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SDAF’s Legacy Film Series – Kevin deFreitas, FAIA

As we continue through our Legacy Film Series it makes me smile as I sit down to write about Kevin deFreitas. One of the joys of being part of the San Diego Architectural Foundation (SDAF) is being around people that have pushed me in one way or another. And it …

As we continue through our Legacy Film Series it makes me smile as I sit down to write about Kevin deFreitas.

One of the joys of being part of the San Diego Architectural Foundation (SDAF) is being around people that have pushed me in one way or another. And it is across the board – professionally, in design, volunteerism, and attitude – there is something in each of our people that I take as a gift of motivation and encouragement. And through it all, (and it is most important) I am reminded regularly by “KdF” to remember to have a laugh and not take it all too seriously.

Kevin deFreitas, FAIA has been a pillar of SDAF for over 13 years. He won’t like me saying this, but he has done everything! He’s won all the awards, been on most of our committees, has connected students with scholarship funds, and been a generational link between the old guard and the fresh faces of SDAF. And he does so in the most approachable way. Kevin can be counted on to ensure our board meetings are kept light and always has a poignant comment to balance a conversation, but what I appreciate the most about Kevin is that he takes the time to connect.

Throughout my years with SDAF, especially through the challenging times, Kevin has been the guy who will find time to reach out. It might be a quick text message, or it could be an hour-long phone call, but he always takes the time. He is the glue that recognizes when someone needs support, and he is the first to be there and make the call. Kevin is about as genuine as a person can be. I admire his willingness to be open and honest, and not afraid to be vulnerable in sharing his experiences, and to show encouragement.

I appreciate you, my friend, thank you for being a big part of SDAF for so many people. Keep reminding us to enjoy the journey… especially when it’s in flip-flops.

Pauly.

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SDAF’s Legacy Film Series – Jerry Shonkwiler, AIA

It took three attempts to actually sit down and write an introduction to this Legacy video of architect Jerry Shonkwiler, aka. J-Shonk, not just my nickname for him, but a foundation-wide show of affection and respect for the legend that is Jerry. Somehow, with 10 plus years of preparation for …

It took three attempts to actually sit down and write an introduction to this Legacy video of architect Jerry Shonkwiler, aka. J-Shonk, not just my nickname for him, but a foundation-wide show of affection and respect for the legend that is Jerry. Somehow, with 10 plus years of preparation for a post just like this, I just seemed to come up short each time. How do you thank someone who has been so generous with their time, and so kind in their support? I was lost, honestly, there are just so many things I want to say, and so, on this fourth try, I’ll just say this: from my very first day on the SDAF Board of Directors, Jerry has been an incredibly thoughtful mentor and friend, and is without doubt one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. I am a better leader, friend, collaborator and mentor myself, because of Jerry.

When I was invited to be part of this foundation, I had no understanding of the quality people I was getting involved with. Volunteering was important to me, and so there I was – feeling all “solid” about my effort to get in and participate, only to meet Jerry who was there at the very beginning of SDAF. Way back when it was just an idea in the early 80s, and yet, there he was. STILL participating, officially, for 20 years, on this well-established Board of Directors. 20 years, crikey. That’s a long time to do anything, but for someone to volunteer their time towards a non-profit organization, asking nothing in return, I find it just straight up inspirational, and there is no question his contributions have fueled my own desire to continue in my volunteerism too.
 
Jerry’s contributions to SDAF are countless. He spearheaded our Scholarships program, has been an active committee member for all our curated events, donated his time and photographic talents to our Orchids & Onions program as well as donating framed prints for our silent auction. I own one myself titled “thanks for nothing hippies.”
 

Jerry – you have set the bar my friend, and you set it high. You have led by example. Through your actions, your kindness, and your humor, you have been and will always be a part of the SDAF family. We are in your debt sir. Thank you!

Pauly.

 

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Get Ready . . . Open House is Coming!

Mark your calendars – March 18-20, 2022, Open House San Diego (OH! SD) will provide a behind-the-scenes look at notable architecture, public spaces, and more with guided and self-guided tours and curated experiences across 7 San Diego-area neighborhoods: Barrio Logan, City Heights, Coronado, Downtown, La Mesa, National City, and new …

UC San Diego North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood. Photo by Erik Jepsen.

