Knowledge Center

2021 Orchids & Onions – Meet the Jury!

As our Orchids & Onions Committee is hustling together to prepare this year’s program, we wanted to make a super big announcement – our jury! Over the years, we have always had an engaging team of jury members, and this year is absolutely no different. With thought-leaders from a variety of …

As our Orchids & Onions Committee is hustling together to prepare this year’s program, we wanted to make a super big announcement – our jury! Over the years, we have always had an engaging team of jury members, and this year is absolutely no different. With thought-leaders from a variety of professional disciplines, we entrust with our jury the decision-making that results in the awards themselves. O&O is a unique awards ceremony. The public nominates all projects, but then the jury adds their expertise resulting in a combined effort to determine the winners.

They will be put to the test, from a grueling (not really) online voting process, to an in-person tour to see each short-listed project, to the feisty and always exciting deliberations that can last for hours; we know that this jury is up to the task!

While this may be an all-star band of dead-set industry rock stars, and they are, but don’t forget that we will also invite you to all of SDAF’s VIP member events to participate in the chance of a lifetime to join this year’s jury.

Finally, to round out the total of nine jurors, we will also be inviting an ACE Mentor Student to join the jury. What an opportunity for a young budding designer to sit in and converse with some of our region’s leading designers!

Over the coming weeks, we will be releasing information on how you can participate in your one chance of a lifetime! But for now, let’s meet the jury!

Here we go…

Architect: Gemma Hsiueh

Gemma is a Registered Architect and Principal at RNT Architects, located in the Gaslamp Quarter. Gemma acknowledges her parents for allowing her the freedom to explore the field of architecture at such an early age. Her obsession with Legos during childhood led her to take several drafting classes in high school and participate in a summer exploratory program at the NewSchool of Architecture + Design. She refined her focus and skills at the USC School of Architecture. She jumped on the opportunity to study abroad in Italy for five months, which solidified her admiration of the subject.

Get to know Gemma more through this wonderful interview by unfamiliar.

Architect & Developer: Jeff Svitak

Jeff Svitak Inc. is an all-inclusive studio focusing primarily on architectural design while simultaneously integrating real estate development and construction management into its practice. The studio prides itself on creating unique and inspired human environments that engage with the user’s senses. While each project has its individual inspiration and concept, Svitak believes heavily in the role of spatial organization and its influence on human emotions. By intimately studying this relationship, Jeff Svitak Inc. looks to enhance the emotional quality of its building’s inhabitants. They thoughtfully integrate aspects of privacy and intimacy within the interior environment, connecting exterior living spaces, and inviting an overall sense of community through crafted and welcoming public and circulatory spaces.

Architect & HRB Member: Matthew Winter 

Matthew Winter is the Director of Mixed-Use at LPA Design Studios. He has been responsible for managing various award-winning projects of multiple typologies, including housing, medical, civic, developer, and mixed-use projects. His work on the Pacific Center Campus in Southern California received the 2017 American Architecture Award and the 2016 Best Project for Office/Retail/Mixed-Use from ENR’s California’s Best Projects.

He is currently serving on the Historic Resource Board of the City of San Diego. Additionally, he is president of beautifulPB, the non-profit managing the certification process for the Pacific Beach EcoDistrict. He has helped spearhead multiple community-led projects within the EcoDistrict, ranging from new bicycle paths, community mural events, new placemaking, municipal code, new park designations, and an EcoDistrict planning checklist for new development. He previously served on the Uptown Planning Board and as a director on the Pacific Beach Town Council.

Designer: Rachelle Domingo-Rogers

As an ’04 Alumni of Newschool of Architecture and Design with a 5-year Bachelors of Architecture degree, Rachelle has invested 20+ years in the San Diego Architectural and Design Industry working for various firms and non-profits. Now, she is the owner of Arch5 Design Studio, a boutique architectural and interior design studio specializing in residential and Commercial/Hospitality projects. They just recently celebrated their 6th year in business. Get to know Rachelle more through this great interview in Shoutout Socal.

