Architect: Sebastian Mariscal Studio
Location: La Jolla, California, USA
Designer & Builder: Sebastian Mariscal Studio
Design Team: Sebastian Mariscal & Jeff Svitak
Structural Engineering: Omar Mobayed
Project Area: 1,546 sqm
Project year: 2007
Photographs: Hisao Suzuki
Conceived as a series of town residences, SIX in La Jolla combines clear form with continuous indoor/outdoor spaces, elevating to the views of the Pacific Ocean. Stepping down the sloped site, the six town homes create a visual rhythm of contrasting volumes and projecting balconies, extending towards the ocean views. Front patios, defined with greenery, filter the street and lead to the main living/dining/kitchen spaces where full height sliding glass panels open the space completely to the exterior, creating a continuous outdoor experience. Floating above are the IPE wood clad boxes that house the bedrooms and screen the private decks, alternating with the light stone volumes that define circulation and service spaces. The protruding stainless steel viewing balconies accent the sunset washed street facades, set against the Southern California sky.
Sebastian Mariscal Studio has been slowly building a portfolio of well-regarded contemporary housing projects throughout the city of San Diego. Their latest is Six, a row-house project just a block from the beach in La Jolla, one of San Diego’s most desirable and expensive neighborhoods. As with all of these projects, Mariscal is the developer, architect, and contractor.
Six sits on a sloping lot on a curving street, a topographic condition made subtly evident as the apparently identical units curve and drop with the terrain. The row-houses sit atop an underground garage accessible from the side street on the low side of the site; they address the sidewalk through a small gate in a hedge that provides privacy to the open units beyond.
Each row-house is composed of two parts that are expressed in their finish materials. Service elements (stairs, elevators, storage, and the like) are placed in limestone-clad pylons that act as sound gaskets between the units. All living spaces are contained in wood boxes that bridge between the stone pylons. The wood boxes—clad completely in IPE—contain bedrooms at the second and third floors. Under the wood box, a large loft-like space for the kitchen and living areas extends into gardens on both ends. This connection is made seamless by the use of fold-away glass doors that completely open both ends of the room. IPE flooring runs outside as decking in both directions, connecting the garden and terrace areas to the interior. In fact, this “slipping” of inside to out is so effective that, when the doors are folded back, you feel as though you are in a covered exterior space. Six is a quintessentially Southern California housing scheme that builds on a legacy of seamless connections between house and garden. The real genius of Six is that it accomplishes this with such a deceptively simple kit-of-parts.