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At C.W. Driver, A Legacy Built to Last

C.W. Driver is on a mission to build better communities and lives together. The Southern California builder provides general contracting, construction management and design-build services throughout the American West. In 2020, the company earned an Orchid from the San Diego Architectural Foundation for its design-build collaboration with the architectural firm …

Construction in progress on the Orchid-winning East County Office and Archive in Santee

C.W. Driver is on a mission to build better communities and lives together. The Southern California builder provides general contracting, construction management and design-build services throughout the American West. In 2020, the company earned an Orchid from the San Diego Architectural Foundation for its design-build collaboration with the architectural firm The Miller Hull Partnership, an SDAF partner.

The companies joined forces on the East County Office and Archive in Santee, creating a beautiful design-build project for the County of San Diego. It’s one that brought to life an inspiring vision.

The finished product is a testament to the power of the right team, says C.W. Driver Project Executive Andy Feth. The joy of collaborating on an Orchid-winning project has much to do with the excellence of design that comes into the process, he adds.

“You’re trying to create something attractive that the client can see themselves in, something that suits their needs,” Feth says. “But there are also constraints, because there’s a budget that you can never lose sight of. We can design something great, but costs may be limiting. So we have to work as a team and continually check things against the budget.”

Feth has worked for C.W. Driver for 12 years. As Project Executive, he shepherds various phases of C.W. Driver projects, managing them as early as the pursuit phase and through preconstruction and construction. He describes himself as “the common thread” that ensures the company stays on track with both the design and budget. If he has a soft spot for design-build projects, it’s because they’re so conducive to teamwork.

Andy Feth, Project Executive at C.W. Driver

“They’re perfect in bringing collaboration to life and helping the team stay in sync step by step,” Feth says. “We’re constantly checking back against the available budget, meeting and providing cost feedback to the architect. Design-build is an efficient way for design and construction teams to work together and make a positive impact.

Over the last 100 years, C.W. Driver has continued to build upon its good name as it builds better communities. With projects in education, civic and cultural, retail, commercial office, multifamily, and senior living, the company strives to construct buildings that enhance people’s lives and sense of belonging.

By engaging in four library projects in the County of San Diego alone, for example, C.W. Driver has taken pride in how its developments affect San Diego neighborhoods. “The library of today is a community gathering spot, so it’s nice to be able to finish something and take pride in the benefit that the community will gain from it,” Feth says. “It’s certainly gratifying.”

C.W. Driver not only earned an Orchid for its collaboration with Miller Hull, but the company also helped sponsor this year’s awards. The annual gala, celebrating excellence in San Diego design, was a good fit for C.W. Driver. The company chooses its projects carefully, always guided by a desire to work for people and businesses who are respected in the industry.

“Being able to produce something that’s tangible and contributes to a great environment or community in the way that quality architecture and design do is meaningful,” Feth says. “Being able to drive by a development knowing you were part of it certainly feels rewarding.”

Photos courtesy C.W. Driver Companies

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Seven Haunted Sites to Put You in the Halloween ‘Spirit’

San Diego is known for many novelties, from speakeasy cocktail bars and California tacos to hidden trails and seaside escapes. But one unique aspect of San Diego that often gets overlooked is its fabled haunted history. With Halloween just around the corner, here’s a look at seven of the most …

San Diego is known for many novelties, from speakeasy cocktail bars and California tacos to hidden trails and seaside escapes. But one unique aspect of San Diego that often gets overlooked is its fabled haunted history. With Halloween just around the corner, here’s a look at seven of the most popular sites to help you get your creep on.

  1. William Heath Davis House

Built in 1850 by shipping owner William Heath Davis, the home is the oldest structure in downtown San Diego. Among its residents were San Diego founder Alonzo Horton and his wife Sarah; a German spy; and others who are believed to be “lingering about” nearly two centuries later. The building’s paranormal activity might also have something to do with the numerous deaths that occurred there during the 10 years it served as a hospital.  (That’s not creepy at all).

