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October 26, 2017
Reception & Ceremony
The US Grant
Tickets Available Soon

Architecture

Cesar E. Chavez Continuing Education Campus of San Diego Community College District

Nominator 1:

 

The recent opening of the Cesar E. Chavez Campus in Barrio Logan was enthusiastically received by the residents, students and administrators of the San Diego Community College District. At the dedication, keynote speaker Paul Chavez, Cesar’s son, was thrilled to see his father’s legacy, and that of the Chicano Movement, so well depicted in the Campus. Those present, Latino and non-Latino, experienced first-hand the richness and sophistication of a unique aesthetics.

Spatially and volumetrically, the LEED Silver Certified Chavez Campus continues a 5,000 year tradition of the indigenous people of the Americas by promoting monumentality, material, color and texture, and “messaging on walls”, to name a few.

This can be seen on Main Street façade where stainless steel columns are expressed no differently than the large scale columns of the Coronado Bridge just down the street. Similarly, this façade contains abstracted images of Mayan numbers, buildings, and deities, but also, a tribute to Chavez’s United Farm Workers via a monumental logo-window, 20 feet across, in the form of an eagle.

Along Chavez Parkway, the key feature is a raised, irregular shaped, red metal-paneled facade with punctuated windows, and supported on stainless steel columns. Its “reading” is simultaneously an abstraction of a “red low-rider car with lifted hydraulics”, the number “20” taken from Mayan numerology, and the fire breathing serpent from the Aztecs, Quetzalcoatl. The message is revealed inside the 2-story lobby: it’s a black granite floor which reflects the “spirituality of place”, 12 colorful ceiling art panels depicting a nebula with super-imposed site plans of Pueblo Bonito, Teotihucan, and Machu Pichu, and a quote by Dolores Huerta. Another feature in the lobby is the “Big Book”, measuring 55-feet across, it contains a biography of Cesar Chavez, a Latino Timeline, and significant quotes from El Movimiento.

The Chavez Campus, from an urban perspective, offers the Main Street-Chavez Parkway intersection a village placita. This small outdoor space is defined by a totem pole with the UFW logo, a lit constellation figure (“cosmic man”), and a colorful glass abstraction of “entropy” on the facade. The elements are strictly derived from Mayan astronomy, while the message is upward mobility via education! The over-arching design intent is to promote and advance the Chicano (Mexican-American) Experience, and concurrently providing a learning laboratory for the greater population.

 

Nominator 2:

 

This is a beautiful rich building responding to the cultural ideals of the Mexican, Chicano, and Latin American people.   It commnicates a rich heritage and emphasizes the ideal of Cesar E. Chavez.   Nearby Chicano Park, a National Landmark is relected in its colors and design.   The people of Barrio Logan are justly proud of this new building, offering much needed educational opportunities.   The buildings modern colors and form suggest a spiritual message that is much needed.  It is a statement of art that enriches the community.

 

Nominator 3:

 

The Cesar E. Chavez Campus was designed with input from the Barrio Logan community, the area that would be impacted by the architectural design of the project for the rest of our lives.  Barrio Logan has long been known for honoring our indigenous culture much like the Anglo honors it’s European history.  The American Continent has been conquered by Europeans of 5 major languages, English, French, Portuguese, Italian and Spanish, none of which has successfully erased our native traditions.  They failed to embrace our beautiful culture or our natural born intelligence to read the galaxy and create the first American Continent’s calendar of 364 1/4 days that became known as Leap Year!  The majority society including Arts and Culture organizations do not recognize the significance of preserving cultures in addition to that of their own.  It’s a “tunnel vision” practice that is very hurtful to the Mexican/Chicano/Indigenous peoples everywhere.  These organizations to not appreciate our efforts to replicate and honor our Aztec/Mayan designs of extraordinary cities of natural water ways, sewer systems and natural lighting inside our temples.  All of their accomplishments were executed without calculators or technology.  Our Indian ancestry is being more and more preserved and practiced in all forms of art and creativity. This is why the Cesar E. Chavez Campus is so highly regarded by our community of Barrio Logan and Latinos and others throughout the nation.  It is a true example of engaging the community in planning the project for over 3 years under the “inclusive” leadership of Mr. Joseph Martinez, the project architect.