Artist & Educator: Dave Adey

David Adey began his graphic design and branding career working for clients such as Intel, Pepsi, Nike, Qualcomm, Taylor Guitars, Hasbro, and many others. His sculpture often draws upon this experience, and his recent cut-paper works explore the fraught intersection between our physical bodies and the increasingly digitized world we inhabit. His work has been exhibited at The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Orange County Museum of Art, Torrance Art Museum, Cranbrook Art Museum, Minneapolis Institute of Art, The La Jolla Athenaeum, and Oceanside Museum Art, Frist Museum in Nashville, and galleries and venues nationally and internationally. His recent Hide series was selected for the exhibition State of The Art, Discovering American Art Now, which began at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas and has toured nationally.

Adey’s graphic design and illustration have been featured in publications such as Graphis and Communication Arts. His art has been reviewed and featured in publications including Art in America, Art Ltd., LA Weekly, Installation Magazine, Artbound by KCET, Modern Luxury Magazine, The San Diego Union-Tribune, WiredKPBS, and The Huffington Post.

His permanent public sculpture for the County of San Diego, titled Inspiration/Expiration, can be seen at the corner of Cedar and Kettner in downtown San Diego.

He received his MFA in sculpture from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a BA in visual art from PLNU, where he is currently a professor of art and design.

Architect & Construction Manager: Katinka Read

Katinka was born and raised in Germany, but San Diego has been her home for over 15 years. After graduating from the NewSchool of Architecture + Design in 2011, Katinka worked in architecture for five years and got her license in California. She now works as a construction project manager for multi-family projects and operates her small architecture firm on the side.

Fun fact, Katinka volunteered with SDAF for a few years on our Orchids and Onions Committee, and we are so pleased to have her back on our jury this year.

Get to know Katinka through this great interview in unfamiliar.

Landscape Architect: Neil Hadley

With over 20 years of experience in landscape architecture, campus planning, and urban design, Neil founded landLAB, landscape architecture + environmental back in 2007. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada, in 1994. His everyday philosophy is based on attention to detail while creating landscapes that connect the built form to its surrounding environmental context. He strives passionately for a strong collaboration between the consultant team and the client. Neil ventured out to San Diego in 1998, opening landLAB landscape architecture + environmental planning in 2008.

When he is not working, he can be found surfing, snowboarding, and hanging out with his wife and two boys.

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45th Annual Orchids & Onions

Jury Announcement Drum roll, please! Here we are again, ready to announce our Jury for this year’s 45th Orchids & Onions event coming October 7th! This year is going to be a hybrid event…in-person and live streaming! Architect: Gemma Hsiueh  Gemma is a Registered Architect & Principal at RNT Architects who (mainly, but not …

Jury Announcement

Drum roll, please! Here we are again, ready to announce our Jury for this year’s 45th Orchids & Onions event coming October 7th!

This year is going to be a hybrid event…in-person and live streaming!

Architect: Gemma Hsiueh 

Gemma is a Registered Architect & Principal at RNT Architects who (mainly, but not only) create incredible institutional architecture such as the City College Campus. There is an excellent interview with Gemma for you to get to know her in her Unfamiliar Voices video.

Architect & Developer: Jeff Svitak 

Jeff trained under prominent San Diego Architect Sebastian Mariscal in the Developer as Architect mindset and has had a successful career working on custom homes and some of our city’s most dynamic mixed-use developments. Jeff’s use of space, light, and materiality is fantastic in every project.

Architect & HRB Member: Matthew Winter 

Matthew is LPA San Diego’s Director of Mixed-Use Projects. He sits on the Historic Resources Board and the Pacific Beach Town Council, and formerly on the Uptown Community Plan. He’s a heck of a nice guy, a great storyteller, and a solid chap to have a beer and a laugh with!

