Napkin Sketch: Marvin Malecha

  One of my favorite parts of being involved with SDAF has been the opportunity to get to connect with some really wonderful people in our industry. I’ve built friendships throughout various creative disciplines and been able to connect with some amazingly talented folks that I otherwise may never have crossed paths …


One of my favorite parts of being involved with SDAF has been the opportunity to get to connect with some really wonderful people in our industry. I’ve built friendships throughout various creative disciplines and been able to connect with some amazingly talented folks that I otherwise may never have crossed paths with. Coordinating the Orchids & Onions jury for as many years as I have has given me a special opportunity to also put each one of these people to work on one of my favorite creative pastimes, the napkin sketch. Years back I decided that a mandatory part of participating in the O&O Jury Tour was to provide at least one napkin sketch regardless of whether you were part of the jury, or one of our volunteers. It was just a way to remind everyone of the fun of being creative, a simple drawing, something quick, not polished.

As the team prepares this year’s unique O&O program (oh, this is going to be a fun one!) I’ve been reflecting on past years experiences. While looking back through some of the napkin sketches done by jurors on our annual O&O Jury Tour I came across this gem by Marvin Malecha, FAIA who was, at the time, president of the NewSchool of Architecture & Design (NSAD).

Softly spoken but always with a sharp and detailed opinion, Marvin was an absolute delight to meet on our 2017 tour. He thoughtfully discussed each award based on our award criteria and its individual merits. He especially connected with our young student juror and he doodled this napkin sketch after visiting the Japanese Gardens at Balboa Park.

I was deeply saddened to hear of Mavin’s passing in 2020, but his legacy in our industry as well as his leadership at the NewSchool will live on for years to come. Our organization is better because of Marvin’s leadership in ensuring a deep partnership between SDAF and NSAD. It was an absolute pleasure to get to know Marvin through our partnership over the years.

To learn more about Marvin’s legacy, NewSchool issued this statement which includes more of his sketches.


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2021 Orchids & Onions – Meet the Jury!

As our Orchids & Onions Committee is hustling together to prepare this year’s program, we wanted to make a super big announcement – our jury! Over the years, we have always had an engaging team of jury members, and this year is absolutely no different. With thought-leaders from a variety …

As our Orchids & Onions Committee is hustling together to prepare this year’s program, we wanted to make a super big announcement – our jury! Over the years, we have always had an engaging team of jury members, and this year is absolutely no different. With thought-leaders from a variety of professional disciplines, we entrust with our jury the decision-making that results in the awards themselves. O&O is a unique awards ceremony. The public nominates all projects, but then the jury adds their expertise resulting in a combined effort to determine the winners.  

They will be put to the test, from a grueling (not really) online voting process, to an in-person tour to see each short-listed project, to the feisty and always exciting deliberations that can last for hours; we know that this jury is up to the task!

While this may be an all-star band of dead-set industry rock stars, and they are, but don’t forget that we will also invite you to all of SDAF’s VIP member events to participate in the chance of a lifetime to join this year’s jury.

Finally, to round out the total of nine jurors, we will also be inviting an ACE Mentor Student to join the jury. What an opportunity for a young budding designer to sit in and converse with some of our region’s leading designers!

Over the coming weeks, we will be releasing information on how you can participate in your one chance of a lifetime! But for now, let’s meet the jury!

Here we go…

Architect: Gemma Hsiueh

Gemma is a Registered Architect and Principal at RNT Architects, located in the Gaslamp Quarter. Gemma acknowledges her parents for allowing her the freedom to explore the field of architecture at such an early age. Her obsession with Legos during childhood led her to take several drafting classes in high school and participate in a summer exploratory program at the NewSchool of Architecture + Design. She refined her focus and skills at the USC School of Architecture. She jumped on the opportunity to study abroad in Italy for five months, which solidified her admiration of the subject.

Get to know Gemma more through this wonderful interview by unfamiliar.

Architect & Developer: Jeff Svitak

Jeff Svitak Inc. is an all-inclusive studio focusing primarily on architectural design while simultaneously integrating real estate development and construction management into its practice. The studio prides itself on creating unique and inspired human environments that engage with the user’s senses. While each project has its individual inspiration and concept, Svitak believes heavily in the role of spatial organization and its influence on human emotions. By intimately studying this relationship, Jeff Svitak Inc. looks to enhance the emotional quality of its building’s inhabitants. They thoughtfully integrate aspects of privacy and intimacy within the interior environment, connecting exterior living spaces, and inviting an overall sense of community through crafted and welcoming public and circulatory spaces.

Architect & HRB Member: Matthew Winter 

Matthew Winter is the Director of Mixed-Use at LPA Design Studios. He has been responsible for managing various award-winning projects of multiple typologies, including housing, medical, civic, developer, and mixed-use projects. His work on the Pacific Center Campus in Southern California received the 2017 American Architecture Award and the 2016 Best Project for Office/Retail/Mixed-Use from ENR’s California’s Best Projects.

