This year’s Grand Onion has a familiar name behind the façade, and we can only shake one’s head in bewilderment and despair and ask… WHY? Well one juror surmised that “…the campus is an abomination caused in no small part to the unyielding Design Criteria & Guidelines of Historic District of Sherman Heights. …this project needs to be acknowledged as an Onion not only for its terrible architecture but to be used as an example that terrible architecture can come directly from Design Criteria & Guidelines.” Also noted by both jurors and site visitors is the juxtaposition of the Sherman Heights Community Center directly across the street, which could have served as an amazing inspiration to draw from; but no such inspiration was gleaned, or even entertained. Instead, we have a project in which the jury felt the school’s bell tower alone is enough to earn an Onion.” Ultimately, there can be no justification for the sort of architecture that stakes a claim to historic richness then delivers a thick, soupy agglomeration that would embarrass the designers of Knott’s Berry Farm. The jurors felt that faux historicism suffered a well-deserved death in the 80’s, and that it has been demonstrated tonight at O&O that publically funded construction need not be mediocre but can indeed inspire.
- Project Address: 301 22nd Street San Diego CA 92102
- Project Owner/ Developer: San Diego Unified School District
- Owner Contact Name/ Email: Jim Watts
- Project Architect/ Designer: HMC Architects
Another Onion to the San Diego Unified School District's onion collection! Can't believe this one slipped through the cracks for so long. It opened in 2008. Located among historic Victorian homes in Sherman Heights, the architecture of the school references back to its surroundings. The school's mass is broken down into multiple forms that look like houses, but the scale is just completely off. None of the materials or details that make Victorian residential architecture interesting are included on the school - likely because of both cost and the ongoing maintenance of these materials. So if you can't reference and reinterpret something well, then don't do it at all.