Designer: Rachelle Domingo-Rogers

A designer best known for her restaurants like Cloak & Petal, Little Italy & Mina Lounge in Gaslamp. Young & fun. Nominated by Michelle Harrison-McAllister, one of SDAF’s Directors.

Artist / Educator: Dave Adey

Dave is both an artist and educator as a Professor of Art and Design at Point Loma Nazarene University. He is a recommendation from SDAF Director Kevin de Freitas, citing Dave’s passion for the built environment and his commitment to using his works to spark dialogue.

Construction Manager: Katinka Read 

Katinka is an architect who spent several years in the industry, transitioning into Construction Management with Ryan Companies and managing her architectural firm. She volunteered for O&O a few years ago and is fun and passionate who brings lots of laughs to the jury experience!

Landscape Architect: Neil Hadley 

Neil is Principal of Land-Lab Environmental Design. In 2013 Brian Garrett from Land-Lab was a thoughtful contributor to O&O, and having Neil on this year’s Jury will be a real treat as an industry leader in Landscape Architecture.

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With the Help of a New Fundraising Platform, Supporting SDAF is Easier and More Fun

At Every.org, the mission is to bring nonprofits and donors together in a joyful nonprofit experience. That means uniting users and charities through top-tier fundraising technology to drive a nonprofit’s success. In partnering with the Every.org fundraising platform to host Orchids & Onions 2020, SDAF is supporting a fellow nonprofit, …

At Every.org, the mission is to bring nonprofits and donors together in a joyful nonprofit experience. That means uniting users and charities through top-tier fundraising technology to drive a nonprofit’s success.

In partnering with the Every.org fundraising platform to host Orchids & Onions 2020, SDAF is supporting a fellow nonprofit, and they’re supporting us. Because when you register for Orchids & Onions on the Every.org site, you can donate to SDAF at the same time, supporting us in our mission to inspire San Diegans to discover the value of thoughtful design in the built environment.

“We wanted to create an experience that was easy and fun for donors and still gave nonprofits what they need,” says Rahul Gupta-Iwasaki, co-founder of Every.org. “Every donation can create a ripple effect. By making their donations visible to the public on the Every.org website, donors are making a public statement of support for organizations like SDAF and inspiring others to give to the cause. They’re sharing their voice, and that drives more donations, and ultimately, more trust for the nonprofit.”

By using Every.org to register guests for Orchids & Onions 2020, SDAF is introducing registrants to a positive, interactive experience that lets them engage with other users, get excited about the gala, and donate to SDAF at a challenging time for charities and small businesses.

The Every.org team

In 2020, Orchids & Onions is going virtual for the first time, and it promises to be a fun, interactive gala that engages our audience in new, exciting ways. In other “firsts,” attendees at the Oct. 1 gala will vote on the People’s Choice Orchid and Onion awards live at the event. SDAF also is using its 44th annual gala to help fund  our new collaboration with SDNOMA — a scholarship for a minority student interested in an architectural career. By attending Orchids & Onions 2020, guests will be able donate to the scholarship drive in real time while the event is happening.

“It’s really fantastic that SDAF is seizing the moment and the greater awareness around the racial inequities that have existed in our society for so long to create positive change in the architectural space by partnering with SDNOMA,” Gupta-Iwasaki says. “As an organization that values equity and inclusion ourselves, Every.org is proud to play a role in promoting the cause.”

You can play a role, too, by joining SDAF for Orchids & Onions 2020! Register today for our most vital fundraiser of the year. With your support, together we can inspire San Diegans to see the value in the built environment, and create a more equitable world.

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New Scholarship Will Promote Diversity in Architecture

After George Floyd’s death and the protests against police brutality that followed, the San Diego Architectural Foundation (SDAF) expressed its support for the Black Lives Matter movement and a desire to do more to support diversity in architecture. As a first step toward bringing those commitments to life, SDAF is …

After George Floyd’s death and the protests against police brutality that followed, the San Diego Architectural Foundation (SDAF) expressed its support for the Black Lives Matter movement and a desire to do more to support diversity in architecture.