He is currently serving on the Historic Resource Board of the City of San Diego. Additionally, he is president of beautifulPB, the non-profit managing the certification process for the Pacific Beach EcoDistrict. He has helped spearhead multiple community-led projects within the EcoDistrict, ranging from new bicycle paths, community mural events, new placemaking, municipal code, new park designations, and an EcoDistrict planning checklist for new development. He previously served on the Uptown Planning Board and as a director on the Pacific Beach Town Council.

Designer: Rachelle Domingo-Rogers

As an ’04 Alumni of Newschool of Architecture and Design with a 5-year Bachelors of Architecture degree, Rachelle has invested 20+ years in the San Diego Architectural and Design Industry working for various firms and non-profits. Now, she is the owner of Arch5 Design Studio, a boutique architectural and interior design studio specializing in residential and Commercial/Hospitality projects. They just recently celebrated their 6th year in business. Get to know Rachelle more through this great interview in Shoutout Socal.

Artist & Educator: Dave Adey

David Adey began his graphic design and branding career working for clients such as Intel, Pepsi, Nike, Qualcomm, Taylor Guitars, Hasbro, and many others. His sculpture often draws upon this experience, and his recent cut-paper works explore the fraught intersection between our physical bodies and the increasingly digitized world we inhabit. His work has been exhibited at The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Orange County Museum of Art, Torrance Art Museum, Cranbrook Art Museum, Minneapolis Institute of Art, The La Jolla Athenaeum, and Oceanside Museum Art, Frist Museum in Nashville, and galleries and venues nationally and internationally. His recent Hide series was selected for the exhibition State of The Art, Discovering American Art Now, which began at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas and has toured nationally.

Adey’s graphic design and illustration have been featured in publications such as Graphis and Communication Arts. His art has been reviewed and featured in publications including Art in America, Art Ltd., LA Weekly, Installation Magazine, Artbound by KCET, Modern Luxury Magazine, The San Diego Union-Tribune, Wired, KPBS, and The Huffington Post.

His permanent public sculpture for the County of San Diego, titled Inspiration/Expiration, can be seen at the corner of Cedar and Kettner in downtown San Diego.

He received his MFA in sculpture from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a BA in visual art from PLNU, where he is currently a professor of art and design.

Architect & Construction Manager: Katinka Read

Katinka was born and raised in Germany, but San Diego has been her home for over 15 years. After graduating from the NewSchool of Architecture + Design in 2011, Katinka worked in architecture for five years and got her license in California. She now works as a construction project manager for multi-family projects and operates her small architecture firm on the side.

Fun fact, Katinka volunteered with SDAF for a few years on our Orchids and Onions Committee, and we are so pleased to have her back on our jury this year.

Get to know Katinka through this great interview in unfamiliar.

Landscape Architect: Neil Hadley

With over 20 years of experience in landscape architecture, campus planning, and urban design, Neil founded landLAB, landscape architecture + environmental back in 2007. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada, in 1994. His everyday philosophy is based on attention to detail while creating landscapes that connect the built form to its surrounding environmental context. He strives passionately for a strong collaboration between the consultant team and the client. Neil ventured out to San Diego in 1998, opening landLAB landscape architecture + environmental planning in 2008.

When he is not working, he can be found surfing, snowboarding, and hanging out with his wife and two boys.

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Membership update, a really longwinded update.

 Being my third post already this year about membership, I wanted to explain why I feel SDAF’s new membership structure is kind of a big deal. This could get long-winded, so here goes… When I first volunteered for SDAF as a jury liaison for the 2011 Orchids & Onions (shout out to …

