
Interior Designer: Robin Wilson Interior Design
Photographer: Chet Frohlich
Project Website: Vici Apartments
This seven-story, mixed-use project evokes the familial bonds, warmth and welcome that have permeated San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood for generations. The building employs contemporary architectural language to reflect the natural elements of the sea and the historic functions of the chic, pedestrian-friendly enclave. The 97-unit project resurrects an open, informal Old-World charm for a new generation, with flowing relationships between indoor and outdoor spaces. Originally a public right of way, a new public piazza is defined, gathering residents, neighbors and visitors to participate in community life. The project’s residential lobby flows from an interior courtyard out into the Piazza della Famiglia, celebrating the building’s landmark relationship to the neighborhood. The piazza is a key connection point that allows pedestrians to safely traverse between the busy Columbia and India streets, and is a key access point to the public parking structure located below the piazza. As the pedestrian moves around the building, an inviting series of commercial spaces seamlessly weave into the bustling street life. An historic façade has been preserved and restored on the east side, its transom windows uncovered to shed new light into a fresh genesis of retail concepts. The site’s gentle slope toward the sea allows the building to be terraced, with a second-level restaurant and outdoor lounge overlooking the waterfront. Five stories of luxury residences above the podium levels extend the project’s themes with large, operable windows, livable balconies and bay windows, which connect the interior environment with the ebb and flow of street life. Top floor lofts, and an expansive Skydeck with rooftop spa, provide open vistas and harbor views. A contextual planning approach and a sensitive, yet fearless, architectural vocabulary shape this project into the new cultural heart of Little Italy.