Campus Buildings Win “Orchid” Architecture Awards

The three buildings won awards last week for exemplary design, innovation, and creativity

UCSD buildings won three prizes for exemplary design and artistic innovation at last week’s San Diego Architectural Foundation “Orchids and Onions” awards.

The annual ceremony, organized by the “Orchids and Onions” foundation — a nonprofit organization promoting design and architecture in San Diego — consisted of a professional jury that awarded 16 “orchid” prizes for buildings with outstanding architecture and seven “onion” awards to those with haphazard and unimaginative design.

UCSD’s “Fallen Star” art installment, seen as the house installed atop the Jacobs School of Engineering, received the 2013 Grand Orchid Prize.

Artist Do Ho Suh created the piece in 2012 as the 18th addition to the university’s Stuart Collection.

According to the jury, “Fallen Star” won the award for its creativity, sophistication and dynamism.

“Needless to say, we are thrilled with this very high honor,” UCSD Stuart Collection Director Mary Beebe said. “The idea of making a project about the idea of ‘home’ seemed especially relevant for a university, and the amazing image of Do Ho Suh’s house and the experience of entering it are truly memorable for people of all ages.”

UCSD’s Galbraith Hall also won an award for interior design, following its complete renovation in May 2013 by architects Kevin deFreitas and Manish Desai.

“I’m really, really proud of it, and I think it just speaks volumes about what UCSD is trying to accomplish,” deFreitas said. “They have an established reputation for demanding from their architects and their designers and landscape artists what they expect from their academics and researchers, which is excellence.”

Galbraith Hall was recognized for its use of space and color, as well as for its incorporation of old and modern designs.

“The jury enjoyed Galbraith Hall’s fresh, bright, cheerful space and appreciated that the building was repurposed in such a sensitive and thoughtful way,” leaders of the Orchids and Onions foundation said on their website.

UCSD Director of Space Planning Tom Allen praised deFreitas’s design.

“It far exceeded our expectations, and I think we have great admiration for our architect who was able to put together such a fantastic design,” Allen said.

The Structural and Nano-Materials Engineering Building was the last campus structure to receive an “Orchid” this year, winning for innovative architecture.

“The idea behind combining the engineering and visual arts departments in one building to promote innovation and collaboration among two decidedly different subjects clearly influenced the design of this multi-dimensional and thoughtful building,” the jury said.

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