“Atmosphere is really special because it serves the broad spectrum of people who need affordable homes.”

Ken Sauder, President/CEO of Wakeland Housing & Development Corp.


“Atmosphere is an outstanding example of the type of partnership development that is needed in San Diego’s shortage of affordable housing for low-income families and homeless San Diegans.”

Frank Urtasun, Housing Commission Chairman


A Change of Atmosphere: Modern affordable housing addresses a local socioeconomic issue

San Diego’s Cortez Hill neighborhood now has Atmosphere, a 12-story affordable housing building with 205 residential units and three below-grade parking levels. The modern building blends in with the neighborhood and adds to the streetscape with geometric architectural finishes from its dynamic facades and massing – an unexpected interpretation of what affordable housing can look like in the city.

DCI was the Engineer of Record for Atmosphere’s structural systems. The team provided construction support services and designs for the foundation, mild reinforcing plan for the subterranean parking, PT framing for the above-grade floors, a lateral system with special reinforced concrete shear walls, a roof plan, shear wall details, plus concrete and steel connection details.

Project Highlights

  • Includes community spaces such as a computer lab, meeting rooms, laundry facilities, and a roof terrace on the 8th Floor.
  • 700-sf of ground level retail space.
  • Three levels of below-grade parking (a total of 180 stalls).
  • 51 units are designated for permanent residences for rehabilitating homeless residents.
  • Building owners are pursuing LEED Silver certification with Atmosphere.


  • 2017 Our City San Diego Development of the Year, Best Affordable Housing
  • 2018 San Diego Housing Federation, Project of the Year for New Construction, Ruby Award
San Diego, California
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