On Thursday, the architecturati were at the War Memorial Performing Arts Center’s Green Room to see who won in this year’s AIA SF Awards. This year only saw 27 awards presented, half the number of last year’s 54–perhaps an indication of how hard the economic downturn has hit this area. But despite the shorter program, there was no shortage of distinctive projects.
Taking home top honors in the Architecture category was Ogrydziak Prillinger’s Gallery House (photo at top), which impressed the jury for its “reinterpretation of the San Francisco bay window,” among other things. Alas, the images that were shown while the virtues of the house were being described were of HOK’s Merit-winning library in Saudi Arabia, the one glitch in the evening.
Interestingly, the other Honor winner for Architecture was EHDD’s Marin Country Day School, which is not only a graceful building rendered in wood and steel, it is also net-zero-energy and LEED Platinum. Since EHDD got the nod for Architecture, as opposed to Energy + Sustainability, it’s a indication that the profession is starting to value design and sustainability together as a package.
Mark Cavagnero’s sensitive additions to the Oakland Museum of California and Perkins+Will’s careful restoration of the Presidio Landmark were singled out in the historical preservation category. This category is a recent addition to the awards lineup, but one that should continue to have some great entries.
In interiors, an amused murmur went up in the crowd when they learned about Sand Studios’ medical marijuana dispensary, SPARC, which took home a Citation award. But the biggest laugh of the evening came when the picturesque Honor winner for unbuilt work was announced: Anderson Anderson Architecture’s Lips Tower, described as a “thirsty urban utility, sucking water and solar energy from the sky.”