Blog

How Citythinkers is Finding Purpose in City Heights

By Beth Geraci Open House San Diego (OH San Diego) long had been on Diego Velasco’s radar. As a spectator, he’d always enjoyed participating in the annual architectural showcase. But something about 2021 seemed like the right time for more. This year, Velasco’s company, Citythinkers, will be an Open House …

By Beth Geraci

Open House San Diego (OH San Diego) long had been on Diego Velasco’s radar. As a spectator, he’d always enjoyed participating in the annual architectural showcase. But something about 2021 seemed like the right time for more.

This year, Velasco’s company, Citythinkers, will be an Open House sponsor for the first time. Velasco, the company’s principal and founder, chose to sponsor Open House San Diego 2021 for several reasons — but OH’s turn toward equity and inclusion in 2021 had a lot to do with it.

A Man Inspired by Architecture, Urban Planning and Affordable Solutions

Diego Velasco

Velasco wanted to send the message that his business, a multidisciplinary planning, urban design and research-based firm based in North Park, celebrates equity and inclusion, too. As Citythinkers immerses itself in two City Heights affordable housing projects, Velasco is feeling solidarity with the residents there, many of whom are refugees.

Both Citythinkers projects are at the heart of City Heights’ Urban Village, a prominent intersection where four neighborhoods converge. The area already is home to a library, a park, nonprofits and other businesses. Thanks to Citythinkers, it soon will be home to additional affordable apartment units as well.

Citythinkers’ first City Heights project is a five-story, 75-unit apartment building at Fairmount and University Avenues. While Velasco designed the building, he partnered with Dess Partners on the complex, which features two- and three-bedroom family housing units for low-income families earning 60 percent of the area’s median income. The project also includes a community center that local nonprofits can use as event space.

A rendering of the five-story, 75-unit apartment building Citythinkers has in the works

The company’s second City Heights project, the Union Bank Apartments, will be a 60-unit building at 44th Street and University Avenue.

“We have such a need for housing, particularly affordable housing, in San Diego,” says Velasco, who for the last three years has taught a housing policy class at University of California San Diego (UCSD). “Knowing that you are contributing to a solution and helping families find a secure place to live is meaningful work. Housing revitalizes a neighborhood and brings it to life.”

Effective design and urban planning can help communities flourish, Velasco says, and he embraces any opportunity to play a part in that. “Even if my work makes a difference for just one family, it’s worthwhile,” he says.

Two Missions Aligned

With Open House San Diego set to take place from March 5-12, the program’s focus on diversity intersected with Velasco’s own ideals at just the right time. OH this year touts the theme “Design + Community,” inspiring San Diegans to explore what those two concepts mean in their own lives. For Velasco, the theme sends the message that quality design is a group effort.

“The best design is born from a collaboration from community members,” he says. “It leads to a deeper understanding of the community that you’re designing in. The most compelling designs tie back to the culture of a place, and there’s no way to understand that without engaging more deeply with the people who live there.”

All of this Velasco came to as an architecture student at UC Berkeley, where the program is grounded in social and cultural design considerations. With a masters in urban planning from the University of Washington, Velasco strives to find the ways architecture and urban planning intersect. If this summer’s awakening on social justice put communities like City Heights at the forefront, it’s a realm where Velasco’s passions spring to life.

“City Heights is such a rich community culturally, and it’s important for San Diegans to learn about it and see its contributions to San Diego as a whole,” Velasco says. “The people who live there are invested in each other and in the community. They’re opening businesses and committing for the long term. All of this is wonderful to showcase through Open House San Diego, and I’m proud to play a role in it.”

Interested in becoming an Open House San Diego sponsor? Email openhouse@sdarchitecture.org to learn how.

Continue Reading

How Malick Infill Development is Helping to Build Community in National City

You can hear the excitement in Andrew Malick’s voice when he talks about his company’s latest project, 8th and B in National City, being developed in partnership with Protea Properties. The project is a collaboration between three SDAF partner firms, including Malick Infill Development, The Miller Hull Partnership, and McCullough …

Andrew Malick

You can hear the excitement in Andrew Malick’s voice when he talks about his company’s latest project, 8th and B in National City, being developed in partnership with Protea Properties. The project is a collaboration between three SDAF partner firms, including Malick Infill Development, The Miller Hull Partnership, and McCullough Landscape Architecture.