 

  1. Old Point Loma Lighthouse

Today, visitors can tour the historic lighthouse and learn about its unique past, which began in late 1855 when the lighthouse was first lit. But beware – many who have visited have gotten a taste of the abnormal, and the paranormal. The sound of startling moans, heavy footsteps, even a a chill upon the spiral staircase, it’s all there for the taking at the Point Loma Lighthouse.

Folklore says the spirit of Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo resides here, and he’s still waiting to transition to the other side. Others say the final light keeper, Captain Robert Decatur Israel, keeps watch and tracks all who venture inside.

  1. The Whaley House Museum

Any discussion about haunted San Diego has to include the Whaley House. It’s known as “America’s #1 Most Haunted House” for a reason. The beautiful mansion has a dark past, full of death and intrigue. It’s all exactly what you want in a haunted house, right?  One of the more popular San Diego attractions, the Whaley House is visited by thousands of tourists each year. It has served as a courthouse, a general store and a theater and was owned by Thomas Whaley, a businessman who built a general store at the height of the Gold Rush. After a fire gutted his San Francisco store, Whaley and a business partner ventured to San Diego to set up a shop that served the local Native American tribe, the Kumeyaay.

  1. Horton Grand Hotel

This magnificent hotel is known for its restored architectural elegance, rich history, prime location near the San Diego Convention Center, and…a fabled history for guests who “overstay” their welcome. Looks like gambler Roger Whittaker, who legend has it met an untimely demise in Room 309, should have paid his debt. Guests have reported flickering lights, doors opening and closing, and the sound of footsteps. The hotel continues to be among San Diego’s most popular hotels despite its haunted history — or perhaps because of it.

  1. Hotel del Coronado

The Hotel “del” has a storied past that rivals anyplace in San Diego. And its haunted tales go right along with it. At the center of the del’s haunted history is Katie Morgan, a.k.a. “The Beautiful Stranger.” In 1892, she checked into the hotel under a false name. She was rumored to have argued with a male companion during her stay. After that, she made some dark choices.  Her apparition is said to be sighted by hotel visitors, though rumor has it she keeps to herself.

6. Cosmopolitan Hotel

Situated in Old Town, the Cosmopolitan Hotel has a rich history born in the mid- to late 1800s. The hotel’s founder was Juan Bandini, and his youngest daughter, Ysidora, is said to have taken up residence in the hotel’s Room 11.  Some have reported flickering lights, loud noises, and other signs that perhaps Ysidora is up to mischief all these years later.

7. Berkeley Steam Ferry Boat

Now home to the San Diego Maritime Museum’s offices and library, the Berkeley Steam Ferry Boat operated in the San Francisco Bay in the late 1800s, carrying nearly 2,000 passengers at a time. The boat has a long list of intriguing historical events and guests to its name. Those who have worked on the boat have reported seeing an apparition — a man clad in a fedora. Some believe it’s the spirit of John O. Norbom, who died in 1911 in an explosion that injured 5 others onboard. But others suspect it’s someone else, a dearly departed guest who wishes to go back onboard time and again. Why don’t you get to the bottom of it and report back to us? We trust you.

Sources:

www.oldtowncosmopolitan.com

https://sdghosts.com/top-10-most-haunted-places-in-san-diego

“Ghostly Goings on at the Hotel del Coronado” (www.hoteldel.com)

 

 

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A Grand Vision to Showcase a Grand Orchid

It’s never easy to create a sense of place that puts people in the moment. The best artists just make it look easy. With their polished video production of 2020’s Malone Grand Orchid winner, the men behind Patzke + Doll have done just that — made it look easy. Patzke …

It’s never easy to create a sense of place that puts people in the moment. The best artists just make it look easy. With their polished video production of 2020’s Malone Grand Orchid winner, the men behind Patzke + Doll have done just that — made it look easy.

Patzke + Doll, the latest business venture from local photographers Ian Patzke and Brian Doll, brings architecture to life in the most compelling of ways — through photography, video, light, and an incredible sense of artistry.

Ian Patzke

Patzke came to the Malone Grand Orchid video through his longtime relationship with SDAF. He sat on the Orchids & Onions 2020 committee and has worked with the foundation for years. And so it was that Patzke + Doll was hired to produce the video for this year’s Orchids & Onions gala.