Being my third post already this year about membership, I wanted to explain why I feel SDAF’s new membership structure is kind of a big deal. This could get long-winded, so here goes…
When I first volunteered for SDAF as a jury liaison for the 2011 Orchids & Onions (shout out to Chuck Crawford who taught me everything I needed to know to wrangle the next seven years of O&O jury’s!) it seemed like a no-brainer for me to sign up as a member at the same time. I really wanted to get involved in a local organization and I believe it was David McCullough who recommended volunteering for the ‘San Diego Architectural Foundation’ so naturally like most industry folks I thought I was joining an ‘industry-focused’ group. 
I should have known from that very first committee meeting that this bunch of misfits was anything but. Sure we had Architects & designers but there were also photographers, students, other industry professionals & some really wonderful regular folks. It was an awesome group of people with one common goal, professional or not, we all loved design & we all wanted to contribute. Being part of that O&O crew gave me a wonderful sense of community, but not just with other designers, it gave me the chance to build friendships across many disciplines within the industry but also outside of the industry. Over the next couple of years as I was invited to be on SDAF’s Board of Directors, then Vice-President and then President, it became glaringly obvious to me that SDAF really was not an industry-focused organization at all. Do we curate programs & events that cater towards industry folks? Absolutely, but it is just a portion of the productions we plan each year to engage a much wider audience – the whole region of San Diego. 
In my first go around on the board, I was frustrated, as were many others, that our membership numbers remain relatively static each year. We’ve always had a solid core of members who remain supportive every year, but we struggled to increase our membership. Discussions had taken place for several years about new membership levels, membership benefits, who gets what, what dollar values, etc and the problem all along was staring us in the face – we had simply over-complicated the entire thing.  Somehow in an effort to provide a variety of entry levels for membership we had created a labyrinth of options that would confuse anyone. Furthermore, we had failed on our end to manage our membership levels and so many of the promised benefits went unfulfilled and ultimately let our paying members down leading to many folks not rejoining every year. In all honesty, none of this was done on purpose – it’s just the nature of essentially a volunteer organization. For a few years we simply couldn’t afford staff, and so everything that needed to get done was done after hours or on weekends. The leadership team attempted to try to do everything ourselves and we simply let some really important things slip, it was no one’s fault, we did our best, but in doing so we let down our supporters, our members, and that never sat well with me.
So, in returning to SDAF for a second stint as President I made one giant commitment that we would simplify our membership structure. I didn’t know fully what that would mean, we are a board of many amazing folks & their opinions, but I was certain that change needed to happen, and so here we are. Our Membership Director Michelle Harrison McAllister formed a committee of volunteers, as well as the trusted advice of 12-year SDAF Director Suzanne Clemmer and our most recent talented addition to the team, Lauren Cook our Admin. Together this team created a streamlined, progressive & downright spot-on new membership approach of just two levels. The first level is General Membership which will be free to all San Diegans. This membership level aims to expand our mission far and wide throughout the region, engaging all demographics who live, connect, and are inspired by architecture and design.

I want to make it clear that we are not an industry organization, our mission is focused on all San Diegans – every age group, every economic status, every community, and everyone who wants to know more about our built environment – we have a program for you to connect with and be inspired by. Many of our programs are free, but the ones that do require a cost will be more affordable than ever now when you become connected to SDAF as a General Member.

The second level is our VIP Membership which is a flat-rate fee of $250 per year. This next-level membership will provide exclusive VIP-member-only experiences throughout the year, starting with an in-person tour of M.W. Steele Group’s 625 Broadway redevelopment by prominent local Architect Mark Steele himself. The exciting content we have planned will well and truly exceed its value as you will have the opportunity to meet some of our region’s most dynamic architects, artists, landscape architects, urban planners, developers, and so much more. 
So by now you’re wondering what this is all about, why am I ranting again about membership? Well, it’s really quite simple, I want to personally invite you to sign up today at one of these two new levels. If you’re interested in our City, Architecture, Design, Art, Sculpture, Landscape Architecture, buildings like your own home, the school your child attends, the office you work in, the parks & playgrounds in your community, public transportation, etc – if any of these things mean even the slightest thing to you, our organization is either currently curating or will sometime in the future curate an event, a talk, a gathering or a tour of something that you will find fascinating. So being a newly ‘free’ member of our organization simply gives you a weekly e-blast update from us on what we and others in our community have going on. If however you want a more dynamic and intimate experience, sign up for the VIP level membership to get some really amazing private events and know that your contribution is going towards some amazing events, most of which we put on for free.
Finally, the most important component for me of our new membership structure is the accessibility. All ages, all demographics, all communities, all income-levels can afford a free membership! This is a huge part of why our new membership structure, which has really only been rolling for a month or so now, has generated a few hundred new members (yay!), but that’s just the beginning. Our goal is to reach every corner of our county to engage with all 3+million San Diegans to join SDAF.
Let’s do this San Diego,  join us today, it’s free!



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Orchids & Onions is Back!

45th Annual Orchids & Onions Awards to Host a Hybrid, In-Person, and Virtual Gala   The San Diego Architectural Foundation (SDAF) invites the public and design industry professionals to nominate the best and worst of San Diego’s architecture in the run-up to the 45th annual Orchids & Onions awards ceremony. …

45th Annual Orchids & Onions Awards to Host a Hybrid, In-Person, and Virtual Gala


The San Diego Architectural Foundation (SDAF) invites the public and design industry professionals to nominate the best and worst of San Diego’s architecture in the run-up to the 45th annual Orchids & Onions awards ceremony. Building on last year’s virtual gala success and the evolving COVID-19 situation, our annual event will be hosted in both an in-person and virtual setting on October 7, 2021. To nominate a project, visit here and fill out the nominations form before June 30, 2021.

The program recognizes the best (Orchids) and worst (Onions) in architectural design, form, and function and brings San Diegans together to decide which parts of the built environment make our city a better place to live. Nomination categories include Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Interior Design, Historic Architecture, and a Miscellaneous Category for Public Art or other community improvements.

John Martinez, Chair of Orchids & Onions, commented: “Orchids & Onions is a chance for San Diegans to tell us what they like (and don’t like) about the buildings and spaces that surround them.

Building on the momentum created by OH! San Diego and its effort to take a more diverse look at San Diego’s built environment, we want to encourage all areas of the county to share their opinions and voice with us. By better understanding what brings people value in their everyday lives, we can help build a San Diego that improves the quality of life for everyone.”