As a first step toward bringing those commitments to life, SDAF is collaborating with the currently forming San Diego chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects (SDNOMA) to create a scholarship for a minority architectural student. SDAF’s Orchids & Onions event, coming up on Oct. 1, will give attendees the opportunity to participate in a live fundraising drive to support the new scholarship fund.

Michael Robinson AIA, NCARB

In celebration of the collaboration, we interviewed Michael D. Robinson, AIA, NCARB, an architect of African-American descent and future president of the SDNOMA Board of Directors. Robinson, principal at Robi4 Architecture & Planning, is licensed as an architect in California and Tennessee and serves on the AIA San Diego Board of Directors. Here’s what he had to say about SDNOMA’s goals in San Diego, the scholarship’s importance and partnering with Orchids & Onions 2020.

NOMA’s San Diego chapter initiated its launch in July of 2020.  What does the chapter aspire to achieve here? SDNOMA aspires to provide an opportunity for minority architects to be recognized so that people know we are here and that we exist. It’s especially important for children and students pursuing a career in architecture to see people who look like them. When they feel represented in this career field, they believe they can achieve success within it. When they see someone who looks like them — someone they can emulate — it puts their dreams within reach.

Another one of our objectives is to identify designers who want to network and join together to create change. We advocate for increased fellowship, inclusivity, diversity, equity, and excellence in design. Typically, we would do that in person, but during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic we will interact in a virtual environment. We will also seek to engage with prospective students, whom we hope to mentor, in fun virtual exercises.

What are some of the early initiatives SDNOMA is championing? One of our early initiatives is our “Project Pipeline” program, which we’ll begin by working with middle school students. The aim of this program is to empower youth in middle and high school to affect change in their communities through design. Students will use the city as their classroom and connect with professional designers and planners in San Diego.

What do you want people to know about the new scholarship? The merit-based scholarship will support one minority student, a graduating high school senior beginning their first year of architectural studies. It’s really exciting that Orchids & Onions attendees will have the opportunity to donate to it, as the scholarship will be a first for SDNOMA. In addition to financial support, we will maintain contact with the scholarship recipient — a form of community support that will help to provide a pathway to the student’s success.

Why is Orchids & Onions a good forum for unveiling the scholarship? Orchids & Onions is an exceptional event, and we’re very proud that SDAF and its flagship program would consider partnering with us in this way. Orchids & Onions sets the benchmark for high-quality design in San Diego. Linking the SDNOMA scholarship to the gala is a great way to bring diversity to SDAF’s signature event. I think it sends the message that the architectural landscape here is shifting, and that’s a wonderful thing to see. It also aligns well with our mission to inspire youth. Ideally, we’ll be able to maintain a relationship with Orchids & Onions while partnering with other SDAF programs in the future.

Robi4 Architecture and Planning provided architectural services for the Pinch District Pedestrian Bridge in Memphis, Tenn., which has not yet been built.

What are some of the challenges minority architects face in the industry? Architecture is a predominantly male and predominantly white profession. If you look at the demographic breakdowns of licensed architects in the U.S., 20 percent identify as female; 1 to 2 percent identify as African-American; and 0.3 percent identify as African-American women — a double minority. People of color remain challenged in securing and creating opportunities to gain the skills necessary not only to work in a firm, but also to become licensed as architects practicing under their own tutelage.

Self-actualization should be the goal. Minorities remain short of role models. So, if you can bring together professionals who can impact youth as role models and mentors, it can give them the guidance and influence they need to realize their goals. A built-in mentorship program also can help challenge them in the ways they need to grow and sustain an architectural career.

How will this scholarship help them meet those challenges?  Our primary goal is to inspire youth and to work with them however we can. We believe this scholarship will be an excellent step in that direction. The scholarship aligns closely with NOMA’s mission to empower local chapters to foster justice and equity in communities of color through outreach, community advocacy, professional development, and design excellence. It will be an excellent way to jump-start our efforts in San Diego, to help foster a social infrastructure that meets the needs of everyone in our community, regardless of race.

