Project Profile: Trestle Apartments

Architect: MBH Architects

Location: 333 El Camino Real, San Carlos, CA 94070, USA | View Map

Project Year: 2018

Category: Housing


Claiming its name from the type of supporting framework used in railroad construction, Trestle Apartments is a new 28,601 square-foot residential development consisting of 202 units—six, three-floor residential buildings and two, two-floor retail buildings. Trestle sits on the larger campus of the San Carlos Transit Village, a mixed-use development designed around the San Carlos Caltrain station. The site was originally designed and contracted under Christiani Johnson Architects (CJA), which continued when CJA joined Alameda-based MBH Architects. For the housing and retail component of the mixed-use development, MBH created a TOD (transit-oriented development) at the station while preserving the historic train depot.


Inspired by historic railroad hubs and mission-style architecture, the station was originally built by the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1888. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984 as the Southern Pacific Depot. Today, it has been preserved and sits between the two commercial buildings of the development. Nods to historic stations of the past can be seen through screen patterns, graphics, and luggage details throughout, telling a story of the railway traveler on El Camino Real. The city and train station both have odes to Romanesque Revival, Mission Revival, Mission and Spanish style architecture. Roofing material was used to tie into the historic train station roof, while the paint scheme pays homage to the adobe color of many buildings in the city. Stone veneer also reflects elements present in the train station.


The Trestle Apartments lot is long and narrow and necessitated on grade construction with tuck under garages. Nearly all units have views of the city, and the hills and private decks surround small landscaped courts providing a buffer to the nearby road for many units. The interior is characterized by warm leather and detailed tilework with modern amenities, including a roof deck, BBQ area, pool, spa, gym, and business services for those working from home. Trestle is within walking distance to a bustling downtown restaurant scene and walking distance to Caltrain with easy access to both downtown San Francisco and San Jose.


The Cal-Green rated development took four and a half years to build in two major phases: four buildings north of Holly St and four buildings to the south, which consisted of the Trestle Apartment Campus with residential and commercial at Caltrain station.



Published: Archello, ARCHITECT