The first official Orchids & Onions event was held in 1976. Last year’s Malone Grand Orchid winner for Architecture was The Center for Novel Therapeutics. The People’s Choice Onion winner was The Apartments at 1836 Columbia Street. SDAF started in 1978 and hosts over ten events a year that help educate San Diegans on the value of good design in their lives.

Get Involved!

Have some fun and take a minute to nominate a project here, and make sure to fill out the nomination form before June 30, 2021. Voting for the People’s Choice Award begins June 7, 2021. Your comment is your vote for the People’s Choice Award!

Visit here and SDAF’s social channels to comment on the shortlisted projects. You can also find us on Instagram @SDarchitecture, Facebook @SDAFinfo, Twitter @SDAFinfo, and LinkedIn.

To register for the event where the final Orchids & Onions will be revealed, visit us here!

About Orchids & Onions

Orchids & Onions is a fundraising program of the San Diego Architectural Foundation, an independent 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to education and the promotion of outstanding architecture, planning, and urban design throughout the San Diego region. The objective of Orchids & Onions is to raise awareness and encourage practical discourse about the environment, thereby effecting positive change and more thoughtful design. Orchids & Onions affords all San Diegans an opportunity to nominate what they believe deserves praise or critique, comment on all nominations, and even present an award by voting for the People’s Choice Orchid & Onion as part of the program. To learn more, visit here.



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PechaKucha Night is Tomorrow Night!

Meet the Co-Chairs    You have both been a part of SDAF for a while. What made you decide to co-chair this year’s PKN? Larry: Good question! I have been a PKN speaker going back probably more than a decade. And, after having been a speaker quite a few times, …

Meet the Co-Chairs 


You have both been a part of SDAF for a while. What made you decide to co-chair this year’s PKN?

Larry: Good question! I have been a PKN speaker going back probably more than a decade. And, after having been a speaker quite a few times, both at the San Diego Architectural Foundation and a couple of other PKN’s around town, a couple of people at the foundation asked me to be a moderator for a PKN event. And that was about eight years ago, maybe seven, and we had a good time! So for a while, it became a thing that I would moderate whenever they couldn’t find another person (sometimes they brought in celebrity moderators, radio personalities, and some good people who wrote for the San Diego Reader and various other great moderators.)

But I was the backup, and it worked out. I tried to be funny, and I think we had fun! So, anyway, that’s how I got into it, and I got to know PKN as a community outreach tool. I like how it touches on different aspects of design and the nature of cities and communities. It’s a valuable event.

I recently spoke with David, a member of SDAF’s Board of Directors, about becoming a board member. He said that would be great and that they needed a co-chair for PKN events. So, I said, let’s do it! We met and talked, and both agreed this was a good project. We’re excited to start up again now that we’re (hopefully) emerging out of the pandemic. I’m excited to see what we can put together in the future!

David: Yes, I was the one that talked Larry into speaking at a PKN so many years ago. I think it may have been one of our first events.  I had a minimal idea of what I was doing at the time, and I had never met Larry. Someone told me that he was this fascinating professor at SDSU that had a good handle on Latin American Urban Studies. I spent a quarter in college studying urban design in Venezuela, Brazil, and Argentina, so I knew that Larry and I would get along.

At the time, very few people knew what PKN was, so I think when I reached out to Larry to ask him to speak at one, I’m sure he wondered who is this guy and what is this weird event he is trying to do…and who gave him my number! Nevertheless, I successfully talked him into it, and yes, we hit it off very well. Larry was a captivating speaker, the crowd loved his presentation, and I asked him back again and again. Since he never said no, and became a crowd favorite over time, it made great sense for him to start moderating.

The rest is history, Larry and I have become good friends over the years, and now the fun continues as we are now planning these things together.

Last year PechaKucha Night had to be canceled because of the COVID virus. What does this year’s in-person PKN event look like?

Larry: When I came in as co-chair with David, I said to him, “Let’s try some experiments and do some things a little bit differently.” One idea I had was to try to get some live music started before the event begins. Because what happens? People come into the event space and maybe get some food, a glass of wine or something, and then everybody’s standing around. It’s a lot of fun, and people know each other – many designers, artists, and people in this world that we’re all in, we all know each other. So I thought it’d be cool to have a little music in the background – make it a festive occasion!

We’re also thinking about finding new and interesting locations. For example, the South Bay, which is between downtown and the border, is a unique San Diego area. It would be incredible to represent Latino and communities of color. PKN has reached out to those communities before, but we want to continue doing that and finding additional locations.

The third thing that I felt strongly about was finding different speakers from various backgrounds. David mentioned to me jokingly that he hasn’t always been successful getting women to speak. So I pushed to include more women speakers. Three women are speaking at the upcoming June 10th PKN event, and we’re incredibly pleased about that. We’re hoping to get a variety of speakers from different backgrounds for future PKN events.