The Malick Mindset

With Masters degrees in architecture and urban design, Malick the man heads up the small boutique development firm that bears his name. There, the focus is on placemaking, transit-centered communities, and enhancing walkability in San Diego neighborhoods. Malick team members bring a conscientiousness to their work, only committing to projects that can minimize environmental impact and improve quality of life.

“At Malick Infill Development, we care about what we’re doing,” Malick says. “We strive to build projects that provide value to the community, that contribute to the greater good of residents. We advocate for pedestrian-focused lifestyles that encourage interaction, whether it be at the farmer’s market or in a courtyard. Development for us is all about building community, and doing it in an ecological way.”

New Development Makes National City a Nice Addition to Open House San Diego

As the National City Neighborhood Sponsor for Open House San Diego , Malick is excited about how the 2021 showcase has changed with the times. National City is one of seven neighborhoods being featured in OH! San Diego, along with Chula Vista, Southeast San Diego, City Heights, Barrio Logan, San Marcos, and La Mesa.

“The evolution of these neighborhoods will be on full display,” Malick says, “A lot of these neighborhoods have flown under the radar. Open House is putting them in the limelight, and they absolutely deserve the attention. We are really looking forward to showing community members and visitors a behind- the-scenes look at our development and all of the great things happening in National City.”

An aerial view of Malick Infill Development’s 8th and B project

Malick’s 8th and B project is located right at the heart of downtown National City. When completed in late summer, it will improve quality of life by contributing to a more walkable neighborhood that fosters a sense of community. In that way, it perfectly encapsulates OH! San Diego’s 2021 theme, “Design + Community.”

“We’re excited to be at the forefront of the transformation in downtown National City,” says Malick, who until the 8th and B project had only developed projects in neighborhoods where he had lived. “Successful projects are a reflection of the neighborhood and the community where they exist. It extends from the colors and materials that we select, to the fonts we use in our signage, to the mix of uses in the development itself.”

Mixed-Use Property Improves Quality of Life

In National City, Malick Infill Development saw an opportunity to create a true urban project of mixed use, with the commercial spaces designed as smaller shops to attract local businesses and reflect the neighborhood’s character.

In working on the project, the developer wanted to serve as “an invited guest,” allowing the community to play a part. By showcasing local businesses in the project’s space, it will do just that. Overall, the development will feature storefronts, communal gathering spaces, and127 rental units for people of all ages and walks of life. The project offers a variety of unit types from small studios to larger row homes, designed to house a diverse population, from young singles, to families, to senior citizens.

Says Malick Infill Development Director of Planning Kathy Breedlove “The City of National City really set the stage for the transformation that is happening downtown, beginning with the 8th Street Revitalization project, which improved the street to make it more walkable and pedestrian friendly. Then the Downtown Specific Plan encouraged mixed-use development by providing a framework and design guidelines to guide new development in a way that contributes to the community.”

There is a rich history in National City and a sense of place, and there’s a lot happening there to make it a true destination. While the 8th & B development literally is rising up — you can see it from the freeway, there’s a lot more going on at the street level. When all of it is completed, downtown National City will be home to the Market on 8th , a public market with a taco shop, a brewery, and local artisans; as well as other new business such as a coffee roaster, joining long-time neighborhood favorites like Neiderfrank’s Ice Cream and Napoleone’s pizza.

“It’s so exciting to see the area take on a new energy,” Malick says. “When the work is completed, National City will have a centralized urban space where people can go to a restaurant, socialize, and kick back. Along with great outdoor spaces like Kimball Park and Paradise Creek, National City is a great place to call home. “

To stay in the know about the latest and greatest about Open House 2021, sign up to receive OH! updates!

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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)

 

 

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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).

Continue Reading

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!

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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!

Continue Reading

Contact Us

San Diego Architectural Foundation

Phone
619.232.1385

Email
info@sdarchitecture.org

Address
P.O. Box 122228
San Diego, CA 92112-2228
Federal Tax ID: 95-3513927

Sign Up

Stay on top of your Architectural news

About
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.

Get in the Mix