In the video showcasing the Center for Novel Therapeutics in La Jolla, we see how the medium can bring architecture to life — and all that can be accomplished through the right collaboration. Storytelling, adept video production, and other artistic elements breathe life into the center, giving the viewer a greater understanding of the designers’ exceptional achievement.

Here’s a look at the making of the Grand Orchid video, the unique challenges it posed, and the two men who made it all come together.

Focusing on the Thoughtfulness of Design

 

Ian Patzke’s love of photography was born early. From the age of 6, he traveled the world with his family, becoming fully immersed in experiences and cultures different from anything he’d seen at home in Wisconsin. The son of a lawyer who dabbled in photography, Patzke learned young how to capture moments through the camera. It’s a skill he never relinquished.

“There’s a thoughtfulness that goes into every piece of design,” says Patzke, who describes the Grand Orchid video as an artistic architectural film. “The goal of all my work is to help bring awareness to architecture and beautiful design.”

When producing an architectural video, it’s crucial to understand a client’s story. In this case that was the story of SDAF. But it also was necessary to understand the story of the Center of Novel Therapeutics and the vision of its architects, Perkins & Will.

The Making of a Grand Video

 

Patzke and Doll began by interviewing the architects and developing a seamless narrative for the production. They then arranged for access to the facility — no easy task during the pandemic. Add to the mix the fact that Patzke and Doll had a tight deadline, and it seemed like a perfect storm of stress. Orchids & Onions jury deliberations didn’t end until late August, so the men had just three weeks in September to produce the video from start to finish. They met the challenge head-on.

In assessing the Center for Novel Therapeutics before filming, Patzke and Doll were struck by the stark quiet of the complex at a time when so many are working remotely. To bring the center’s collaborative essence to life, they knew they had to fill the space with people. Fortunately, they roll in a close-knit group, and they called on friends to help tell the center’s story of integration and connection.

Brian Doll

“When you have the opportunity to do a video at this level, you put your head down and do your best,” says Doll, a staff photographer for Swinerton Builders. “When you have a building of this size that’s designed to have people congregating together, it needs to be filled out so the space comes alive. For us, it came back to storytelling, as it always does. We knew we needed the introduction of life and people in that space, and it worked out beautifully.”

Doll, influenced by the photography skills of his father and grandfather, developed a love of the art form at age 15. Even today, the world of shadow and light is where he’s most comfortable. But video is exciting in its own right, he says. It’s new, fresh, and helps him stay present.

Filming with Environmental Stewardship In Mind

 

The Grand Orchid video was a total exercise in being present, and it brought to light how crucial it is, as an architectural photographer, to understand how spaces act as stewards of the land. While that’s always an important consideration in a place like San Diego, having that awareness was especially important in filming the Center for Novel Therapeutics.

“Doing this production required us to understand how the center helps create a healthier planet,” Patzke says, citing the clear solar panels that are positioned on the center’s roof.  “Not only do the panels collect light and create energy for the building, they also provide light for the atrium and transfer that energy into electricity.” The center also has windows that open to the exterior, reducing air-conditioning costs.

Patzke and Doll approach their work in similar ways, and it makes their collaboration all the more harmonious. One-time competitors who have known each other for about 10 years, being in synch allows them to present a fuller story about architectural projects on behalf of their clients.

“People often say, ‘I have never looked at that building in that way,’” Patzke says. “It’s hard to see everything in the eyes of the designer, and that’s really our goal — to help San Diegans see a little bit better the designer’s viewpoint, so they can come to understand the impact of thoughtful and meaningful design.”

Be sure to watch Ian and Brian’s Grand Orchid video to see firsthand how they bring Perkins & Will’s design to life.

All photos by Patzke + Doll

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Peeling It Back: A Closer Look at the Grand Onion

Year after year, as the Orchids & Onions gala approaches, people throughout San Diego inevitably ask “Why can’t it just be Orchids?” The answer, of course, is simple, and perhaps said best in the words of Orchids & Onions Co-chair John Martinez: “Unless we can have an open and respectful …

Year after year, as the Orchids & Onions gala approaches, people throughout San Diego inevitably ask “Why can’t it just be Orchids?”