Mark your calendars – March 18-20, 2022, Open House San Diego (OH! SD) will provide a behind-the-scenes look at notable architecture, public spaces, and more with guided and self-guided tours and curated experiences across 7 San Diego-area neighborhoods: Barrio Logan, City Heights, Coronado, Downtown, La Mesa, National City, and new for 2022 — UC San Diego! Recognized as one of the top 15 research universities worldwide, you’re invited to hop on the new Blue Line trolley to explore our crown jewel on the mesa.

The trolley conveniently stops just a short walk from the new Design Innovation Building and the Design Lab – this will be the OH! SD Hub and information about the World Design Capital 2024 will be presented.  From there take a walking tour crossing by the Geisel Library, on to the Stuart Collection of public art (for fun, there’s even a scavenger hunt!), then along the Ridge Walk landscaped pathway to the new North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood.  There’s even more in store for OH! 2022, but for a look back, here’s a fascinating chronology of the history of the campus dating back to 1903.

Ricardo Rabines and Taal Safdie

Read on to hear from our UC San Diego Neighborhood Sponsor: Safdie Rabines, the design minds behind the new North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood.

Since creating the firm in 1993, we have applied our passion for an architecture that is inspired and informed by its environment, context, scale, and humanity, striving to create buildings and places that connect to the landscape and enhance and contribute to their greater community.

As the practice nears its 30th year in San Diego, our portfolio of projects has grown to include a diverse range of project typologies.  At our inception, our first projects were single-family homes, and housing today has become cornerstone of our practice, expanding to include student housing, mixed-use, and affordable housing at multiple scales.  All of these incorporating the same design guiding principles of integrating landscape with good usable outdoor space, maximizing natural light and views, while providing privacy and a sense of place.

Our relationship with UC San Diego began in our first years of practice and has continued to this day. Working on the campus at UC San Diego as offered us the opportunity to develop a wide variety of project types and scales including planning/visioning, bridges, student housing, improvements to the public realm, classrooms, research facilities and conference centers.  Our most recently completed project, the North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood, is one of the most transformative and ambitious projects the university has undertaken.  The 1.6M square foot facility is an interdisciplinary environment blending academic, residential, commercial, and cultural programming.

Photo by Alex Mathews.

In the coming months, the new Epstein Family Amphitheater project will be finished, creating a new venue that will contribute to the cultural impact that UC San Diego continues to provide our region.  In addition, it is with great anticipation that we expect the opening of the new Ted and Jean Scripps Marine Conservation and Technology Facility at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography, expanding their important research as stewards of our oceans and environment.

As we begin our third decade in practice, we look forward with tireless optimism as we strive to make a meaningful impact in the region and beyond.

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VIP Member Spotlight: It’s a Small World for San Diego Real Estate Developer Jacob Schwartz

Local developer Jacob Schwartz Micro-units can offer big-time experiences. Just ask Jacob Schwartz, the founding president of Urban Coastal Development, one of several San Diego real estate developers embracing the trend. He is the visionary behind Downtown’s most talked about micro-units in the Gaslamp, slated to open in Spring 2022. …

Local developer Jacob Schwartz

Micro-units can offer big-time experiences. Just ask Jacob Schwartz, the founding president of Urban Coastal Development, one of several San Diego real estate developers embracing the trend. He is the visionary behind Downtown’s most talked about micro-units in the Gaslamp, slated to open in Spring 2022. The hottest perk? Proximity. It’s 10 steps—count ‘em—to the forthcoming Campus at Horton.

Schwartz’s adaptive reuse of 939 Fourth Avenue transforms a mostly vacant office building into 27 buzzy micro-units. At 330-square-feet, the units are geared toward a critical segment of renters: young professionals with a renewed interest in urban, authentic centers, transit-rich locations where walkability is a must. This generation of renters values minimalism and location over splashy amenities and floor plans.

Downtown micro unit developed by Jacob Schwartz

“The Campus at Horton is going to be such a big part of downtown’s new personality,” says Schwartz. “Our biggest amenity is the connection to everything outside our front door.”

