OH 2021 Chats & Experiences


OH! Chats & Experiences

In addition to virtual and self-guided tours, Open House San Diego 2021 offered a slate of panel discussions and socially distanced outdoor experiences. Catch up on what you may have missed by browsing the OH! Chats & Experiences below.




OH! Chats – Watch Now


Date: Live Streamed March 4, 2021

Hosted by:  SDAF


Join SDAF for a panel discussion exploring the next generation of growth in La Mesa, and how good design practices will help create a sustainable future.


Image credit: The Haven at La Mesa; photography by Pacific Living Properties


Michele Hottel –Architect and City of La Mesa Planning Commissioner (Moderator)
Jim Newland – President, La Mesa Historical Society
Allyson Kinnard – Senior City Planner with City of La Mesa
Drew Hubbell – Principal Architect and Owner, Hubbell and Hubbell
Thomas L. Edmunds, Jr – Development Director, Silvergate Development
Craig Abenilla – Principal, Foundation for Form



Design Your Future: Careers that Change Communities


Date: Live Streamed March 5, 2021


Hosted by: The Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, in partnership with OH!

For:  Middle-schoolers and high-schoolers

The Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, together with the San Diego Architectural Foundation and as part of Open House San Diego, is happy to host Design Your Future: Careers that Change Communities.

The panel features a diverse group of professionals in architecture, engineering and construction who will talk about their work and their career paths. Moderated by Eric Henson, policy advisor for City Councilmember Monica Montgomery Steppe’s office (District 4).

This panel is an opportunity for middle and high school students to hear from and ask questions of professionals working on projects throughout San Diego and in neighborhoods like Southeastern San Diego and Barrio Logan.  It is our hope that conversations like these will provide new pathways and access points for young people to explore careers that provide professional growth opportunities and the power to positively shape communities physically, socially, and economically.


Eric Henson – (moderator) Policy Advisor for Councilmember Monica Montgomery-Steppe
Carmen Vann – LEED AP B D +C, Project Executive B N Builders
Edgar Camerino – PE, Principal, RICK Engineering
Alfonso Barragan – Associate Principal, Safdie Rabines Architects
Kayleigh Cornejo – 5th year Architecture student, Woodbury University






Built Environment Education Program (BEEP): KidSketch


Date: Live Streamed March 6, 7, and 13, 2021

National City Aquatic Center – VIEW NOW  

Ocean Discovery Institute – VIEW NOW  

Chula Vista Library South – VIEW NOW

SDAF Board Member Laura DuCharme Conboy, AIA, is the Matisse of architectural sketching, and in these hands-on lessons for kids and adults, she’ll show others how to do it. Each of these sessions features a different architectural icon and OH! Site, with special guest appearances including architect Ricardo Rabines of Safdie Rabines Architects and Diego Velasco of CityThinkers.



Collaboration, Connection, Community


Date: Live Streamed March 9, 2021

Hosted by: AIGA San Diego in partnership with OH!



How do we foster partnerships between individuals to create something new, something better? How can we open doors in our own work to connect and lift up members of the community— from working professionals, to students, to those transitioning within the workforce?

Beyond the tools of technology that connect us on a daily basis, collaboration is an instinctual human activity. To put it simply, collaboration happens when two or more people work together, purposely, towards a shared goal. Join us as we discuss the power of collaboration and how partnering up can boost ideas and initiatives, taking them to new heights.


Ashanti Davis – Exhibitions Manager at Fleet Science Center
Genevieve DePerio Fong – Logistics Team, Medical Operations Center County of San Diego
Don Hollis – Founder of Hollis Brand Culture



Design for Good


Date: Live streamed March 11, 2021

Hosted by:  AIA San Diego in partnership with OH!

Viewing Link Coming Soon!

Join us for a panel discussion featuring local architectural designers as they offer up a virtual tour of exemplary projects the world over which embody the highest design standards (with the awards and citations to back them), while also making a positive impact in under-served, disenfranchised communities.



Kurt Hunker – FAIA, Design Consultant for Davy Architecture | Monarch School
The Good: Educates students affected by homelessness, Barrio Logan

Eric Naslund – FAIA, Studio E | Washington Street Apartments
The Good: Low-income senior housing, La Quinta, CA

Laura Lesniewski – FAIA; Danielle Buttacavoli – AIA AICP, BNIM | Asilong Christian High School
Two designers from BNIM discuss their Design for Good approach featuring a High school campus with a profound emphasis on sustainability in Northwest Kenya and an affordable housing project in the Southcrest neighborhood of San Diego




In keeping with our Design + Community theme, our partners at San Diego Design Week have curated a special selection of 2020 SDDW self-guided and virtual tours, sharing more exciting opportunities to explore architecture, urban design, and the built environment in our region.


