jonathan segal, faia, la jolla, calif.

Art and architecture intersect at the Titan, a 22-unit apartment building in San Diego. Jonathan Segal, FAIA, conceived the building's two-part facade after viewing the abstract planes of a Richard Diebenkorn painting. "It's incredibly brilliant," said a judge. "The scale, proportions, and materials are beautiful."

Segal, also the project's developer and general contractor, was operating on a limited budget. He used simple, straightforward floor plans and minimal detailing to keep costs down, focusing his funding on the front of the four-story building. Sheets of rusted steel cover the horizontal portion, and the vertical component consists mainly of laminated glass. "The intention was to collage the two boxes, which are sitting on a stucco base," he says. "The forms are very simple; there was nothing elaborate about it."

Further cost-control measures include on-grade parking, as well as the absence of elevators and double-loaded corridors. The open-plan, 18-foot-ceilinged apartments, all with mezzanine levels except for one four-story unit, are renting to 25-to-35-year-old singles and couples. Not only do the two-story volumes provide a quality-of-life advantage, but they also help distort noise from the freeway directly opposite the building.

principal in charge/project architect/land planner/developer/general contractor/interior designer: Jonathan Segal, FAIA
project size: 600 to 1,000 square feet per unit
site size: 0.2 acre
construction cost: $87 per square foot
rental price: $900 to $1900 per month
units in project: 22
photographer: Jimmy Fluker, except where noted