Intentionally demanding your attention, Eitol Hillcrest creatively brings together the next generation of urban living, working and most importantly playing. This collection of 13 simple Towers on a trapezoid shape lot hopes to enliven the eastern end of Hillcrest with 29 new apartments (3 very low income unit) and 10 creative office suites all designed around the upscale gay restaurant/lounge called InsideOUT.
The bold red siding is meant to energize University Avenue, Hillcrests’ main street which hasn’t seen new development for 10 years and remind everyone that Hillcrest is a diverse community with people that have always been challenged with social norm’s. We have broken thru decades of social barriers and created a place that is welcoming to many ideas and lifestyles. Eitol is a symbol, a landmark for reminding everyone that being different is OK and our energy is better spent to engage and understand instead of simply dismiss.
Each tower is made up of different unit types for different lifestyles and financial situations. Less expensive smaller studio lofts are located along University Avenue since there is more noise and less views. Larger more expensive 2 bedroom-three level ‘skyhomes’ are located toward the back and sides of the property in the highest portion of the tower to enjoy the least noise and best views.
Everything about Eitol was carefully thought out to make you feel something. The red color demands your attention, almost in the most juvenile way. Rather than fight it, the designers embraced that the metal siding material in large panels by nature warps and creates a reflective pattern, almost liquid-like. Upon entering the courtyard and experiencing the water feature by sight and sound, the waviness makes much more sense as the water and buildings become one.
Eitols ground floor meets the street with 200 linear feet of butt-glazed glass that reflects the urban activity by day and disappears completely by night, revealing the inner oasis of people enjoying each other with food and drinks and other sultry activities. As one moves from the sidewalk thru the oversized solid wood entry door into the restaurant it becomes apparent for the massing of the towers on the site. Like covered wagons that make a circle at camp for protection, the towers placed around the perimeter give this same sense of security.
The open outdoor stair and walkway circulation along with the large windows create a ‘voyeuristic’ lifestyle. It has been jokingly compared to a modern ‘Melrose Place’ since its pretty easy to get to know your neighbors and meet new people without being confined to dark double loaded corridors and awkward elevators. The tower design solves the problem of hearing your neighbors banging on your wall and provides wonderfully private shady spaces between the towers for exterior balconies that serve each unit.
There is much more to this design than meets the ‘drive by’ eye and is only truly understood by walking into and thru the spaces. You may enjoy the covered dining room for a special meal with relatives, grab a casual drink with a friend in the courtyard lounge or just meander back and forth on the sloped walkway to buy a new tank top in the upper courtyard boutique.
The complex nature of the design asks for a special kind of user and living at Eitol is unlike any other building in Hillcrest. The lifestyle is fun, interactive and playful. Some words of advice, come for the happy hour menu at InsideOUT and enjoy the courtyard transition from day to night. Be there as the courtyard lights come up and the spaces fill in. The big windows above are like watching a reality show into the different lives inside. If you do happen to see something sultry inside, remember you are the peeping tom, they are just living their life… 😉
1642 University Ave SD 92103
Foundation For Form Architecture & Development
Mike Burnett Mike@EitolTowers.com
Jimmy Brunner, Foundation For Form Architecture & Development