Learn more about SDAF’s exciting new collaboration with SDNOMA in our press release.

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The SDAF Volunteer Whose Heart Beats for a Border Town

Carolina Salgado loves building community, whether she’s south of the border or north of it.  On a Tijuana hilltop with one road in and one road out, Carolina Salgado spent the fabled days of her youth. It was the kind of idyllic upbringing where kids played in the street and …

  • Carolina Salgado loves building community, whether she’s south of the border or north of it. 

On a Tijuana hilltop with one road in and one road out, Carolina Salgado spent the fabled days of her youth. It was the kind of idyllic upbringing where kids played in the street and biked around the neighborhood. Where grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles lived just blocks away. Where everyone knew everyone.

The small Mexican community had one main street, one park, “one of everything, basically,” Salgado says. “Once you were up there, you didn’t need to go down for anything else.”

The soft-spoken Salgado, the daughter of an architect, developed a love of design early, thanks to her father’s influence. Girlhood memories of shadowing her dad at construction sites and translating for him during client meetings instilled in her an interest in architecture that never left.

Carolina Salgado

As San Diego’s first-ever Design Week approaches Sept. 9-13, Salgado’s desire to use architecture to build thriving communities reminds us how impactful design can be. What’s more, her longtime support of the San Diego Architectural Foundation (SDAF) as a dedicated volunteer shows that building community often unfolds deliberately — one small step at a time.

 

Forging Her Own Path, Building Community on the Job

Salgado’s walk in the footsteps her her father, Gustavo, began at the University of San Francisco, where she earned a degree in architecture with a focus on community design. Today, she works as a designer and project manager at a small San Diego design/build firm, where she designs residential models and savors the opportunity to learn along the way.

“I love the evolution of the design process,” she says. “It’s fun for me to be immersed in a tight-knit architectural community like San Diego’s. A sense of community really drives my professional goals. I love the whole idea that anything you design comes alive in the community, affecting how people live, work, play and feel. It’s a challenge and responsibility that excites me.”

Seeing an opportunity in green initiatives, Salgado is preparing to take the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) exam and looks forward to learning more about sustainability in the built environment. Acquiring sustainability expertise will empower her to develop green communities on both sides of the border. Returning home to contribute to more sustainable neighborhoods in Tijuana would be most gratifying of all, she says.

Volunteering Broadens Her Network

Salgado at Joshua Tree National Park

If Salgado is driven by a desire to build stronger communities, she also feels a sense of community through SDAF, where she’s volunteered for PechaKucha Night (PKN) on several occasions. On Oct. 1, she’s looking forward to volunteering for SDAF’s flagship event, Orchids & Onions, as it goes virtual for the first time.

By now, 44 years since it began, Orchids & Onions has become a cherished San Diego tradition, known as much for celebrating vaunted design as for holding architects accountable for their design decisions.

Orchids & Onions is vital to San Diego’s design community, because it really shows the level of excellence we should be reaching for as designers,” Salgado says. “As a young designer, it fuels my vision for what’s possible. Even the Onions are important. In them is the simple truth that we can always learn from our failures and strive to be better. And there’s a lot of value in that as well.”

A staunch supporter of nonprofits, Salgado was drawn to SDAF through the social nature of its events and the warmth of its people. She’s volunteered for SDAF regularly for the last two years and is looking forward to seeing what inspiration Orchids & Onions provides this fall.

“I like any experience that opens my eyes and helps me gain a new perspective,” she says. “With SDAF, it’s a learning experience just being there. One that has helped me grow. One that has given me a vision for what’s possible.”

Orchids and Onions 2020 is looking for volunteers to help with this year’s event. If you’re interested in helping out, email alicia@sdarchitecture.org.

Featured photo by Jim Brady  of Brady Architectural Photography. All other photos courtesy of Carolina Salgado.