David: I like that Larry has new ideas for the program; I think they will only improve it. People in the AED fields are looking for creative social outlets in their lives, and unfortunately, there are very few of these types of things in this town. PKN is precisely that, and I think that’s why it has become so popular for the” creative class.” The cool thing is that Larry’s an eccentric gentleman with incredible ideas and gets it! I think his contribution will put future events over the top, and I’m looking forward to it!

In what way does the PKN program benefit the San Diego Community?

Larry: Well, in several ways! It’s a fun, entertaining way to introduce people to essential issues in urban design, architecture, the built environment, sustainability, creative arts, public art, and so many things that are going on in that region that many people don’t know about. The idea of PKN is to make it an accessible, easily digestible format –  20 images, 20 seconds per image.

It’s not easy to get up there and do your thing in such a packed venue from the speaker side of things! It’s a challenge for the speakers to say something in such a short amount of time and do it entertaining way. I think the audience appreciates that, and it doesn’t take a lot of concentration from them. It’s a fun way to be introduced to a new set of ideas!

David: Additional to Larry’s points, PKN gives everyone the ability to be heard in a large crowd setting. Often, only a small group of voices is heard in every society. These are the celebrities, the famous, the highly opinionated, or the wealthy. PKN gives the mic to anyone that has something to say and wants an opportunity to say it to an audience. There are a few rules.  No promotions, nothing vulgar or offensive, and no politics or religion. Pretty simple. And the great thing is that each PKN presentation is short and sweet, so in total, the event runs 6 minutes and 40 seconds, to be exact.  So, if what one presenter has to say is not of interest to someone in the audience, the next one will be coming up quickly. That’s the beauty of the program.

Why do you think it’s important?

Larry: As someone who’s been an educator, I think it’s essential. I’ve always wanted to take my game outside the university and deliver it to a larger audience. I’ve written many op-ed pieces for publications and journals over the years. I asked myself how I can translate this set of ideas to a broader audience? Well, PKN is a way to do that. It’s getting people who are doing fascinating work that maybe other folks don’t know about, put it out there, and have a little bit of fun along the way – you have a big crowd of people in celebration mode! It’s a way for people to get together and experience community and an enjoyable way to get people to think about cities and where they live. It started in Japan and spread all over the world.

The fact that we’re hosting a PKN event in San Diego is a credit to all the creative folks who’ve supported this for a long time, and I’m happy to be part of it!

David: PKN is one of a kind in San Diego; it’s an outlet for the creative types who likely spend hours in their workspaces planning, coordinating, building, etc. PKN is our opportunity to get out, see what’s happening with others in our industries, get inspired, and be a part of our community. This type of event is rare in San Diego. I think everyone who attends PKN appreciates this opportunity to take a break from the long hours of the things that we do during our work weeks.

David: To add to the history, PKN was started in Tokyo in 2003 by a Danish and English architect team (Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham) practicing in Tokyo. They opened a nightclub in a basement in a downtown neighborhood. The club was called Super Deluxe, and they did this as their “night-time job.” PKN was always Thursday night at Super Deluxe. Crazy enough, this spread worldwide like a wildfire and is now in over 1200 cities.

What do you want to see come out of this event?

Larry: What I’d like to see is to jumpstart the idea of PKN community events and for people to come back out and begin to think about how we can open up and start being out in the world again supporting our communities. But at the same time, I am aware that on June 10th, we’re still inside the cutoff, and we have to take precautions. We will be asking people to wear masks in the building. An open-aired outside patio exists there, so people can go outside and probably take their masks off. People will have to continue to be vigilant, though.

But I hope that this is the beginning of getting back out and doing live events because it’s different. You can hold PKN as a Zoom event, but it’s just not the same experience that way. It’s the crowd’s energy when someone’s presenting, and people are having fun laughing and enjoying themselves. The images are more significant than just seeing them on your screen. I would say that’s really what this hopefully will be – a celebration of PKN and being out in community events like this.

David: I hope that everyone has fun, people engage, share, and connect to some new ideas, concepts, or creative projects through this. A friend that studied at Cal Arts in Los Angeles told me that Walt Disney created Cal Arts because he believed that artist usually worked in silos in their particular industry. Still, if you brought them together in one place where they could all study and collaborate, amazing things would happen. I believe that this is true today, and PKN is one event that brings us all together. On June 10th, we will be bringing together artists, architects, builders, sculptors, photographers, and the like. People will share and connect and hopefully walk away with a new perspective.

What is your favorite part of PKN?

Larry: Sometimes, it can get pretty noisy at PKN’s because people drink, talk to people, and have fun. But when the speakers are really good, there’s a buzz in the room, and the crowd quiets down. They get more excited to hear the next speaker. And the speaker has their own experience. That’s what I like – when the speakers are engaging, and people are listening and enjoying it and having fun. That’s an exciting moment for me.

David: PKN is like the prize at the bottom of a Cracker Jack box – you never know what you’re going to get, but you nevertheless can’t wait to get to it. Unlike Cracker Jack’s, you’re never disappointed. Every PKN is so different. We like it and strive to keep it that way. My favorite part is watching it unfold and see what happens.

