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October 26, 2017
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The US Grant
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Cesar Chavez Campus, Barrio Logan

Nominator 1:

This recently completed college building is location on the corner of Main Street and Cesar Chavez Parkway in Barrio Logan. The college building is located adjacent Barrio Logan trolley station and forms part of the Barrio Logan revitalization that includes the Mercado del Barrio Apartments, Northgate Market , outdoor plaza and parking structure. This revitalization is located in the heart of Barrio Logan, adjacent to the historic Chicano Park located underneath the Coronado Bridge, which forms part of the rich and diverse history of the Barrio Logan Community.

The Cesar Chavez Campus tries to play on this diversity but unfortunately in the most cheesiest and tackiest way possible by incorporating patterns and shapes that reflect Aztec and Mexican culture onto the building. Circular, square, triangular and rectangular windows adorn the building, with geometric patterned stucco broken up by polished stone siding make this building a rather bizarre quilt-like collage of patterns and shapes masquerading as a college building.

The main entrance is strategically located on Cesar Chavez Parkway as it engages with the street and the adjacent trolley station. Unfortunately the corner of the building which addresses Cesar Chavez Parkway and Main Street doesn’t fair so well, with the open corner plaza left bare, defined by a lone flag pole and exit doors. The colonnade along Main Street is even worse, dark and boarded up by metal screen, it makes the whole building turn its back on the revitalization of Barrio Logan.

Instead of engaging the community culturally and contextually in its urban environment, the design of Cesar Chavez Campus is simply a college building dressed up with clichés.


Nominator 2:

San Diego Continuing Education’s new César E. Chávez Campus opened in October 2015. The $58 million dual-building project comprises a 67,924-square-foot, three-story facility with a below-grade, 149-car parking structure, and a detached campus car park with 320 additional spaces and covered with murals featuring the life and work of César E. Chávez located two blocks east of the campus. The project consists of land acquisition and construction of a new building to consolidate current programs at the original César E. Chávez Campus, which was adjacent to Chicano Park, and the Centre City Campus, which was located downtown across from San Diego City College. The new facility is designated as the Campus of Excellence for Healthcare Careers and houses 22 classrooms, which will be used for vocational training, English as a Second Language (ESL), Citizenship, Adult Basic Education (ABE), high school equivalency preparation classes, Business, Computers and Information Technology, and Parent Education courses. Emeritus classes for ages 55+ will be held at nearby off-campus locations. The new building also includes a multipurpose room, administrative offices, and space for a future Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management Program. Located in the heart of Barrio Logan at 1901 Main Street, the César E. Chávez Campus is expected to serve upwards of 7,000 adult students this fall and as many as 10,000 students by the spring semester.

  • Project Awarded

    Onion Nominee

  • Project Address:

    1901 Main Street, Barrio Logan 92113

    Owner Contact Name/Email:

    San Diego Continuing Education

    Project Architect/Designer:

    Martinez Cutri


  • Archenthusiast

    Hi, just a note that the Cesar Chavez Parking structure is a completely different project with a different architect and should not be lumped into the Cesar Chavez Main Campus/Classroom Building. My suggestion would be to break this building out from the parking garage and judge the buildings separately instead of lumping them together.

  • chicamonkey

    The parking lot is actually the better of the buildings! I work in the Barrio and it reflects the area nicely. The campus building on the other hand is an eyesore. It looks like a prison, it does not invite the community in, nor does it do justice to the view of the bridge. After reading about it’s concept It’s really embarrassing considering all the progress the community has made. How does any of that reflect the vibrant culture? Did the architects even step into the neighborhood?! The mercado next door is more inviting than this.

  • La Raza

    A disappointing addition by the Community College District, the Barrio deserves much better. This building looks cheap with a very very thin veneer of cultural relevancy. If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design. – Dr. Ralf Speth, CEO of Jaguar. This is a huge missed opportunity!

  • Kikka

    What an eyesore!!!! Just a box with a variety of geometric planes that have absolutely no link to the context, poorly chosen colors… this is not architecture.
    This building could have been the pride of the Barrio growing community and instead it is something to be ashamed of… I don’t understand how it could have been approved by the city and the Community College itself.

  • Andrew Towne

    The overall impression created by this project is drab, inhuman and institutional — in addition to being unoriginal.

    It looks like a prison, not a college.

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