Inhabiting Palo Alto is an experience straddling worldly urbanity and the American sprawl. Together with the suburban feel detectable as you step further away from University Avenue, the town's main street, there is distinct character, human scale, lush nature, and pedestrian friendliness in its neighborhoods. To give an image that is both distinct and belonging to its place is our response to raise the diffused quality of living in Palo Alto and what drives this housing project.
These distinctive volumes, conceived as an architectural ensemble, articulate their own skyline against the pronounced horizontality of Palo Alto. They occupy a quarter of city block, offering to the local community a restrained Mediterranean modernity, disciplined and relaxed at the same time. Its cubist massing lets coexist individuality in multiplicity: each unit has a recognizable presence while being fully integrated into a total vision. Earth-bound, yet light and powerfully extruded to a majestic height, these voided boxes are the markers of an architecture with no back of house: all elevations are meaningfully relating to their adjacencies. This boxy geometry reinforces the corners of the lot, making of axiality a flexible rule for a lively architectural composition.
This is a new design language in the architecture of Palo Alto. Hardscape and landscape knit together the building footprints into a continuum in the manner of an old European city, an effective idea tested in centuries of urban design practices. Outdoor spaces at mid-air are evocative of balconies. To invite pedestrians to inhabit any architecture is to coax them into an experience filled with interest, safety, and surprise. An environment where to gather, share, retreat, entertain, nurture, reflect, work, and function. In a nutshell, a place.