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A Shared Mission to Design with People in Mind

NewSchool of Architecture & Design has joined Orchids & Onions 2020 as the title sponsor. In appreciation of that, we take a look at the longstanding relationship between our two organizations, one deeply rooted in a shared passion for San Diego’s built environment. We caught up with NewSchool’s Head of …

NewSchool of Architecture & Design has joined Orchids & Onions 2020 as the title sponsor. In appreciation of that, we take a look at the longstanding relationship between our two organizations, one deeply rooted in a shared passion for San Diego’s built environment.

We caught up with NewSchool’s Head of Marketing & Communications, Jessica Nielsen, to ask what’s behind the relationship and why Orchids & Onions is a program worth supporting. Here’s her take on it all.

Orchids & Onions has been a San Diego tradition for more than 40 years. Why does the program hold value? Orchids & Onions not only celebrates great design, but it also engages the community around the built environment. It keeps architecture and design relevant, celebrating notable design achievement. By also encouraging education and accountability, it helps bring about a design community we can all be proud of.

What is NewSchool’s driving philosophy on design? NewSchool’s mission is to nurture and inspire design-minded learners to become citizen architects and designers. Our graduates demonstrate a firm foundation of critical thinking, ethical behavior, and a culture of professional practice on their way to becoming socially responsible leaders of change for our global society. We embrace a human-centered approach to design, focused on design inquiry and design thinking. Our philosophy is to design for people, to ensure the built environment serves human needs.

Our beloved late President and Chief Academic Officer, Marvin J. Malecha, FAIA, DPACSA, brought our “Human-Centered by Design” focus to NewSchool five years ago. We honor his passing by translating his guiding focus into NewSchool’s four foundational pillars: Data & Technology, Community Engagement, Human Welfare, and Environmental Empathy, all which rest on preparing our graduates for professional practice in a constantly evolving world.

Marvin Malecha at a NewSchool awards ceremony in 2019

NewSchool has had a longtime relationship with the San Diego Architectural Foundation (SDAF), and we see a lot of those same values reflected in SDAF programs, such as Orchids & Onions, which allows the people to hold design accountable to their human needs.

Why does NewSchool believe it’s important to support a community-based architecture and design awards program like Orchids and Onions? It goes back to human-centered design, the notion that the community should have an active voice and influence upon how the built environment should be shaped and what it should reflect. And if we’re designing with a human-centric approach, it is vital for the community to be part of the conversation.

NewSchool is celebrating its 40th anniversary this fall. What do you want people to know about it? This is a time to reflect not only on our past but also to look to what the future holds for our institution. Founded by architects in 1980, we view ourselves as a critical piece of the fabric of not only the San Diego community, but the global design community at large. Our alumni, students, faculty, and staff have influenced and helped shape the built environment that is San Diego and beyond. We have expanded our disciplines beyond the borders of Architecture, introducing new programs in Interior Architecture & Design, Product Design, Graphic Design & Interactive Media, and Construction Management. We look at the evolution of technologies and society, and of education itself, and we promote a truly interdisciplinary, interconnected approach to design thinking.

We’re looking forward to celebrating and commemorating not just our legacy and how we’ve evolved, but also where we’re going in the years ahead, as we continue to impact the architecture, design and construction communities. We look forward to designing our future with quality, integrity, and creativity as a design-minded community.

We will be hosting a series of events over the coming months, starting with a virtual alumni panel event in November. We will share more details on our website and social media outlets soon.

Like our NewSchool counterparts, SDAF aims to ensure that the built environment serves human needs. You can help us meet that goal by engaging with this year’s Orchids & Onions nominees and liking, commenting and sharing your favorites before September 1!

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Introducing New SDAF Leaders!

Wow, what an amazing start it has been to 2015 for SDAF! As promised, this year is going to be super exciting as we work towards several new initiatives to increase our outreach and ultimately broaden both awareness and education about San Diego’s built environment. Firstly we are excited to …

Wow, what an amazing start it has been to 2015 for SDAF! As promised, this year is going to be super exciting as we work towards several new initiatives to increase our outreach and ultimately broaden both awareness and education about San Diego’s built environment.

