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The Union

Project Name

The Union

Project Status



  • General Contractor: Jonathan Segal
  • Landscape Architect: Jonathan Segal
  • Interior Designer: Jonathan Segal
  • Jonathan Segal
  • Jonathan Segal

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Project Description

2007 RADA
Multifamily / Grand

The taut, well-scaled buildings of this sustainably designed townhouse complex won high praise from the jury. “There's a modularity to it that expresses something; it embellishes the site and expresses individual ownership,” said one judge. Another declared: “This is one of the most humanizing modern projects we've seen today—and the best work this architect has ever done.”

When Jonathan Segal, FAIA, bought the downtown site adjacent to the San Diego Freeway, it contained a decrepit union hall and two parking lots. Rather than demolish the building, Segal redeveloped it to include two affordable live/work lofts and his own architectural office. The boxy building, clad in mild steel, is joined by three new stucco-covered volumes whose scale and simple beauty harmonize with the neighborhood. For the ultimate in low-cost livability, each unit is equipped with photovoltaic panels, natural ventilation (making air conditioning unnecessary), abundant glazing, and easy access to a private outdoor courtyard.

“The big notion is, Hey, you're divorced from the grid and don't have to pay for electricity,” Segal says. “Every single room has natural daylight—even the baths in the middle. You can conceivably never have to turn on a light in the daytime.”
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