Co-Chair/Emcee. Lawrence Herzog (Ph.D.) is a writer and lecturer in the Department of Urban Studies & Planning at UC San Diego, Professor emeritus of city planning in the School of Public Affairs at SDSU, and author/editor of 11 books on urban planning, design, and global/cross-border development, most recently Global Suburbs: Urban Sprawl from the Rio Grande to Rio de Janeiro (Routledge, 2015).

Co-Chair. David McCullough is a graduate of the nationally-ranked Landscape Architecture department at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and formed McCullough Landscape Architecture (along with his wife Catherine) in 1999. As Principal Landscape Architect, David oversees all aspects of the design and production of all projects, many of which have earned awards and recognition in national publications.


We’ll see you Thursday, June 10th at 6 pm at Bread & Salt! Please know that COVID rules require everyone to wear a mask, and the limit will be 50% capacity inside. Late arrivals might not be allowed inside once capacity is reached as there is an interior limit of 150 registrants.








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PechaKucha Night is Around the Corner!

Getting to Know the Speakers  PechaKucha Night is in seven days on Thursday, June 10th at 6 pm at Bread & Salt in Barrio Logan! This year’s selected topic is Post-Pandemic Innovation and Design: Reflections from the San Diego-Tijuana Region.  Take some time to get to know our speakers! Included in our speaker line-up is …

Getting to Know the Speakers 

PechaKucha Night is in seven days on Thursday, June 10th at 6 pm at Bread & Salt in Barrio Logan! This year’s selected topic is Post-Pandemic Innovation and Design: Reflections from the San Diego-Tijuana Region. 

Take some time to get to know our speakers! Included in our speaker line-up is M.R. BarnabasJohn Raymond Mireles, Jorge Ozorno, Robert Wellington Quigley, Tatiana Ortiz-Rubio, Melissa Walter, and Ron Miriello.

M.R. Barnabas

MR Barnadas is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, and researcher dedicated to engaging with the public domain. MR (Melinda) was born in Montreal to parents from Trinidad and Peru and grew up across North America. She holds a BFA from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago in Painting/Art & Technology and an MFA in Visual Arts with a Public Culture focus from the University of California San Diego. Ms. Branadas conducted a year of Regional Studies in Mexican Art and Craft at the Universidad de las Américas, Puebla, in between her other studies. She has instructed at Woodberry University School of Architecture, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Tijuana, California, San Diego, and Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Germany. She has been a fellow of the UCSD Center on Global Justice. She is currently residing in the borderland city of San Diego, producing public art commissioned works with the City of San Diego and Port of San Diego on behalf of Collective Magpie.

Benjamin Longwell

Benjamin Longwell is a San Diego native, and at only 32 years old, he is one of the youngest developers/owner-builders in San Diego. After graduating from USD in 2010, Benjamin began working for a boutique real estate development company in San Diego. He learned everything from commercial leasing to hands-on real estate development.

In 2017, Benjamin completed a successful multi-family living development in University Heights called Exotic Gardens. Benjamin then formed The Society of Master Craftsman in 2018 to experiment with Urban Infill Development. He just completed a mixed-use community in Normal Heights, Orchid, in April 2021 and is projecting to start construction on his next project, Daffodil, a mixed-use collective in Logan Heights, this fall.

John Raymond Mireles

John Raymond Mireles believes that fences provide an opportunity for connection, not division. What began as a visual display of his neighbors (through his fence) in San Diego’s Barrio Logan neighborhood, Mireles’ Neighbors Project, has grown into a portrait of series that features a variety of 86 Americans from all 50 states with fences.

Jorge Ozorno is the founder of Urbitecture and Jorge Ozorno Studio. His professional work includes all scales of design in the United States and Mexico. Jorge’s “Casa Romero” received the honor award by the AIA Chapter San Diego.

His practice as Architect as Developer includes several housing projects in San Diego. He is Assistant Professor and  International Network Champion at the NewSchool of Architecture and Design. Mexico, Europe, and the United States have exhibited his artwork related to UNESCO.

Rob Quigley


Rob Quigley is an architect, planner, and community activist. His work focuses on the geographic, social, and cultural elements that define a place. Concerned with both neighborhood making as he is with the building itself, Quigley’s projects are noted for his consideration of context and community.

His notable contributions include the new Central Library, the Children’s Museum, the Little Italy Focus Plan, the Balboa Park Activity Center, and the first modern SRO affordable housing projects.  Recent buildings include the LEED Platinum Ocean Discovery Institute and the Bayside Fire Station.

Tatiana Ortiz-Rubio is a Mexican artist whose work includes oil painting, drawing, muralism, and installation. Her current work in astrophysics, philosophy, and memory focuses on the concept of time and the transitions of change through the parallel perspectives of her individual narrative.