The answer, of course, is simple, and perhaps said best in the words of Orchids & Onions Co-chair John Martinez: “Unless we can have an open and respectful discussion about the criticisms of some of our spaces, can we ever improve? Can we truly understand what’s good without having a conversation about what’s bad? This may be relative, but a huge opportunity becomes not so much in what we say but in how we listen, learn, and improve with one another.”

In that spirit, this year’s Grand Onion winner, the Apartments at 1836 Columbia Street, presents a great opportunity we can learn from and improve upon. Understand that not just any design can earn a Grand Onion. It takes something…special. Jurors criticized the apartments for failing to complement the feel of the neighborhood  overall. And while jurors agreed the Apartments at 1836 Columbia were the hands-down winner of 2020’s Grand Onion, some of  their insights may surprise you. Take a look at a few of them.

“There’s nothing to soften this building, especially considering there are single-story properties all around it.” 

“It does not play well with adjacent properties.” 

“It could be an urban planning Onion as well.”  

“There is no green space, no trees or plantings.”

“Front, back, and sides, all = Onion.”

Whereas an Orchid represents spaces that go above and beyond in engaging community, asking the right questions and challenging preconceived notions, an Onion represents a missed opportunity, a failure to rise to the challenge.

So why bother talking about them at all?

Because in “celebrating” missed opportunities — like a Grand Onion apartment complex in one of San Diego’s most popular neighborhoods — we bring accountability to our design decisions. And maybe (just maybe), we’ll ask harder questions next time.

That can only be a good thing.

 For more on Onions, read about Onions that became Orchids (and vice-versa).

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5 Favorite Moments from Orchids & Onions 2020

Well, another Orchids & Onions gala is in our rearview mirror, and from beginning to end, this year’s awards had us craving more, more, more. As our first-ever virtual honors, Orchids & Onions 2020 proved to be among the most unique in recent memory. That largely had to do with …

Well, another Orchids & Onions gala is in our rearview mirror, and from beginning to end, this year’s awards had us craving more, more, more. As our first-ever virtual honors, Orchids & Onions 2020 proved to be among the most unique in recent memory. That largely had to do with you, of course, our exceptional SDAF community. Here are 5 of our favorite things about Orchids & Onions 2020. What do you say, can we do it all again tomorrow?

The support of the SDAF community. 2020 seems to be a year where, let’s face it, we could all spread more love. And boy did you deliver! With more than $7,000 raised in the SDAF/SDNOMA scholarship drive for a minority architectural student, we definitely felt the outpouring of goodwill, San Diego. Thank you for your incredible generosity. Your help means that a minority architectural student will get a special opportunity to carve a path in the design industry, and that wasn’t guaranteed before.

The Teen Jury. In the past, Orchids & Onions was an adults-only affair. But 2020 isn’t like other years, and neither was O&O 2020. The Teen Jury, assembled in collaboration with the nonprofit A Reason to Survive (ARTS), added a youthful spark to this year’s event. The teens showed that though they’re young, they do have an eye for impressive design.

In scrutinizing the nominees for this year’s crop of Orchids and Onions, the Teen Jury, on its own accord, selected the same winner for the Malone Grand Orchid (Center for Novel Therapeutics) and the Grand Onion (Apartments at 1836 Columbia Street) as the main Orchids & Onions jury. While the outcome was purely coincidental, it proved that youth,  like adults, know a good design when they see one.

The People’s Choice live vote. In Orchids & Onions’ 44-year history, the People’s Choice Orchid & Onion never have been voted on live during the gala…until now. With so many notable People’s Choice nominees this year, it was anybody’s guess who would walk away with this coveted prize. 2020 shortlisted nominees for the People’s Choice Orchid included The Jackson mixed-use community, the Children’s Workshop, a private school for kids with special needs, and Audeo K-5 Charter Homeschool. Midway through the gala, it looked like Audeo would walk away with the People’s Choice Orchid. But the Children’s Workshop, featuring architecture by SDAF Board Member Kevin deFreitas, snuck in from behind to take the prize.

