Housing developments have become clichés of themselves. The same house repeated into infinity. We've all heard the old joke, or is a jibe, about "do you ever walk into your neighbors house and then realize…" There is no risk of that joke playing in our neighborhood.
Each home is as distinct and individual as custom homes, but even that comparison fails in some ways. Each street is different from the others in ways you might not consciously notice but you will feel as you walk through the neighborhood (i.e. instead of drive). It's a little bittersweet to hear visitors to the Mercado District say to me in amazement, This place is gorgeous, as though its miraculous that new development could actually be as significant as the old neighborhoods we love.
I live in the first home here. We moved from a historic adobe home that was built in 1881 but renovated in the early twenty-first century and my new house has all the charm and character of the antique but without the electrical problems and drafts.
When we started designing this project our home builders had a mantra: We are building a future historic district. At the time it seemed a high bar to meet, but it was one we all took very seriously. Now that I'm living in the Mercado District I have no question about whether or not our goal has become an inevitability.
In the evening while I walk the dog I find myself thinking, the Mercado District is a development for people who never believed they would live in a development.
| 2006 International Charter
Award for Best Neighborhood Design