If anyone is fluent in the downtown development scene, it’s Schwartz. For the last 20 years, the native San Diegan has helped light up the local building renaissance, driving marketing efforts for Sapphire Tower and Smart Corner while working alongside titans like Doug Austin of the Ballpark District and Nat Bosa, the Canadian developer who elevated San Diego’s skyline and luxury factor.

“I’ve been an eye witness to the power of redevelopment, which has completely revitalized the urban fabric throughout the city,” says Schwartz.

Campus at Horton is not just a reconfiguration of the old Horton Plaza mall. The 1-million-square-foot redevelopment will be 10 blocks of mixed re-use, including a sustainable, high-tech hub in the heart of Downtown San Diego. Horton will be the epitome of a modern office—complete with retail, food and beverage outlets, public park space, and theaters.

Using the latest in mixed re-use and green building practices, the redevelopment of Horton will deliver all the benefits of a new modern building without the environmental impact and costs associated with ground-up construction. The development is pursuing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum green building certification and WELL Platinum certification through the U.S. Green Building Council.

It’s also more accessible thanks to the new blue line trolley, which links Tijuana and Downtown to UTC and UC San Diego.

“For the first time in history, all three of San Diego’s main college campuses are connected to downtown. A whole new world of campus housing has been opened,” says Schwartz, an alum of University of San Diego.

Schwartz is lecturer at his alma mater, USD’s Burnham-Moore’s Center for Real Estate. He has a special passion for nurturing the careers of his younger colleagues who are pursuing courses in development and real estate finance. He remains a strong supporter of SDAF particularly to this next generation.

“The more connected you can be to the industry, on both the design front and business development side, the more nuanced your San Diego community can become,” he says. “SDAF unites the disciplines of our built environment.“

 

Interview & write up by Gillian Flynn, connect with her at https://gillianvflynn.com/

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Corner Office: We Take 5 With SDAF’s Managing Director, Lauren Cook

Lauren at Point Loma Nazarene University’s Science Center. Photo by Tomoko H. Matsubayashi, connect with her at tomografica.com In a profession as collaborative as design, it is crucial to raise awareness, give back, and get involved with the nonprofit organizations dedicated to making positive change. Enter Lauren Cook, Managing Director …

Lauren at Point Loma Nazarene University’s Science Center. Photo by Tomoko H. Matsubayashi, connect with her at tomografica.com

In a profession as collaborative as design, it is crucial to raise awareness, give back, and get involved with the nonprofit organizations dedicated to making positive change. Enter Lauren Cook, Managing Director of the San Diego Architecture Foundation (SDAF).

“Community is what makes us so special,” says Cook, who lives in South Bay.

With 28 years of experience in the non-profit sector, Cook dedicates her time, knowledge, and resources to supporting the SDAF community, which relies on the tireless efforts of hundreds of volunteers to orchestrate a calendar buzzing with events.

Raised in Jamaica, the daughter of missionaries, Cook is passionate about increasing awareness and diversity, intersectionality, and inclusion through open dialogues to inspire the next generation of change agents. Or at the very leastadmirers of design. Cook was reared on helping others: she is the Executive Director of Survivors of Suicide Loss San Diego and worked previously in development for PROMISES2KIDS. She brings dynamic experience in the built environment space, having worked alongside the Southern California Rental Housing Association, the San Diego Green Building Council, Citizens Coordinate for Century 3 (C-3), and Uplift San Diego.

“Membership is really about inclusivity,” she says. “Our events reflect every nuance of design and give everyone a part in creation. Architects visualize a structure and then builders bring it to life. Landscape architects harmonize it with the environment and interior designers/artists continue the flow with paint, textiles, art, lighting, sound and much more. We are a community organization because that is what design is. Communal creation.

Lauren at Point Loma Nazarene University’s Prescott Prayer Chapel. Photo by Tomoko H. Matsubayashi, connect with her at tomografica.com

Here, we sit down with Cook on OH! San Diego 2022, the World Design Capital designation, her newfound sketching prowess, and why Point Loma Nazarene University is a must-see for any architecture lover.  