Shortlisted nominees for the People’s Choice Onion included The Lofts on Laurel and BLVD North Park Apartments. The Lofts on Laurel took the final honors (and not in a good way). It seems the audience was not impressed with the project’s design or the fact that it overlooks, of all things, a parking lot. We can’t say we blame them.

The Children’s Workshop was specially designed to meet the needs of kids with autism and other developmental challenges. Photo by Darren Bradley.

Juror insights. It’s one thing to hear what everyday folks prefer in a design. It’s something else to learn the opinion of a professional. Hearing the insights of 2020 jurors such as landscape architect Rocio Gertler and urban planner Stacey Lankford Pennington enhanced the audience’s understanding of 2020 projects and educated attendees on why projects were so worthy of praise or criticism.

Marti Krane. The evening’s announcer added a dramatic (and comedic) tone to this year’s awards, and we loved it! It wasn’t so much what she said, but how she said it. With quirky quips geared at Onion winner the Chula Vista Library South Branch (“an Orchid winner that’s gone stinky”) or double-Orchid winner The Louisiana, which nabbed honors for architecture and interior design, Krane brought levity to our 44th annual gala at a time when we needed it most.

What were your favorite moments from Orchids & Onions 2020? Send us an email at info@sdarchitecture.org and let us know!

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Spotlight on Orchids & Onions Sponsor Perkins & Will

Orchids & Onions 2020 is upon us, and we couldn’t be more excited! In anticipation of SDAF’s biggest fundraiser of the year, taking place tomorrow, we connected with one of Orchids & Onions’ key 2020 sponsors, Seattle-based Perkins & Will (their Center for Novel Therapeutics is up for an Orchid …

Kay Kornovich and Ryan Bussard

Orchids & Onions 2020 is upon us, and we couldn’t be more excited! In anticipation of SDAF’s biggest fundraiser of the year, taking place tomorrow, we connected with one of Orchids & Onions’ key 2020 sponsors, Seattle-based Perkins & Will (their Center for Novel Therapeutics is up for an Orchid this year!).

Here, Perkins & Will Principal, Managing Director Kay Kornovich, NCARB, RA, LEED AP, and her colleague, Design Director, Principal Ryan Bussard, AIA, LEED AP, talk about what drives the Perkins & Will mindset, why the firm chose to sponsor Orchids & Onions 2020, and how the Perkins & Will mission aligns with that of SDAF.

Empathy is front and center on your home page. Why?

RB: Design is a holistic vision. It’s very hard to do well without empathy. Listening to the community, listening to our users, it all informs our architectural vision and professional relationships. Each of the buildings we create has a story. Each client has a story. Through empathy, we can gain a better understanding of our clients. It allows us to do better, more meaningful work.

Living in the time of Covid-19, this feels like the moment when we all need to step up and be more empathetic. At Perkins & Will we have an initiative called JEDI. It stands for “justice, equality, diversity and inclusion.” We’re very strong on inclusion and equity, and we take it very seriously.

Perkins & Will’s goal is to design places that make a positive difference in the world. What are some of the ways architecture and design can achieve that?

Perkins & Will designed the i3 Illumina Campus in UTC. This photo shows the Eastern view from the 805.

KK: First of all, I love designing science buildings. I’ve been doing it my whole career. Someday we will have a cure for cancer, and I hope to design that building. Life sciences is my passion. Through sustainability, and by designing for resiliency, we can make the world a better place.

It can start on a smaller scale just in terms of the materials we use or thinking about orientation, the way the building is programmed or laid out on the site. We strive not to disturb the natural landscape and use natural materials whenever possible.

 RB: How far can we push ideas in terms of resilience and sustainability to make a positive difference for our clients? That’s a priority for us. Researchers’ findings are inspiring us to do better work, and hopefully that is felt in the buildings and environments we design. In places where groundbreaking research is performed, our design helps researchers achieve their goals, and they’re important goals. So our creative vision and a client’s mission statement must be closely aligned.

What led you to Orchids & Onions 2020?

The Center for Novel Therapeutics in La Jolla is nominated for an Orchid.