Browse from the following selection of SDDW programs:

Walls as Windows of Reality: Cross Border Urban Art: Follow this self-guided tour to visit recently created murals, all along the same street in San Ysidro. Mural artists include: Mr B Baby, Fifí Martínez, Isaias Crow, Luisa Martinez and David Pena, Hector Villegas, Sand Oner, Mary Jhun, and Victor Ochoa.

BIPOC History Ride: This self-guided bike ride takes you on a celebration of the rich cultural history of San Diego by experiencing historic homes, buildings and landmarks that tell the legacy of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) in the community. Our virtual and self-guided bike route travels to areas of interest in the urban core of San Diego. Sites feature stories of people, places, policy, and land-use that tell the narrative of San Diego’s diverse community.

Watersheds of San Diego with Artist Roman de Salvo: Take this self-guided tour in which artist Roman de Salvo guides us through the watersheds of San Diego through the prism of five public art works. The tour begins among the mountains of Mission Trails Regional Park and ultimately leads to the ocean, next to the mouth of the San Diego River, showing the underlying ecological connections of seemingly unrelated parts of the city.

10 Neighborhoods: Revisited: This virtual exhibition tells the story of ten San Diego neighborhoods in photos. This free-form collection of signs, stores, and other street-level ephemera encourage exploration of our city beyond the usual sun and surf you find in travel imagery.

Public Spaces by Design: Imperial Beach: This self-guided tour features the Outdoor Surfboard Museum; two public art installations, Surfhenge and Illuminations; and the Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center, which overlooks one of California’s two nature reserves.

Court Arts 101: Check out a short video that documents the process of a collaborative team built from A.R.T.S. staff, local students, and design pros launching a project to revamp a basketball court in National City. The team hoped to build a new model, where students engage with design through a real world challenge while enriching their community in the meantime.

Iconic Signage and a City’s Identity: Watch a video presentation and take a self-guided tour showcasing San Diego’s unique collection of community identity signs. Some are historic, some are more modern, but all help to create a sense of place for the unique character of the community they represent. These signs are a sense of pride for residents, a welcoming feature for visitors, and often a driver for economic development.

Drive-Thru Art Gallery: Get in your car and take yourself on this self-guided driving tour, where you will experience an outdoor art gallery located throughout a one mile stretch from the 805 to the 15 freeway on University Avenue. The exhibition features over 20 murals painted by youth, international artists, local artists, UCSD and SDSU students, and members of the City Heights community.

Virtual Tiny House Tour: Join for a virtual tour of a 156 sq. ft. tiny house designed and built by Mariah Hoffman of Micro Modula. The tour includes both exterior and interior features, process highlights, and a budget breakdown from the designer/builder herself. The tour also touches upon lessons learned relating to safe space, placemaking, and where the business has gone since.

Positive Influence: Design Education + Community Projects: Watch this panel discussion that highlights the values and mutual benefits of incorporating community stakeholders and real-life projects in design education, as a multidisciplinary group of panelists presents the results of the Wetlands Education and Research Center (WERC) project.


OH! Experiences


Barrio Logan: A Creative Cultural Experience

Urban Design Finds Bike Tour: San Diego Cycling Public/Ron Miriello collaborated with Open House San Diego to guide a bike tour of some of Barrio Logan’s lesser-known points of interest, including Airstream restorers, a hidden oceanfront park, a skatepark, and alley art. Tour-goers also enjoyed an impromptu serenade by a strolling musician.



Drive-in Showcase:  Woodbury University  hosted an outdoor art installation where architecture students across San Diego shared their work speaking to the theme of Design + Community. Missed it? You can watch the video.






Meet the Makers: TECTURE hosted Meet the Makers, a just-for-OH pop-up exhibition featuring the work of local makers and creatives, with the BAM! Wall providing a made-for-instagram photo opp.



Bread & Salt:  OH! Visitors enjoyed a new art exhibition hosted by Bread & Salt featuring the work of Carlos Castro: Remorses and Other Maladies








Meet the Designer:  Hector Perez (video) showcased the design thinking behind two Barrio Logan developments, one built and one under construction, with process sketches, models, and visions of what’s to come at Los Patios and the adjacent People’s Lot, owned by Rudy Pimentel. Read more below about the People’s Lot Renovation.

