By DELLE WILLETT | Uptown News
In early October, the San Diego Architectural Foundation (SDAF) recognized this year’s best and “not so best” projects throughout San Diego County at the 43rd annual Orchids & Onions Awards Ceremony held at the historic U.S. Grant Hotel. The ceremony was emceed by state Assembly member Todd Gloria.
The projects awarded Orchids and Onions were nominated by the design community and the public. A jury made up of architects, landscape architects, interior designers, a historic-preservation architect, a developer, a visual artist, an architecture professor and a student conducted a day-long tour of short-listed projects, followed by deliberations. The process resulted in this year’s awards.
Along with the jury-selected awards, there were three People’s Choice awards selected by the public through an online voting process.
A total of 14 projects were awarded Orchids or Onions in the architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, public art, place making and architectural detail.
The following winners (and losers) are in the Uptown area:
The Mission Hills-Hillcrest/Harley and Bessie Knox Library won an Orchid for Public Art — “Climate Clocks (Abstraction Devices)” are located inside library — and an Onion for Architecture. The owner/developer is the city of San Diego. The architects are Mosher Drew, Manuel Oncina Architects and Ferguson Pape Baldwin Architects. “Climate Clocks” artist is Janet Zweig. About the “Climate Clocks,” one juror noted: “Art is about an important issue that needs to be talked about. It is relevant and driving a tough conversation. This is what art should do.”
The library also received an Onion because the jury felt like its arts-and-crafts-meets-Mission-Style went terribly awry. They felt from faux rocks to the inhospitable chain-link fence separating the library from the adjacent school, the project was a huge missed opportunity to connect with the community.
The Morning Glory restaurant on West Date Street won an Orchid for Architectural Detail. The owner/developer is CH Projects and the designer is Basile Studio. The jury was wowed with its playful palette of cotton-candy pink, mint green, warm wood and shiny copper. As one juror noted: “I think it’s phenomenal. The windows are so beautiful, and the interior design is part of the architecture.”
Truax House apartments on Union Street took an Onion for Landscape Architecture. The owner/developer is Soheil Nakhshab; the architect is Nakhshab Development & Design. The jury was disappointed that the landscape architect did not utilize native California plants and created an uninspired “garden” consisting mostly of river rocks.
The complete list of 2019 Orchids & Onions is at orchidsandonions.org.
Orchids & Onions is an educational and fundraising program of the SDAF, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to educate and promote outstanding architecture, landscape, interior, and urban design to improve the quality of life for all San Diegans.
SDAF sponsors public programs throughout the year, including youth programs, architectural tours, and community events. Orchids & Onions has been one of SDAF’s most successful and longest-standing programs for more than four decades. It serves to raise awareness and encourage practical discourse about the built environment, thereby effecting positive change and more thoughtful design. To learn more about SDAF and Orchids & Onions, visit sdarchitecture.org.
— Delle Willett has been a marketing and public relations professional for over 30 years, with an emphasis on conservation of the environment. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.