WDC 2024 is a huge deal. Why? It’s a fascinating partnership with Tijuana. I was pretty honored to be one of the people from an organization who was asked to be in the room when the consortium pitched our region to the WDC delegate, who had just come in from Russia. After AIA, SDAF had the most tenure with almost 45 years in existence. The designation allows us to be a recognized globally as a leader in transborder design. Throughout 2024, an international spotlight will fundamentally strengthen design values across our region, raising awareness and collaboration. The WDC amplifies existing initiatives and strengthens alliances across policy, social change, culture, and infrastructure.

Save the Date  OH! San Diego is such an incredible program and again – is part of worldwide series of these community events. This year on March 18th-20 we are doing a “collection” of neighborhoods featuring different communities in the region. They are diverse, special and offer a unique flair. We’re also leaning into a sub theme of transit to explore our public access in San Diego. Think walking tours, bike tours, trolleyaccessible neighborhoods. It’s all about connectivity.

The perks of membership? They are numerous. For one, SDAF’s general membership is free, which is not typical. The board voted last year to remove any barrier to the San Diego design community. We want families, young people, old people, ANY people, to have access to architecture and design. We also have a VIP membership that allows members to support us while accessing some dynamic programs which are designed with them in mind. Every month, we provide something for community members to participate in.

BEEP’s KidSketch? It’s a new way of seeing. Learning how to sketch has forced me to slow down and really look at structures. And each one has an amazing backstory! I haven’t missed a sketch since September of 2020. And I now have three sketches on my phone that I will promptly show you if you ask. It’s one of SDAF’s rockstar programs, and we recently secured a county grant to ensure its foothold for generations to come.

You graduated from Point Loma Nazarene University. Tell us about the award-winning architecture scene here. The property has a long history and was originally a theosophical society. They have created some incredible buildings, most notably the spectacular Greek Amphitheater. Recently Carrier Johnson + CULTURE designed two buildings (shown): the Prescott Prayer Chapel and the Science Center. The chapel is lovely and has this stirring effect when you enter. I love the science building because such care has been taken to make it fit with the land and space. Firsttime visitors here always say “I had no idea this was all here!

Finish this sentence. Design is… For everyone.

Lauren & Gillian at Point Loma Nazarene University’s Science Center. Photo by Tomoko H. Matsubayashi, connect with her at tomografica.com

Interview & write up by Gillian Flynn, connect with her at https://gillianvflynn.com/

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Lasting legacies – mourning the loss of two wonderful Architects

Our condolences to the families, friends, and colleagues of the two great Architects we lost this week. Locally, founder of SILLMAN (Architects), Larry Sillman passed away at the age of 76. I personally had the opportunity to collaborate with Larry and his team on a couple of projects and found …

Our condolences to the families, friends, and colleagues of the two great Architects we lost this week.


Locally, founder of SILLMAN (Architects), Larry Sillman passed away at the age of 76. I personally had the opportunity to collaborate with Larry and his team on a couple of projects and found Larry to be a kind, always upbeat & positive influence on those around him. He cared deeply about the people around him, culminating in SILLMAN being named PSMJ Resource Inc’s #1 Employer of Choice in 2021. That was the type of leader & mentor Larry was. You can read about Larry’s career in this SD News article about his retirement just months ago.

SILLMAN made this announcement on their Instagram account:

“It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of our dear friend and founding principal Larry Sillman.
Larry was a beloved member of the San Diego community and active player in shaping the Architectural landscape we call home. We can say, without a doubt, that his time with us left a lasting, positive impact that will continue to live on well beyond his years.
Thank you Larry for always offering a helping hand with kindness, patience, and insightful understanding.
We’ll miss you.”

Also this week we lost one of the international giants of modern, tech-influenced architecture & Pritzker Price awardee – Sir Richard Rogers. He was best known for designing the Pompidou Center in Paris (in partnership with Renzo Piano) and the Lloyd’s Building in London, but Rogers influence stretched all around the world. Trying to write about the influence Rogers has had on so many architects is simply overwhelming – I mean, the words ‘industry giant’ don’t even seem to cut it when thinking about his work. He’s been an active example of the power of design, the belief in sustainability & technologies and an advocate for regionalistic architecture for longer than I’ve been alive.  I’ll simple encourage you to read more about Rogers in this New York Times article.

