Launch Slideshow

r3, san diego

custom / 3,500 square feet or less / merit

r3, san diego

custom / 3,500 square feet or less / merit

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    Harrison Photographic

    Outside, the oiled Douglas fir cladding is meant to evoke the memory and beauty of the wood formwork used to make the concrete walls—what Russell calls "handmade modernism."

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    Harrison Photographic

    Snazzy interiors, which feature walls of standard masonry colors laid in a random pattern, hold their own against the building’s extreme surroundings.

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    Harrison Photographic

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    Lloyd Russell, Architect

lloyd russell, architect, san diego

Lloyd Russell, AIA, was thinking of New York City's Flatiron Building when he decided to tackle this weird triangular lot, just 2,000 or so feet from a San Diego International Airport runway and next to one of the city's busiest thoroughfares. “The site was so extreme, I don't think anyone believed you could build something there,” Russell says.

What evolved is a compositionally rich building that mitigates noise, thanks to random-patterned concrete perimeter walls, commercial-grade double-glazed windows, and deep overhangs that shield the windows from refracting sound waves. Inside, not knowing how livable it would be, Russell hedged his bets by building and wiring for multiple uses. He lives on the second floor, which includes an expandable mezzanine with separate entrance, and rents out retail space on the first floor.

The jury praised the creative transformation of an urban throwaway site. Said one judge: “It's really well-edited and pictographic.”

principal in charge / project architect / developer / general contractor / interior designer: Lloyd Russell, AIA, Lloyd Russell, Architect
project size: 2,989 square feet
site size: 0.38 acre
construction cost: $200 per square foot
units in project: 2 to 3
photography: Harrison Photographic