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Taking Sustainable Apartment Living to New Heights
By Mike Meyers, Senior Principal and Project Director at Lifescapes International

Taking Sustainable Apartment Living to New Heights

This luxury apartment community, located in Mission Valley, Calif., and designed by Lifescapes International, offers several high-end amenities in its landscape. Dynamically designed lighting features allow for both safe travels as well as continued functionality into the evening hours. Even as residents walk away from the well-lit buildings, they can admire the plantings and meet with others in the social spaces imbedded throughout the site.
Photo: Harrison Photographic


Taking Sustainable Apartment Living to New Heights

This water feature, surrounded by bright plantings, offers a focal point at the front of the complex. The trickling water gives off a soothing sound while drawing both current residents and potential leasers toward the private outdoor area to the left or the leasing office to the right.
Photo: Harrison Photographic


Lifescapes International, an internationally recognized landscape architecture firm, designed the landscape environment for Circa 37, a three-story, 306-unit apartment community that is situated on a 10.6-acre parcel within the sustainable neighborhood of Civita, a master planned community in the heart of Mission Valley, California.

The apartment community was developed by Sudberry Properties, a San Diego-based real estate development and asset management company that strives to develop and manage properties as sustainable enterprises.

Civita, one of San Diego's newest neighborhoods, blends equal parts urban vibe and village charm. The master-planned community prides itself on being inherently green, with parks, open spaces, nearby transit and car sharing, buildings that exceed energy standards and smart technology. Circa 37 offers residents a lifestyle that is stylish, playful, fresh and fun.



Taking Sustainable Apartment Living to New Heights

The property provides residents with sustainable plant selections and beautiful features that fit with the vibe of the urban neighborhood of Civitas that surrounds it. This Jr. Olympic-sized pool gives residents the option to either cool down and relax or dig in to an intense work out.
Photo: Anthony Gomez Photography


Taking Sustainable Apartment Living to New Heights

Turf meets a courtyard area where the outdoor kitchen leads to the main social and recreation area. The pergola designates the courtyard as an area for food prep and consumption, marking one of the "destinations within a destination" that Landscape International strove to create in the landscape.
Photo: Anthony Gomez Photography


Taking Sustainable Apartment Living to New Heights

Landscape International's designs were not limited to the shared recreation and social areas of the property. Plant and hardscape selections allowed apartments themselves to appear polished and high-end, representing the young professionals who live in the complex.
Photo: Harrison Photographic


Sudberry Properties asked Lifescapes to create a community out of the Circa 37 landscape that matches the urban vibe, village charm and sustainability that both they, and the Civita neighborhood, would find valuable.

Circa 37 takes apartment living in San Diego to new heights. Lifescapes' vision was to create a landscape that appealed to all generations by creating destinations within destinations and developing an ultra-plush sustainable landscape that contributes to an ultra-modern "green" lifestyle. The apartment complex introduces a new level of sophistication to the central Mission
Valley scene.

Circa 37 offers sustainable features, contemporary finishes, modern appliances and resort-inspired amenities that add definition to the residents' luxe lifestyles. Contributing to the property's resort-style flair, residents at Circa 37 also enjoy full access to the community amenities. These include a saltwater junior Olympic-size pool, group cabanas with built-in HD TVs, spacious patios with outdoor firepits, a sunny pool deck with stylish lounge furniture, a 10,000 square-foot recreation facility, high-speed Wi-Fi, a 2,200 square-foot fitness facility and a full state-of-the-art demonstration kitchen, among many other amenities.



Taking Sustainable Apartment Living to New Heights

The complex's Jr. Olympic-sized pool offers residents the luxury of maintaining their fitness regimes in a high-quality amenity that is not available to the public. The spa, backed by a mosaic-style wall contrasts the intensity of the pool, allowing athletes to unwind after a workout and professionals to relax after a hard day at work.
Photo: Harrison Photographic


Taking Sustainable Apartment Living to New Heights

Residents of Circa 37 can utilize the outdoor kitchen while surrounded by lush greenery and shaded by the pergolas that demarcate the area.
Photo: Harrison Photographic


To create the destinations within destinations, Lifescapes enveloped specific amenities with materials that resulted in focused micro areas. For example, in the firepit area, the firm utilized birds of paradise, sago palms, Kentia palms, tree aloes and bougainvillea; and then in the cabana area, they planted Carolina laurel cherry for privacy, and Majestic Beauty Indian Hawthorn and African Tulip tee for visual points of interest. Near the recreation facility, they selected King palms, date palms, coral trees, Texas privet and bromeliads, and by the demonstration kitchen, they created an entrance using citrus, crape myrtle and strawberry trees, lavender plants, rosemary, Mondo grass, stonecrop and daylilies.

Marco Sessa, senior vice president of Sudberry Properties had this to say, "We were excited to collaborate with Lifescapes International on the landscape design of Circa 37. Their approach really raised the bar on landscape design in San Diego. They created an outdoor environment that transports residents to a lush, vacation destination that they can enjoy every day. There's no doubt the landscaping has contributed to our high tenant retention rates."

The Lifescapes International design team was tasked with the responsibility of providing residents with a lushly landscaped and sustainably sensitive garden setting. The team strategically implemented plants that adapted to the Southern California region and that required lower water usage. The design team chose a variety of shrubs and signature plant materials that provide a canopy of shade, colorful flora and drought-sensitive plant materials throughout the property. In addition to this, the design team worked closely with Schmidt Design Group to implement a water efficient irrigation system that maintains a lush, bountiful and environmentally sustainable contemporary garden environment. With ample open space, trails, parks and public space dedicated to over one-third of the overall Civita community, Circa 37 has become the ideal place for an active lifestyle that also supports sustainable, "green" living.



Taking Sustainable Apartment Living to New Heights

The designers at Lifescapes International were concerned with including the right plants to create a paradise-like environment for the residents. To achieve this, they chose plantings that formed a dynamic color scheme, with calm greens mixing among bright floral choices. Some of these plantings include: Fox Tail Agave, Mendevilla Red Riding Wood, Bush Tango Kangaroo Paw, Lady Palm, Split Leaf Philodendron and Manzanita.
Photo: Harrison Photographic


Taking Sustainable Apartment Living to New Heights

The combination of colorful and soothing plantings, in addition to the water feature, provide a welcoming setting to potential and current residents. As the opening view of the complex, Lifescapes International chose to make the front courtyard as bright and clean-looking as possible.
Photo: Anthony Gomez Photography


The design also incorporated a rose courtyard "stroll garden," complete with vine arbors over the walkways that add shade along with a touch of greenery. The palm trees that are sprinkled throughout the property provide shaded areas for guests to relax and socialize.

The pool and recreation area provides residents with a resort-like atmosphere where they live, bringing a touch of vacation to everyday activities. The landscape offers intimate gathering spaces with outdoor fireplaces and a multi-level pool deck with private cabanas. The pool deck is surrounded by tropical plant materials, which will make any resident feel as if they are on a tropical trip in their own backyards. To make this area more visually impactful to the residents, Lifescapes International lowered the gates around the pool area so that residents would not have to look through a fence to see the beauty and activity going on inside. Additionally, an outdoor fireplace, event lawn and poolside BBQ complete the recreational area of Circa 37.

In all, the amenities and corresponding landscape design instantly allow residents to feel like they have been transported to a destination where they can play, relax and feel at home in luxurious and environmentally-sensitive surroundings.



As seen in LASN magazine, November 2018.



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March 20, 2019, 9:33 am PDT

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