Our built environment is better for both of their contributions, and we thank them for it.

Pauly

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SDAF’s Legacy Film Series – Maxine Ward, AIA

Continuing our Legacy Film Series this week we celebrate one of SDAF’s all-time legends, Maxine Ward. It’s been 16 years since Maxine joined the San Diego Architectural Foundation and 2021 has been her final year on our board. Her list of accomplishments for SDAF is mind-blowing, check this out… Along …

Continuing our Legacy Film Series this week we celebrate one of SDAF’s all-time legends, Maxine Ward.

It’s been 16 years since Maxine joined the San Diego Architectural Foundation and 2021 has been her final year on our board. Her list of accomplishments for SDAF is mind-blowing, check this out…

Along with David McCullough, Maxine led the effort to reinvent & relaunch the Orchids & Onions Awards in 2006, paving the way for the fun & energetic program that is today.

From 2010-2011 Maxine was SDAF’s Vice President, supporting Larry Hoeksema who was President at the time. In 2012 Maxine stepped up to the role of President and guided SDAF through it’s most challenging financial times. Keeping the foundations doors open was the priority and can be attributed to Maxine’s leadership for the three years (2012, 2013 & 2014) we were fortunate to have her as our President. Being her VP during these years gave me a personal insight into her passion for SDAF and her no-nonsense, dedicated leadership style.

As if that wasn’t enough, in 2015 Maxine led a new committee to launch OH! San Diego as part of the internationally successful Open House community. As only the second city in the United States at the time to join in the Open House effort, it was a giant commitment to showcasing San Diego’s built environment as a free program to the public. A team of volunteers set up around town and property owners generously shared their spaces. It was an enormous success, a program that we proudly curate annually since, and it was all due to Maxine’s dedication & leadership.

Honestly I could go on for days about how much I appreciate & respect Maxine, so I’ll just leave it with the fact that I am thrilled to celebrate Max for ALL of her contributions to San Diego’s built environment. And to formally acknowledge her efforts, we are awarding her this ORCHID for finally recognizing that 16 years is one heck of a run. Love you Max.

Pauly 

P.S. check out this great post from AIA San Diego on Maxine from when she was recognized with AIA San Diego’s 2015 Young Architect of the Year Award.

or watch the video here on SDAF’s YouTube channel  

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Coming on Strong: Urban Designers Gather for Strong Town event and Ponder “Stroads”

  “If you need a sign to tell people to slow down, you’ve designed your street wrong,” said Charles Marohn to an intimate crowd on November 18th at the San Diego History Center. On this night, SDAF sponsored a ULI (Urban Land Institute) speaking engagement and book signing with Charles …

 

“If you need a sign to tell people to slow down, you’ve designed your street wrong,” said Charles Marohn to an intimate crowd on November 18th at the San Diego History Center.

On this night, SDAF sponsored a ULI (Urban Land Institute) speaking engagement and book signing with Charles Marohn, founder, president and podcaster of Strong Towns, a grassroots organization that supports a drastically different model of development for America’s cities, towns, and neighborhoods.

Marohn was on tour with his current book, “Confessions of a Recovering Engineer: Transportation for a Strong Town.” As someone who reexamines transportation infrastructure—and its values and assumptions—for a living, it seemed fitting that he commandeered the ever-widening Interstate 5 to reach his final destination at Balboa Park.

Having spent two decades analyzing urban growth patterns as a land use planner and Professional Engineer (PE) licensed in the State of Minnesota, Marohn believes the post-World War II approach to town and city planning has led to debt problems, wasteful infrastructure investments and seemingly incurable congestion.

As a country, the US is good at construction and building things like “stroads,” he said, which creates an illusion of wealth. Cities favor mega-watt, large-scale finished projects over more organic, incremental growth. Changes as small as road width, for example, can make cities more vibrant.

