Concrete Masonry in the Urban Enviornment 

  Concrete Masonry and the Urban Home: K Lofts  

K Lofts is urban adaptive reuse, affordable and sustainable for rent housing. It was designed with a participatory design process, creating positive connections between and among residents, community stakeholders, local government officials, and civic groups. The design outcome provides a building and public and private spaces that enhance human scale, and further promote social interaction, shared use of space, defensible space to help revitalize this deteriorating community, while at the same time enhancing the community’s physical fabric. The project was built at a cost of $82 per square foot, and utilized no governmental subsidy. K Lofts is a collection of simplistic architectural forms collaged to create a nine-unit loft building on a nine thousand square-foot urban property in the Golden Hill area of downtown San Diego. The former concrete masonry structure, Circle K convenience store and gas station, were saved and integrated into the new design to minimize the deconstruction and make adaptive reuse of the existing building. The modern building integrates urban living environments for a mixture of very low income (50% of median income), affordable, and market-rate rental units with each unit containing large private outdoor spaces and oversize glazing. The sustainable project provides 50% renewable electricity. The architect/developer worked closely with the community for nine months to ensure a project that is well received by the neighborhood and provides much needed affordable housing in San Diego. Concrete masonry was utilized to provide a strong contrasting base for the building. The masonry also provides a durable interior surface and interior sound isolation material for rentals. In addition, the masonry helps eliminate grade-level rot in walls and the need for wall flashing.


AIA California Council & CMACN Design Award Jury Comments: This project is notable for making a strong statement in its neighborhood while integrating it into the community context. The jury liked how the design is broken into simple orthogonal masses reflective of, but not mimicking, the scale and character of the neighborhood. The project reused the existing building on the site and created protected outdoor spaces to promote more neighborly interaction. Concrete masonry was used successfully on this project both as a base and as the interior finish. The variety of textures and materials is interesting and the colors, though strong, are not overdone.

This project was awarded the Merit Award in the Residential Design Category.



Project: K Lofts, SAN DIEGO, CA
Architect, Owner & General Contractor: Jonathan Segal, FAIA, San Diego, CA Structural Engineer: Moybayed Consulting Group
Masonry Contractor: Markey Masonry
Block Producer: RCP Block & Brick, Inc.