Architect: Sebastian Mariscal Studio
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Designer & Builder: Sebastian Mariscal Studio
Design Team: Sebastian Mariscal & Dominique Houriet
Structural Engineering: Omar Mobayed
Project Area: 472 sqm
Project year: 2006
Photographs: Hisao Suzuki
Small urban infill projects such as ‘On Grape’ add diversity to the city; providing contrast and scale to the multitude of whole city block buildings that are being constructed in San Diego during its current state of fast-paced redevelopment.
A project of this nature comes with a host of inconveniences that become a challenge in not only design, but also construction, including: small lot size, busy streets, zero setbacks from property lines, and a complete lack of space for construction storage and scaffolding. The initial approach for ‘On Grape’ was to subdivide the land into two parcels producing two single-family residences that maximize the enclosed, narrow, and linear space. The main goal was to maintain an interior-exterior connection in design while creating a spacious and quiet living environment in the city. To do so, the design focused on the planes of space throughout the project, and was achieved by constructing continuous spaces horizontally from one property line to the other and keeping the interior void open vertically to the sky.
Within the urban context, the building exists as dual volumes separated by an interior courtyard of bamboo and light. The wood frame structure receives a floating exterior skin of engineered stone and COR-TEN steel that is separated by an internal air chamber, providing thermal and acoustic insulation. Spatially, the residences offer a quiet respite within the city core. Materially, the dark stone, the steel and the IPE wood accentuate the diverse urban fabric of San Diego.