“A stroad is a street/road hybrid. I have often called it the ‘futon of transportation alternatives’. Where a futon is an uncomfortable couch that also serves as an uncomfortable bed, a stroad is an auto corridor that does not move cars efficiently while simultaneously providing little in the way of value.”


So, what makes a strong town? Towns must prioritize human mobility to solve congestion. Walkable cities lead directly to growth, Marohn said. Building downtowns and neighborhoods with complex street design can make a local economy thrive. To the landscape architect’s delight—not just any design will do.

“A sidewalk or a path does not make a place walkable. A comfortable and safe walking experience does,” he said.

Marohn has built a vibrant online community around his new vision of urban development that breaks with modern practices. He authored “Thoughts on Building Strong Towns” — Volume 1 and Volume 2 — as well as “A World Class Transportation
System.”

In synopsis – a Strong Towns approach:

  • Relies on small, incremental investments instead of large, transformative projects
  • Emphasizes resiliency of result over efficiency of execution
  • Is designed to adapt to feedback
  • Is inspired by bottom-up action and not top-down systems
  • Seeks to conduct as much of life as possible at a personal scale
  • Is obsessive about accounting for its revenues, expenses, assets and long-term
    liabilities
  • Understands why the conventional approach to solving chronic transportation
    problems—as well as the latest fads—are actually making things worse
Write up by Gillian Flynn, connect with her at https://gillianvflynn.com/

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Beyond the Buildings: Dennis O’Connor and his Acre of Awesome

    Acre of Awesome might be one of the most sustainably driven venues to host Pecha Kucha Night in San Diego. Ever. When the pandemic hit, Dennis O’Connor, co-founder of Thorn Brewing, had already planned to “re-craft” overstocked beer into a new line of spirits. He anticipated an average …

 
 
Acre of Awesome might be one of the most sustainably driven venues to host Pecha Kucha Night in San Diego. Ever. When the pandemic hit, Dennis O’Connor, co-founder of Thorn Brewing, had already planned to “re-craft” overstocked beer into a new line of spirits. He anticipated an average of 2-4 trucks a month to dabble and experiment. Instead, he was facing down 4-6 trucks a week of unused, about-to-expire beer. And so, the revolutionary ReBru Spirits was born.
 
“I unrolled my camping mat and I was sleeping at the distillery,” says the North Park native and CEO of San Diego Taxman. “The pandemic absolutely accelerated our plan.”
 
The Barrio Logan compound became an R&D lab for sustainability and indoor-outdoor food and beverage concepts. The team worked 24-7 to conjure craft gin, vodka, and limited-edition whiskey from unsold craft beer. To date, the distillery has processed over 400,000 gallons of repurposed beer—or 3.2 million pints—destined for landfills. Their efforts have lessened the burden on municipal wastewater treatment facilities and mitigated the impact on local ecosystems. And they’ve wooed judges along the way: their refined small-batch vodka and gin has won eleven awards in four competitions.
 
Meanwhile, as local restaurants were racing to create more outdoor dining space, O’Connor was repurposing more than beer alone. He was buying furniture and equipment at a clip from local restaurant auctions.
 
“We never could have planned for this layout,” says O’Connor of the historic Fraser’s Boiler Service building that houses the ventures. “The design almost created itself.”
 
Acre of Awesome combines several different establishments in one: there’s Thorn’s 30-barrel brewhouse and tasting room, featuring signature and seasonal brews like Coconut Porter, Guava IPA, and Hard Ginger Beer. Add to the list Kové Hard Yerba Mate: a new twist on a classic South American beverage, it is available on tap and in to-go four packs.
 
Here on National Avenue, sustainability is no mere buzz word. It’s the main ingredient. On any given night, the outdoor pizza restaurant churns out wood-fired pies utilizing spent grains in the crust. And the barbeque establishment—serving pulled pork, brisket, smoked turkey, and ribs—provides the charcoal and charred oak to filter and flavor the spirits.
 
“It was a pure passion project,” says O’Connor. “It wouldn’t have become such a dynamic space so quickly if it wasn’t for COVID allowing us to work on the business instead of in it.”

Interview & write up by Gillian Flynn, connect with her at https://gillianvflynn.com/

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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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