RB: While Perkins & Will is based in Seattle, we have worked on projects in San Diego for nine years. Our Center for Novel Therapeutics in La Jolla is nominated for an Orchid this year. The interesting part of it is, we don’t even know who nominated us. Orchids & Onions is a program we’ve always admired. A number of our clients hold it in very high esteem, and they have told us fun stories from the past.

KK: I really appreciate the Onions part of it, too. To be good stewards of architecture and the environment, we have to hold each other accountable. We have to not only celebrate the great, but stop and say, “Hey, you can’t put this in our environment.”

RB: Orchids & Onions pays close attention to placemaking. It asks the hard questions and pays attention to what’s important to individual communities. Through the Orchids & Onions program, the bar is being raised. It inspires architects to think more critically about the ways their projects impact the community.

How do the Orchids & Onions’ and Perkins & Will missions complement one another?

Sensitivity to the environment is important in Perkins & Will’s projects, as seen in their Center for Coastal and Deltaic Solutions in Baton Rouge, La.

KK: There’s a parallel in terms of design excellence and attention to continuous improvement. Our firm has a Biennale where all of our offices submit work that they think is good. Some of it gets critiqued by outside jurors. We also have peer review that critiques each office’s work. If it’s not up to par, the work needs to be improved and the quality of excellence raised.

RB: The Biennale looks at the best of the best. We also have The DEAR  (Design Excellence Annual Review) Report once a year. It’s feedback on our portfolio that is much like a crossover between Orchids and Onions. We get critiqued on a work in progress by a school of architecture jury. It gives us a moment to reflect and give an honest appraisal of the work.

Why did you choose to become an Orchids & Onions watch party sponsor this year?

KK: We really look up to the Orchids & Onions program and feel it’s important to highlight good design as well as projects that weren’t thoughtful enough in their approach. We have been watching the program since about 2012, when we first began working in San Diego. We’re proud to support it this year as a 2020 sponsor and nominee.

All photos by Nick Merrick.

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4 Cool Reasons to Get Excited About Orchids & Onions 2020

As SDAF’s flagship gala of the year approaches on October 1, we can’t help but feel a tad bit stoked about it. After all, Orchids & Onions 2020 is a San Diego tradition 44 years in the making, and we have yet to meet an O&O we didn’t like. Even …

As SDAF’s flagship gala of the year approaches on October 1, we can’t help but feel a tad bit stoked about it. After all, Orchids & Onions 2020 is a San Diego tradition 44 years in the making, and we have yet to meet an O&O we didn’t like. Even with all of the epic moments of Orchids & Onions past — Chippendale dancers, memorable upsets, San Diego luminaries (we’re looking at you, Todd Gloria) — this year’s gala holds a special place in O&O history. That’s because it’s our first all-virtual event, of course. And the first time it’s been free for SDAF members.

But there’s a lot more than that to make Orchids & Onions 2020 one of our most legendary.  Here are 4 things to love about this year’s gala.

Teen Jury. This is definitely the year of “O&O firsts,” and the teen jury, called “Teen Vote” is right up there with the best of them. Orchids & Onions always has given the public a chance to have a voice in shaping San Diego’s built environment. At long last, Teen Vote gives local youth a say in it as well. In collaboration with A Reason to Survive (ARTS), we assembled a teen jury and asked them to cast their votes on the very same shortlist our main jury deliberated on. To find out if the teen jury and main jury saw eye to eye, register for the virtual gala on Oct. 1 at www.orchidsandonions.org/tickets!

Making a Difference. Over the summer, SDAF expressed a desire to do more to promote racial equity. Backing our commitment with action, we are collaborating with the San Diego Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects (SDNOMA) to create a new scholarship for a minority student interested in pursuing an architectural career. You can support the effort, too! It’s as easy as attending this year’s Orchids & Onions gala and participating in our fundraising drive that night. Every donation will help bring about more racial equity in a profession that really needs it. Read more.

People’s Choice Voting Will Be Live. In 2020, there are five finalists for the People’s Choice Orchid and Onion — three short-listed Orchids and two short-listed Onions. Projects were shortlisted based on those receiving the most comments, likes and shares across SDAF’s social media channels and nomination pages. For the first time, attendees of the virtual awards gala will be able to vote on the final Orchid and Onion People’s Choice winners during the event on Oct. 1 By attending, you can play a part in choosing your favorite. Check out the shortlist here and get ready to vote for your top picks on Oct. 1!