Tatiana Ortiz-Rubio

Most recently, she has been exploring public artwork. She received her MFA from the New York Academy of Art and a BA in Art History and Visual Arts at the University of San Diego. Ortiz-Rubio has exhibited her artwork internationally, in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and the United States, and such places as the Centro Cultural Tijuana, Quint Gallery, Biennial Maria Izquierdo in Guadalajara, Mexico, and has a permanent mural in San Diego and has work in the San Diego Civic Art Collection. She was an Artist in Residence at the Chavon School of Design in the Dominican Republic and the Bread & Salt Gallery in San Diego. She currently teaches drawing and painting at the University of San Diego.

Melissa Walter

Melissa Walter is a San Diego abstract, mixed-media artist. Her practice is rooted in observation, research, and translation. Conceptually, Walter often gravitates toward topics concerning astrophysics as a response to her past experience as a science illustrator. Recently her work began evolving to consider the study of neurology and forensic science while visualizing using more visceral and intuitive gestures.

Walter received her BFA in studio art from the University of Rhode Island in 1998. She was an artist in residence at 1805 Gallery and Bread & Salt. While there, she participated in exhibitions at the Smithsonian’s S. Dillon Ripley Center, Quint Gallery, Ice Gallery, Warehouse9 (DK), Torrance Art Museum, La Caja Galeria (MX), and the San Diego International Airport.

Ron Miriello

Ron Miriello is a designer, collector, and restorer of Italian steel bicycles. He lives part-time in Italy, where he documents the artisans who still make crafted bicycles. He is also co-leading the restoration of a barracks in Liberty Station to restore them into a community-wide bicycle center for San Diego and Northern Baja. With e-bike evolution, the growing relevance of cycling during the pandemic, and cycling’s role in making urban life more sustainable. Miriello believes these developments will remain as rich subject matter in the future.

Sign up today! And remember, attendance is FREE, but registration is highly suggested! 

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October 7th, Save the Date! SDAF’s 45th Orchids & Onions Event!

O&O Interview with John D. Martinez We can’t believe it’s already been 45 years since the San Diego Architectural Foundation has held its first annual Onions & Orchids event! In anticipation, we spoke to this year’s Chair of O&O, John Martinez, and learned how this year will be a bit …

O&O Interview with John D. Martinez

We can’t believe it’s already been 45 years since the San Diego Architectural Foundation has held its first annual Onions & Orchids event! In anticipation, we spoke to this year’s Chair of O&O, John Martinez, and learned how this year will be a bit different by expanding to a broader audience. This way, more people can not only learn about San Diego’s unique and beautiful built environment, but they can also have their voices heard!

O&O Event Chair, John D. Martinez

What made you decide to chair this event?

I’ve been involved with Orchids & Onions for the last five years as a volunteer, and the more I became involved, the more I thought how important it is for San Diego to discuss how we can all improve our built environment. And the second reason is it’s a lot of fun! We always have a blast as a committee putting on this event. And so hopefully, this year will be as fun as years past!

Last year O&O went virtual. Will this year’s event be in person or virtual?

This year it’ll be both! We are going to do a hybrid event. Everything that we learned last year with COVID will help us propel this year’s event into something we’ve never done before – a hybrid event, having both a virtual experience and an in-person experience. So, whether you are in a theater in San Diego or Tokyo, it will be a lot of fun!

Having meetings via Zoom brings a broader audience!

Exactly. The more people learn, the more surprised they are that our built environment is rich and known as the City of Villages – a collection of neighborhoods like Hillcrest, University Heights, Barrio Logan, Kensington, etc. Each has its own unique character, and the City of Villages concept has been used to promote smart growth and walkable communities. Throughout the entire city, there are many notable examples of different styles, periods, and new cutting-edge design that is taking place that we are assisting in showcasing this year.

 Many people are excited to be in person again, but there’s a lot of very hesitant groups, and that’s understandable. Holding it as a hybrid event allows people to join that may still be uncomfortable going out without a mask, or maybe even out at all right now. A hybrid event allows us to serve more of the San Diego community and beyond.

In what way does the O&O program benefit the San Diego Community?

We pass by buildings and parks and plazas and sculpture every day and in our lives. During 2020 a lot of people were at home, and they were walking around their neighborhoods. And I think we have these experiences every day, but at the same time, we’re not able to discuss what is built in our neighborhoods. And this is that one event a year that we can have that conversation and kind of show-off or critique the things built in our neighborhoods and hopefully learn from others.

John D. Martinez

What do you want to see come out of this event?

What I’d love to see is – because we have spent a year apart – is people getting back together again and sharing experiences that we missed out on over the last year.

In addition to that, many great things are happening in National City right now – also San Ysidro, Lemon Grove, Julian, Pacific Beach, and La Jolla. We should focus on what’s happening in these other communities.

What’s unique about San Diego is that we are continually growing and changing so rapidly that it sometimes feels like being a tourist around our own communities. Things are constantly evolving which means we can always go out and check out what’s new.

I think we already touched on this, but why do you think it’s important?

It’s essential to have this dialogue and learn from each other. What is being built or already built in our neighborhoods doesn’t often get a lot of spotlights. And as architects, designers, and different professions in the community, we can all learn from each other. We can share the experiences and the richness that we bring in – our diversity, our community. It’s critical to the success of San Diego to always be learning from one another.

