dutra brown building

1998

Little Italy, San Diego, CA 

Architect as Developer / Housing

Part of the Little Italy Neighborhood Development (LIND) project, James and his team were selected by the City of San Diego to envision what a city block could be at its best, setting an actual model of development for future projects to emulate. The project parceled out the entire block into micro lots, with six architect/developer teams working together to allow views, sunlight, and open interior courtyards to blossom. Brown designed, developed, and spent one year onsite as foreman and laborer, which afforded a hand-built product utilizing ‘found objects’ in the form of recycled windows, doors, and other materials. This direct architecture allowed the design process to continue through to the end of the project. Celebrating light, views and community, the project contains flexible live/work spaces that contract or expand from four to six units. The project won a Directors Award for Housing Development Excellence from the State of California Department of Housing and Community Development, and was published in Architectural Record, Spazio Casa, and Décor and Style.