O’Brien Homes’ Fusion in Sunnyvale, Calif., is a techsavvy townhome community integrating appealing architecture with stylish sustainability.
By Carina Calhoun
Nestled in Northern California is a townhome community tailored for a fresh, inviting and interesting lifestyle. Originally designed by another builder for a different market, the vibrant community of Fusion in Sunnyvale, Calif., was built by O’Brien Homes and was redesigned by KTGY Group, Inc., with forwardthinking features and eco-friendly elements while offering a host of amenities. The community creates an innovative atmosphere for residents to integrate indoor and outdoor living styles.
Construction of the project began in fall 2011 and opened in June 2011 with 112 townhomes complete to-date. When finished, the community will consist of 228 homes of three different townhouse types, including flats, carriage-style and traditional townhomes. Seven unique floor plans offer two-, three- and four-bedrooms ranging from approximately 1,198 to 1,882 square feet – all with attached, two-car garages. Fusion also includes 30 Below Market Rate homes which are a part of Sunnyvale’s affordable housing program. “One of the greatest challenges was to develop new building and product that would fit within the same footprint that was designed for buildings by a previous builder,” stated Susie Frimel, from the marketing team at O’Brien Homes. The builder was able to accomplish this by collaborating with KTGY Group to create unique and flexible floor plans. Frimel added, “The design concept was to create texture and some measure of diversity in the architecture and landscaping without losing community cohesion. The community is designed to feel comfortably hip, but not too edgy or urban for its location.”
According to KTGY Group’s Jill Williams, AIA, and principal in charge of the firm’s Oakland office, Fusion seamlessly integrates 36 new contemporary and Spanish Eclectic buildings with three existing buildings. “We designed five distinct ‘districts,’ which created more intimate neighborhoods and added balance and texture within community. Each district has a special feature and unique landscaping design, which adds to the individuality and defining character and feel of the district,” said Williams. These chic townhomes feature contemporary and Spanish Eclectic-influenced architecture, as well as other appealing exterior features from spacious decks and patios to unique landscaping.
Along with a distinctive design, Fusion also offers several sustainable elements that residents can benefit from. Recognized at the 2012 Pacific Coast Builder’s Conference (PCBC) with a Merit Award for “Multi-Family Housing Project,” the project was previously designed to meet the city of Sunnyvale’s green standards. Part way through the approval process, the city adopted a minimum standard of 70 Build it Green points. The homes at Fusion surpass that requirement with a total of 122 points. Frimel said, “We feel we owe it to our customers and planet to provide as many green features as we can without driving up the cost. We find in the pursuit of quality and efficiency that green is an extension of that or the elimination of waste.”
The energy-saving features at Fusion include tankless water heaters; highly efficient heating and cooling systems; low-E dual paned windows; Green Label Plus carpeting; low-VOC interior wall and ceiling paint; as well as water-conserving fixtures and features throughout the landscaping that keep the homes comfortable and are cost-efficient to maintain. These energy-efficient enhancements at Fusion were designed for and offer a cost-effective incentive for target homebuyers, which primarily include first-time buyers that are currently renting. According to Frimel, there is a mixture of progressive singles, newlywed couples and starter families. There are also some empty-nesters who want to enjoy the ease of living in a new townhome and take advantage of the community amenities. “Fusion’s community recreation center (‘PULSE’) is the new standard for multifamily amenities,” Williams said. It is housed in a renovated existing recreation center building and includes: Wi-Fi lounge; fireplace; catering kitchen; 12-seat theater; and a premium fitness center – among other features. The outdoor amenities include a spacious fire pit area with tables and seating that provide designated spaces for entertainment. “Since the target market includes young singles and couples who are work-focused, our design included creating places for them to gather, relax and connect in ‘outdoor rooms’ as well as the indoor amenity spaces,” Williams explained.
The townhomes at Fusion include a host of design features that appeal to first-time buyers: granite kitchen counters; stainless steel kitchen appliances; many windows to maximize natural light; 9-foot ceilings; interior laundries; and ample storage space. Spacious balconies and diverse, textured landscape features throughout the community give each home a distinctive sense of arrival and provide the community with a very appealing streetscape. Frimel stated, “Fusion has a really distinctive, appealing ambiance. It is inviting and attractive, and is a place people are proud to call home.” She continued, “The level of attention to design detail and focus on integrating enough variety in the architecture and landscaping to make the homes feel unique, while preserving overall elements that result in a cohesive community feel, have resulted in an award-winning, successful neighborhood.”
Carina Calhoun is editor at Builder and Developer. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.