Editor's Note: This story has been revised from its original version.

The concept called for a "dignified building that didn’t look like a homeless center,” says architect Joseph Wong, of Joseph Wong Design Associates in San Diego. The 12-story building—for which Wong was the architect of record for design architect AVRP Studios—sits on a .5-acre urban site in San Diego’s southwest district. The architects set out to "design a modern building to anchor that side of downtown and start a transformation,” he adds.

The program was both complicated and multifaceted as the client, Father Joe’s Villages, a nonprofit organization focused on affordable housing, needed one building to serve the needs of several groups. The first floor is devoted to a child development facility for homeless children, while upstairs there are 75 transitional units for 150 homeless single men. Above that are 65 affordable units for people who earn 30 percent to 40 percent less than the San Diego area median income. The daycare center and dwellings have separate entries and elevators, but residents can share common lounges and a rooftop entertaining area that’s often used for fundraising events.

The contemporary tower uses color to add interest to the upper floors, and the ground level features walls of large windows that allow the structure to “interact with the street, not ignore it,” says Wong.

The architects succeeded in both solving a unique puzzle and adding an attractive landmark to the neighborhood—one that Wong hopes “will serve as a model of affordable, mixed-use development that meets the needs of a diverse community.”