Hearing each other’s perspectives and sharing those differences are opportunities to do that. I get many ideas from other designers and projects throughout the city, and this is our one chance every year where we can showcase those ideas.

What is your favorite part of O&O?

My favorite part is probably the jury tour. We get to go with the jury and tour all the projects nominated by the public throughout the month of June. The tour is at the end of July, and we go from site to site. It’s fantastic to see the diversity of opinions between the jurors, and one juror may look at a building and think it’s the best building ever. And the next year someone may say that it’s the worst building they’ve ever seen in their life. And then they both kind of hash it out. I get why they think the way they do. It’s great to witness that discussion and lead the process to keep things fair. But just being able to hear that conversation happen in person is a lot of fun.

It would be interesting to have people sketch the O&O buildings and see their perspectives!

Since you mentioned sketching, that’s something that we’re going to be doing a little bit differently this year. We have a variety of programs that SDAF provides, and KidSketch, a BEEP program that is geared toward the youth. And last year, we incorporated a youth jury as part of the process. They shared their input along with our professional jury in selecting an Orchids & Onions audience, and we’re going to be doing that again this year.

Along with that, we’re going to do a KidSketch of one of the Orchids & Onions winners projects from last year. It’s great to see the cross-promotion between our programs. Design happens at such a young age. I think a lot of people start this from a young age. To provide these programs and opportunities for kids to get out there to sketch and learn from other architects is incredible.

At the same time, it’s never too late to start those talents. I didn’t wake up at twenty-five and decide I wanted to get into architecture. Sketching is something that I need help with, too. So yeah, I think these programs allow us to get out of our homes and see a building or a public space. And being able to get together and experience it together is fun.

Last year SDAF sponsored a fundraiser to raise scholarship funds in partnership with SDNOMA. Are you doing it again this year?  

Yes. We had such remarkable success in that. There’s a great need for that. It wasn’t just for last year; it’s just as important this year, if not more. We had a considerable amount of people contribute to that scholarship fund. We’re looking to expand on that this year. And again, shed a spotlight on not only the lack of diversity in our neighborhoods but also in our professions.

That’s all I have unless you want to add something else.

June 7th is when we will be kicking off a call for nominations, and I’m excited for them to start coming in! People will be able to log in to our website and submit pictures and information about their favorite and least favorite places in their neighborhoods and be able to comment on those as well.

Thank you, John! We’re excited, too! 






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45th Annual Orchids & Onions

Jury Announcement Drum roll, please! Here we are again, ready to announce our Jury for this year’s 45th Orchids & Onions event coming October 7th!  This year is going to be a hybrid event…in-person and live streaming!  Architect: Gemma Hsiueh  Gemma is a Registered Architect & Principal at RNT Architects who (mainly, but not …

Jury Announcement

Drum roll, please! Here we are again, ready to announce our Jury for this year’s 45th Orchids & Onions event coming October 7th! 

This year is going to be a hybrid event…in-person and live streaming! 

Architect: Gemma Hsiueh 

Gemma is a Registered Architect & Principal at RNT Architects who (mainly, but not only) create incredible institutional architecture such as the City College Campus. There is an excellent interview with Gemma for you to get to know her in her Unfamiliar Voices video.

Architect & Developer: Jeff Svitak 

Jeff trained under prominent San Diego Architect Sebastian Mariscal in the Developer as Architect mindset and has had a successful career working on custom homes and some of our city’s most dynamic mixed-use developments. Jeff’s use of space, light, and materiality is fantastic in every project.

Architect & HRB Member: Matthew Winter 

Matthew is LPA San Diego’s Director of Mixed-Use Projects. He sits on the Historic Resources Board and the Pacific Beach Town Council, and formerly on the Uptown Community Plan. He’s a heck of a nice guy, a great storyteller, and a solid chap to have a beer and a laugh with!

Designer: Rachelle Domingo-Rogers

A designer best known for her restaurants like Cloak & Petal, Little Italy & Mina Lounge in Gaslamp. Young & fun. Nominated by Michelle Harrison-McAllister, one of SDAF’s Directors.

Artist / Educator: Dave Adey

Dave is both an artist and educator as a Professor of Art and Design at Point Loma Nazarene University. He is a recommendation from SDAF Director Kevin de Freitas, citing Dave’s passion for the built environment and his commitment to using his works to spark dialogue.

Construction Manager: Katinka Read 

Katinka is an architect who spent several years in the industry, transitioning into Construction Management with Ryan Companies and managing her architectural firm. She volunteered for O&O a few years ago and is fun and passionate who brings lots of laughs to the jury experience!

Landscape Architect: Neil Hadley 

Neil is Principal of Land-Lab Environmental Design. In 2013 Brian Garrett from Land-Lab was a thoughtful contributor to O&O, and having Neil on this year’s Jury will be a real treat as an industry leader in Landscape Architecture.

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