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San Diego Architectural Foundation Picks the 'Best' and 'Worst' for Orchid & Onion Awards


The San Diego Architectural Foundation awarded 12 Orchids and four Onions at its 40th Orchids & Onions competition last week at the Spreckels Theatre. These awards recognize the best and worst architectural design, form and function in five categories: architecture, landscape architecture, historic preservation, interior design and miscellaneous (including public art, lighting, graphics). The best architecture received an Orchid and the worst an Onion.

The jury awarded the Grand Orchid to Oceanside’s St. Thomas More Catholic Church (above), which was cited for its “warm Modernism” and well-thought-out details. The jury called this project “a labor of love and the result spectacular,” according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. The project architect, Los Angeles-based Renzo Zecchetto, said the design reflects the church's goal to follow a "contemporary form of worship," achieved with the most inexpensive of all building materials: light.

The"People's Choice Onion" went to the 364-room Hilton Garden Inn-Homewood Suites hotel on Pacific Highway in Little Italy, which was developed by Irvine-based T2 Hospitality Development. This project replaced the 1940s Tops nightclub/Fat City restaurant building. The jury criticized its architecture as a “harsh and lifeless” exterior, “poorly done facadectomy” inclusion of elements salvaged from the original building, and failure to take advantage of a highly visible site on Hawthorn Street. [SDUT]