The renovation of The People’s Lot is the exciting result of a partnership fostered between traditionally opposed agencies: Community Advocates and Private Developers, facilitated by Architecture Students & Alumni from Woodbury University School of Architecture. This exciting contradiction offers a new, prototypical approach for our city-making practices. Both parties are interested in advancing civic well-being, and their cooperation will generate new opportunities for common ground, peace, and social interaction in Barrio Logan.

The social objectives of this project are pursued architecturally through three strategies: maximize flexibility, transform inexpensive, generic, and recycled materials into playful, and multipurpose architectural objects that provide a system of organization for the site.

After a series of meetings and long conversations with Rudy Pimentel (owner and manager of The People’s Lot) We commenced the project by exploring how design can bring people together. This research framework yielded the significance of designing for a range of scenarios (as envisioned by Rudy) and this attention to spatial flexibility creates exciting opportunities for individual customization and projection of oneself into space.

The spatial interventions were implemented in three parts: wrapping the site in a ‘canvas’ of color, delineating ground areas with material textures, and populating the site with a family of architectural objects, while carving out a nook for Rudy’s private space. These interventions actively respond to the social objectives and Rudy’s vision of the project. The design produces a playful landmark that brings people to the space, and, perhaps most exciting, provides the ability for the social objectives of The People’s Lot to extend beyond its property lines into the alleyway, street or even the new development

City Heights: Poplar Street Art Walk

The Azalea Park community rolled out the welcome mat for OH! visitors with live mosaic art at Vicki Leon’s studio, a pop-up craft market, classic cars from the Mustang Shop, and live music from Mark Langford, Soul Ablaze, and more. A visit to the Azalea Park Water Conservation Garden and a stroll down Poplar Street with its array of murals and mosaics showed what this community is all about.


National City: ARTS in Action

OH! visitors saw the transformative power of art in action at A Reason to Survive (ARTS). ARTS opened up their new outdoor studio and gallery space with an exhibit of student work, live musical entertainment, and a to-go art activity for kids.


San Marcos: City Hike

San Marcos Parks & Recreation staff guided a 5 mile hike through some of the oldest neighborhoods in San Marcos. View the hike itinerary.


Southeastern San Diego: Gardens, Graffiti Art and More

Mt. Hope Community Garden: Project New Village showcased the Mt. Hope Community Garden, the centerpiece of the Good Food District initiative. Learn more about the Good Food District below. OH! visitors saw community volunteers in action, including artists from the Southeast Art Team.

Food Apartheid

Southeastern San Diego has a rich agricultural past. In the early 1900s, its green hills were dotted with dozens of small farms owned and managed by farmers with diverse backgrounds. But over a century of development, economic decline, violence and political neglect has transitioned the once productive fields and community into a “food apartheid,” where low-income neighborhoods have little access to fresh, healthy food, and instead are surrounded by a disproportionate number of fast food restaurants, convenient stores, and liquor stores. This lack of access to healthy food has led to high rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease throughout the community.

Mt. Hope Community Garden

Over the past few years, efforts in southeastern San Diego have encouraged urban agriculture on both private and public land. After two years of advocating for zoning ordinance changes to allow community gardens within city limits, Project New Village broke ground on the Mt. Hope Community Garden in September 2011. The garden runs along Market Street on a vacant lot that was owned by the City of San Diego and leased and operated by Project New Village. Today, the Mt. Hope Community Garden consists of an urban food forest and agrarian wellness center covering one-third of an acre and servicing over 1000 residents, social groups, educational and emotional healing organizations to grow fruit, vegetables and flowers.

Good Food District Hub

The Good Food District (GFD) is a homegrown community engagement approach, where residents are taking a role in the transformations of landscapes to reclaim our cultural connection with the environment, elements of food production and increase food access in the area. We envision building an equitable food orientated development at the garden site, which will house a food hub managed by partner stakeholders with expertise in housing, public market space, holistic health practices, workforce development and community space. This hub will also serve as a center for a network of resident growers in the GFD geographic boundaries, to contribute to our neighborhood ecosystem health and food security.


Pop-up Art Gallery: The Southeast Art Team’s pop-up gallery at Market Street Plaza offered the opportunity to meet local artists and shop for original art to take home.


Writerz Blok: The gates were open for OH! visitors to experience the first legal graffiti art park in the nation.


1835 Creative Studios: The Sunday Market at 1835 Creative Studios features music, vendors, food and art.