Two Point Loma Buildings Receive ‘Onions’ in Annual Orchids and Onions Competition

by on October 5, 2018 · 2 comments

in Ocean Beach

Two buildings in Point Loma each received an “Onion” in the annual San Diego County’s Orchids and Onions competition.

According to Phillip Molnar of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Point Loma’s famed brand new Fire Station #22 at 1055 Catalina Ave. received an Onion award, as did the Waterpoint Point Loma project at 2820 Carleton Street.

The winners and losers were announced Thursday night at the U.S. Grant Hotel. Only 4 projects received an Onion for bad design but 16 were awarded Orchids for great architecture. Begun by San Diego’s American Institute of Architects 42 years ago to make the city a better place to live, the competition in 2006 was handed over to the San Diego Architectural Organization. Jurors were Roxanna Kreisler, Mary Michaelson, J.T. Barr, Jorge Gracia, Jason Anderson, James Watts, Andrew Malick, Jennifer Ayala and Amelia Capron.

Here’s what Molner says about each of these Onions:

Fire Station #22 [Architecture] (1055 Catalina Ave., San Diego).

Juror Jennifer Ayala said the fire station had mismatched materials and was a disappointment for being on such a prominent site. “All the utilities are right out front, doors are mismatched,” she said. The developer/owner is the City of San Diego and the architect was Nadel Architects.

This harsh criticism will certainly disappoint many local residents of Point Loma, some of whom just celebrated the Station’s opening with the Mayor.

Waterpoint Point Loma [Architecture] (2820 Carleton Street, San Diego)

Juror Roxanna Kreisler said the discussion among jurors was that the building openings were not well articulated. “The massing was kind of overwhelming for the block,” she said. Juror Andrew Malick said the building was bland and did not take advantage of its location. “The developer was ColRich and the architect was Starck Architecture + Planning.

Nine jurors looked at 118 nominees this year, plus there were 2 awards called People’s Choice decided by online voters. Judges also decided no project reached a Grand Orchid or a Grand Onion, which are usually handed out.

Reporter Molnar advises readers for a full list of Orchids and Onions to go their website – but as of this writing I couldn’t find any such list on it.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

ZZ October 8, 2018 at 1:10 pm

I love the fire station, it is California meets Bauhaus.

The townhouses aren’t great but look like 500 other complexes, if anything slightly better than that standard look. Thank the stupid height limit for the lack of creativity and uniformity around here. Something twice as tall and half as wide would look a lot more interesting, and also provide some green space fronting the sidewalk.


Larry Sorenson October 8, 2018 at 6:59 pm

Can anyone verify that the Ruffin Road government offices relocation project (Paul McKim Architect early 1980’s) received both awards, Onion and Orchid, at different times?

Thank you.


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