Baker Block

Costa Mesa, CA
Red Oak Investments
240 DU | 4.16 AC | 57.69 DI/AC

Like the city it calls home, this 240-unit, five-story community is an incubator of bold, independent and expressive ideas. The challenge was to craft an upmarket community on a freeway-adjacent, triangular site in the middle of an industrial park. What began as constraints to be mitigated blossomed into a feat of free-spirited place-making, resulting in a microcosm of Costa Mesa: edgy, eclectic, “City of the Arts,” purveyor of coastal cool.

Architectural inspiration was drawn from disparate sources. A nearby Tesla delivery facility, the LAB Anti-Mall, The CAMP, Observatory OC lent enticing futuristic aspirations, as seen in the project’s fiber cement siding, metal pylons and unexpected angles. The city’s alternative surf and skate culture lent a cool color palette accented with edgy carbon corner elements. There is a youthful demand for authenticity, resulting in exposed rivets, joints and screws. Architectural elements are applied in novel ways: balcony rails accelerate in spacing; offset window arrangements exude a whimsical playfulness; the building interior is about discovering a seemingly endless series of cozy, offbeat gathering spaces.

There’s a quintessential Californian quality of the indoors flowing outward, with the project’s triangular patches of xeriscaping and gabion walls constituting an edgy ground to the building’s figure. The green climbs up the building via extensive use of green screens and slides out into a community garden. A see-through leasing lobby invites the visitor outdoors into a spacious pool deck with luxurious cabanas. Finally, the glass ringed roof deck offers an open air experience with views of the Santa Ana Mountains.

In the avant-garde of creative expression, the project experiments with the building as canvas. A freeway-facing edge was offered to international activist and artist, Shepard Fairey, whose 136’x55’ “Welcome Home” mural ignites its surroundings in bold colors and patterns. The mural, along with a vertical marquee sign along the freeway, suddenly provides the city with a recognizable, wholly unique, totally befitting gateway.


2018 MHN Excellence Awards - Gold, Best New Development & Design: Mid-Rise

Baker Block

Costa Mesa, CA
Project Details