A cool virtual cocktail demo. There are just two days left to order your Orchids & Onions food and drink kits, so better get on it! By purchasing your kits by the deadline, Sept. 25, not only will you be supporting small local businesses, you’ll also be opening the door to a fun time.  At 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 1, Snake Oil Cocktail Co. mixologist Frankie Thaheld kicks off O&O by leading us in a demo of the night’s signature cocktails.

With pre-ordered kits in hand, attendees will learn how to make two signature cocktails: an Orchid (vodka or bourbon, smashed blueberry, dried lavender, pressed lemon, cane sugar, club soda) and an Onion (vodka or bourbon, tomato water, muddled green onion, sea salt, honey, pressed lemon). Buy your kit here to be part of the fun!

There’s a lot more where this came from, too! We have other surprises in store that you won’t want to miss. Register for Orchids & Onions 2020 today! We look forward to seeing you there!

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With the Help of a New Fundraising Platform, Supporting SDAF is Easier and More Fun

At Every.org, the mission is to bring nonprofits and donors together in a joyful nonprofit experience. That means uniting users and charities through top-tier fundraising technology to drive a nonprofit’s success. In partnering with the Every.org fundraising platform to host Orchids & Onions 2020, SDAF is supporting a fellow nonprofit, …

At Every.org, the mission is to bring nonprofits and donors together in a joyful nonprofit experience. That means uniting users and charities through top-tier fundraising technology to drive a nonprofit’s success.

In partnering with the Every.org fundraising platform to host Orchids & Onions 2020, SDAF is supporting a fellow nonprofit, and they’re supporting us. Because when you register for Orchids & Onions on the Every.org site, you can donate to SDAF at the same time, supporting us in our mission to inspire San Diegans to discover the value of thoughtful design in the built environment.

“We wanted to create an experience that was easy and fun for donors and still gave nonprofits what they need,” says Rahul Gupta-Iwasaki, co-founder of Every.org. “Every donation can create a ripple effect. By making their donations visible to the public on the Every.org website, donors are making a public statement of support for organizations like SDAF and inspiring others to give to the cause. They’re sharing their voice, and that drives more donations, and ultimately, more trust for the nonprofit.”

By using Every.org to register guests for Orchids & Onions 2020, SDAF is introducing registrants to a positive, interactive experience that lets them engage with other users, get excited about the gala, and donate to SDAF at a challenging time for charities and small businesses.

The Every.org team

In 2020, Orchids & Onions is going virtual for the first time, and it promises to be a fun, interactive gala that engages our audience in new, exciting ways. In other “firsts,” attendees at the Oct. 1 gala will vote on the People’s Choice Orchid and Onion awards live at the event. SDAF also is using its 44th annual gala to help fund  our new collaboration with SDNOMA — a scholarship for a minority student interested in an architectural career. By attending Orchids & Onions 2020, guests will be able donate to the scholarship drive in real time while the event is happening.

“It’s really fantastic that SDAF is seizing the moment and the greater awareness around the racial inequities that have existed in our society for so long to create positive change in the architectural space by partnering with SDNOMA,” Gupta-Iwasaki says. “As an organization that values equity and inclusion ourselves, Every.org is proud to play a role in promoting the cause.”

You can play a role, too, by joining SDAF for Orchids & Onions 2020! Register today for our most vital fundraiser of the year. With your support, together we can inspire San Diegans to see the value in the built environment, and create a more equitable world.

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New Scholarship Will Promote Diversity in Architecture

After George Floyd’s death and the protests against police brutality that followed, the San Diego Architectural Foundation (SDAF) expressed its support for the Black Lives Matter movement and a desire to do more to support diversity in architecture. As a first step toward bringing those commitments to life, SDAF is …

After George Floyd’s death and the protests against police brutality that followed, the San Diego Architectural Foundation (SDAF) expressed its support for the Black Lives Matter movement and a desire to do more to support diversity in architecture.