Firstly we are excited to announce that we have a new President, Pauly De Bartolo!

Pauly De Bartolo, Associate AIA

A Partner at De Bartolo + Rimanic Design Studio, Pauly has been volunteering for SDAF since the 2011 Orchids & Onions program. He was invited to the SDAF Board of Directors in 2012 and subsequently elected to the VP role through 2013 and 2014. Having participated in most of SDAF’s programs through Co-Chairing O&O not once, but  twice, coordinating several Pecha Kucha Night events (and presenting one), volunteering at the Orchids, Onions & Opportunities exhibit and much more, Pauly is passionate about contributing to the continual improvement of San Diego’s built environment through SDAF programming. In addition to SDAF, Pauly volunteers on the Gaslamp Quarter’s Land Use & Planning Committee & has Co-Chaired the La Jolla Historical Society’s ‘Young Architects Summer Camp’ for middle & high school students for the past 2 years. Pauly was born in Sydney, Australia and relocated to San Diego in 2005 where he plans to call home for a long time to come.

In addition to Pauly, we are proud to introduce two new members to the 2015 SDAF Board of Directors:

Matthew Geaman, AIA

In addition to being an Associate Principal at Joseph Wong Design Associates, Matthew has been actively involved in San Diego’s architectural community, most recently as the 2014 President of AIA San Diego.

David McCullough, ASLA

Beyond his daily endeavors as Principal at McCullough Landscape Architecture, David is reconnecting with SDAF (after serving two previous terms as a Director) in addition to being the founding coordinator of Pecha Kucha Night, San Diego chapter.

The entire list of committed doers and thinkers that serve as directors of SDAF can be found here.

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Onion Update | How to Redesign Those Extra Large Signs

How could anyone forget the City of San Diego’s 2014 People’s Choice Onion for the over-sized parking signs. They are hard to miss… Think that’s bad, check out this 15′ tall “totem” sign pole from Los Angeles with parking regulation stacked on top of parking regulation. Crazy right?! See more …

How could anyone forget the City of San Diego’s 2014 People’s Choice Onion for the over-sized parking signs. They are hard to miss… Think that’s bad, check out this 15′ tall “totem” sign pole from Los Angeles with parking regulation stacked on top of parking regulation. Crazy right?! See more here.

onion signculvercityparkingsign

Well, it seems that Los Angeles has taken on the design challenge that these signs with numerous parking regulations present. As reported in Citylab by The Atlantic, they have unveiled new “easy to read” parking signs, that surprisingly are actually quite easy to read with their “grid-style” graphic with simple color coding and graphic representations instead of words. Nice work LA!

AnatomyOfASign-1024x683

San Diego’s very own bright design minds reached out to SDAF to take on the challenge of our Onion-winning signs. John Ball, Creative Director of MiresBall sent us this email:

Onion, or opportunity?

At the recent San Diego Architectural Foundation’s Orchids and Onions, a People’s
Choice Onion was “awarded” to the City of San Diego for its Oversize Vehicle
Ordinance Signs.

Unintentionally ironic, the extra-large 30″ by 36″ signs are meant to prohibit extra-large
vehicles from parking on city streets. And not only are they too big, they’re just plain
ugly—adding to the visual pollution of the street even as they attempt to limit it.
 
But does it have to be this way? City signs have to be legible, yes, but do they need to
be eyesores? And can the application of some of our favorite design principles create a
smaller, cleaner sign that is arguably MORE readable?
 
Happily, the answer is yes. Check out our design redo.

MiresBall_San_Diego_Parking_Sign_800

John Ball
Partner/Creative Director
MiresBall
 
P.S. City of San Diego, you can reach us at 619-234-6631.

Much improved. Thank you John. Take note City of San Diego. Good design can transform the status quo and be infinitely more practical too…

Shall we launch a guerrilla campaign to replace them? Who’s in?

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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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