Just prior to the opening of the facility Mr. Martinez gave tours that included a presentation of reasoning for using the Aztec/Mayan techniques that we call today “going green”, lowering utility bills, etc.  The natural lighting there is an extraordinary feature of the project because the natural lighting is easy on students and the District’s budget.   Both the interior and exterior design capture the 3 years input and desires of community members many of whom knew Cesar E. Chavez personally for many years.  I worked on the Bay Area Boycott from mid 1960’s to 1970 when the growers were forced to come to the table with Cesar and signed contracts that would improve the lives of farm workers in California and eventually, throughout the nation.  Further, under the leadership of Cesar, the farm workers were no longer legalized slaves when field workers attained coverage under the National Labor Relations Act ensuring wages, social security and all other workers benefits instead of being paid by the bushel or the crate.

The community’s desires have been met in this project.  It is a monument and a major land mark that also symbolizes the struggles and victories of the people of Barrio Logan to remain on the map of Mother Earth.  We highly  recommend that the Orchids and Onions panel take a tour with Mr. Martinez and learn more about this extraordinary project and learn why European design is not the only beautiful and historical type of creativity plus benefit from Mr. Martinez’s cultural competency and skill in being”responsive” to communities throughout San Diego including India and beyond.

In conclusion, the community is ecstatic over our own Sistine Chapel ceiling in the entrance of the facility.  Please take the tour and discover La Fama y la Gloria de Mexico  (the fame and the glory of Mexico) embodied in the design.

 

Nominator 4:

 

As a resident and care taker of this awe inspiring space, I would like to express why I believe the Cesar Chavez Campus of Excellance for Healthcare Careers deserves to be recognized as the “orchid” that it is.  From the creative, symbolic design features of its facade to the expressively representative elements found throughout the interior, visitors to the campus enthusiastically share their delight and appreciation of the design.  From The Aztec gold staircase that lights students    path to knowledge to the impressive grand staircase in the main lobby that mimics the design of the Mayan pyramids, the design of this building deserves to be recognized for the treasure and legacy to the community it represents.  There are so many intricate design features interwoven throughout the exterior and interior to rave about!  Perhaps one of the more significant is the placement and shape of the windows in both the classrooms and the stairways which connect the historic community of Barrio Logan with this citadel of learning and personal advancement.  Not a day goes by without visitors, students, community members and members of the San Diego Community College District community sharing compliments of appreciation, delight and pride regarding the creative, representative architectural design of this magnificent monument to education and training for the local community, and all those who come to gain knowledge, training, education and career advancement.  I enthusiastically nominate this building for the top orchid award.  It truly deserves it!  Come see for yourself.  

 

Nominator 5:

Along Chavez Parkway, the key feature is a raised, irregular shaped, red metal-paneled facade with punctuated windows, and supported on stainless steel columns. Its “reading” is simultaneously an abstraction of a “red low-rider car with lifted hydraulics”, the number “20” taken from Mayan numerology, and the fire breathing serpent from the Aztecs, Quetzalcoatl. The message is revealed inside the 2-story lobby: it’s a black granite floor which reflects the “spirituality of place”, 12 colorful ceiling art panels depicting a nebula with super-imposed site plans of Pueblo Bonito, Teotihucan, and Machu Pichu, and a quote by Dolores Huerta. Another feature in the lobby is the “Big Book”, measuring 55-feet across, it contains a biography of Cesar Chavez, a Latino Timeline, and significant quotes from El Movimiento.

 

Nominator 6:

 

  • Orchid Nominee

  • Project Address:

    1901 Main Street, San Diego, CA 92113

    Project Owner/Developer:

    San Diego Community College District

    Owner Contact Name/Email:

    Lance Lareau llareau@sdccd.edu

    Project Architect/Designer:

    Martinez + Cutri Corporation

Comments

  • Jonathan

    Such an amazing building!

  • Brian

    Fantastic building both in terms of program space and architecture customized to the local community.

  • Carlos

    Great building community is proud of.

  • David Watson

    Proud to be part of the team that brought joy to Barrio Logan.

  • Chris Thompson

    Such a pleasure to help build this treasure in the Barrio! It’s truly fabulous!

  • Courtney

    Great building in the Barrio that all involved should be proud of.

  • Bob

    The building perfectly complements and illustrates the heritage of the people of the Barrio and their ancestors.

  • DonWood

    Unfortunately, in San Diego, modern architecture typically consists of designing as big a box as possible on a given
    site, then figuring out ways to add exterior features that distract observers attention from the fact that a building is just
    a big box. The only architects and designers who go beyond that practice are the Hubbells. Given the restrictions the
    architects had to work under in this case, they did a good job.

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Orchids & Onions is an educational and fundraising program of the San Diego Architectural Foundation, a 501(c)3, nonprofit organization dedicated to education and the promotion of outstanding architecture, planning and urban design throughout the San Diego region.

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