As a first step toward bringing those commitments to life, SDAF is collaborating with the currently forming San Diego chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects (SDNOMA) to create a scholarship for a minority architectural student. SDAF’s Orchids & Onions event, coming up on Oct. 1, will give attendees the opportunity to participate in a live fundraising drive to support the new scholarship fund.

Michael Robinson AIA, NCARB

In celebration of the collaboration, we interviewed Michael D. Robinson, AIA, NCARB, an architect of African-American descent and future president of the SDNOMA Board of Directors. Robinson, principal at Robi4 Architecture & Planning, is licensed as an architect in California and Tennessee and serves on the AIA San Diego Board of Directors. Here’s what he had to say about SDNOMA’s goals in San Diego, the scholarship’s importance and partnering with Orchids & Onions 2020.

NOMA’s San Diego chapter initiated its launch in July of 2020.  What does the chapter aspire to achieve here? SDNOMA aspires to provide an opportunity for minority architects to be recognized so that people know we are here and that we exist. It’s especially important for children and students pursuing a career in architecture to see people who look like them. When they feel represented in this career field, they believe they can achieve success within it. When they see someone who looks like them — someone they can emulate — it puts their dreams within reach.

Another one of our objectives is to identify designers who want to network and join together to create change. We advocate for increased fellowship, inclusivity, diversity, equity, and excellence in design. Typically, we would do that in person, but during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic we will interact in a virtual environment. We will also seek to engage with prospective students, whom we hope to mentor, in fun virtual exercises.

What are some of the early initiatives SDNOMA is championing? One of our early initiatives is our “Project Pipeline” program, which we’ll begin by working with middle school students. The aim of this program is to empower youth in middle and high school to affect change in their communities through design. Students will use the city as their classroom and connect with professional designers and planners in San Diego.

What do you want people to know about the new scholarship? The merit-based scholarship will support one minority student, a graduating high school senior beginning their first year of architectural studies. It’s really exciting that Orchids & Onions attendees will have the opportunity to donate to it, as the scholarship will be a first for SDNOMA. In addition to financial support, we will maintain contact with the scholarship recipient — a form of community support that will help to provide a pathway to the student’s success.

Why is Orchids & Onions a good forum for unveiling the scholarship? Orchids & Onions is an exceptional event, and we’re very proud that SDAF and its flagship program would consider partnering with us in this way. Orchids & Onions sets the benchmark for high-quality design in San Diego. Linking the SDNOMA scholarship to the gala is a great way to bring diversity to SDAF’s signature event. I think it sends the message that the architectural landscape here is shifting, and that’s a wonderful thing to see. It also aligns well with our mission to inspire youth. Ideally, we’ll be able to maintain a relationship with Orchids & Onions while partnering with other SDAF programs in the future.

Robi4 Architecture and Planning provided architectural services for the Pinch District Pedestrian Bridge in Memphis, Tenn., which has not yet been built.

What are some of the challenges minority architects face in the industry? Architecture is a predominantly male and predominantly white profession. If you look at the demographic breakdowns of licensed architects in the U.S., 20 percent identify as female; 1 to 2 percent identify as African-American; and 0.3 percent identify as African-American women — a double minority. People of color remain challenged in securing and creating opportunities to gain the skills necessary not only to work in a firm, but also to become licensed as architects practicing under their own tutelage.

Self-actualization should be the goal. Minorities remain short of role models. So, if you can bring together professionals who can impact youth as role models and mentors, it can give them the guidance and influence they need to realize their goals. A built-in mentorship program also can help challenge them in the ways they need to grow and sustain an architectural career.

How will this scholarship help them meet those challenges?  Our primary goal is to inspire youth and to work with them however we can. We believe this scholarship will be an excellent step in that direction. The scholarship aligns closely with NOMA’s mission to empower local chapters to foster justice and equity in communities of color through outreach, community advocacy, professional development, and design excellence. It will be an excellent way to jump-start our efforts in San Diego, to help foster a social infrastructure that meets the needs of everyone in our community, regardless of race.

Learn more about SDAF’s exciting new collaboration with SDNOMA in our press release.

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San Diego Architectural Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to education and promotion of outstanding architecture, planning and urban design throughout the San Diego region.

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