Area Architects Recognize Innovative Architectural Designs Wednesday

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Photography by RACHEL YOUNG

1:14 am | October 3, 2013

It was the “Doug Ewing show” at the 2013 Design Awards as Ewing pulled in four awards including the highest honor of Craftsman Award from the jurors and the People’s Choice Award in a ceremony in Old Pasadena on Wednesday evening.

Appropriately set amid the historical architecture of iconic One Colorado, the 2013 Design Awards recognized innovative and excellent architectural accomplishments within the borders of Pasadena and the Foothills or by an architect in the American Institute of Architects Pasadena & Foothill (AIAPF).

“Our profession of architecture is about optimism, about hope. Without hope, life doesn’t exist, and the same with architecture, without hope architecture doesn’t exist. We have to remind people by our buildings how great we are and how amazing we are as human beings,” AIAPF President Alek Zarifian said in a stirring speech about why design matters even in the midst of a crisis with Syria and a shutdown government.

Architects set the stage for everyday living, influencing how a city like Pasadena views itself and carries itself about everyday business, as well as how it will be remembered in the future.

Quoting the creator of the guiding principles of architecture Master of Ceremonies Professor Steven Lewis said, “Buildings that we do for our society should be contemporary of our time… such that they will become mirrors of who we are as a society so that 100 years from now when people look back at what we left behind they see who we were as a society, the greatness we had, that’s our task.”

That is precisely what the winners of the awards set about doing. At the event, the over 100 guests received one vote to pick the ultimate favorite for the People’s choice. A five-member jury analyzed the 35 entries for the eight categories to choose the other winners in three tiers, honor being the highest tier followed by merit and then citation awards.

People’s Choice award and the highest juror picked honor called the Craftsman Award both went to Douglas S. Ewing, FAIA for his creation Shining Mountain Guest Ranch Lodge.

Ewing exemplified extreme craft in the art of architecture, capturing a honed and consistent execution of a beautiful residence, using the best craftsmen from within 80 miles of the building.

“It’s a serious old world green building and that’s what I love about it,” Ewing said. “It’s atypical to anything architects do today. But the fact is that building is made out of real trees that died in the Yellowstone fire, rocks that were collected, half of them by myself, less than 300 yards from the spot the building was built. And [the client] got the roofing material off of two old bridges in Vermont that were condemned by the highway department. It was just amazing how this building came together.”

Impressed by the craftsmanship and glad he brought his first year architect students along from Pasadena City College, Steven Lewis ended the evening reminding architects of who they are.

“That passion exemplifies the flame that burns within all of us as architects. Doug I commend you for standing up for all of us for the things that are really important, the craft of what we do,” Lewis said.

The grand prize Honor Awards both fell in the category of Institutional/Educational.

Stephen Farneth, FAIA, of the Architectural Resources Group, was awarded for the Linde + Robinson Lab for Global Environmental Science built at California Institute of Technical. The lab was the first of its unique kind on the campus being LEED Platinum certified.

Farneth was also awarded a Savings by Design Award, recognizing the sustainability of the building. Savings by Design is a state-wide offered program by California utilities, available for new construction projects encouraging sustainable design construction and energy efficiency.

The second Honor award went to Modesto Junior College Student Services Building by Ann Knudsen, AIA Perkins and Will.

“It was both fresh and classical. Energetic and quite tranquil at the same time. The image of the building, the foreground was incredibly captivating,” Juror Michael Lehrer said about the building.

The second Savings by Design Award was awarded to Osborn Architects Timothy Ballard for the Playa Vista Elementary School, which is on track to be a LEED platinum building, geothermal and equipped with other sustainable design features. Osborn Architects Timothy Ballard also received a Merit Award.

The second Merit Award went to John Cambianica of CBA Partnership Architects for renovation project of Local 728.

Recipients of citation awards included: Sunglass House by Peter Tolkien, AIA; Quan Residence by Douglas S. Ewing, FAIA; Evergreen Villa’s Greenhouse Skilled Nursing Prototype by Douglas S. Ewing; Furnace Creek Visitor Center by James McLane, AIA, with Architectural Resources Group; and Interior of Jacobs Engineering by Richard Keating, AIA, Jacobs Corporate Headquarters.

For many of the architects, design is about creating livable space that can help students learn better, provide people comfort in their homes and efficiently use space and energy. Particularly for one of the awardees the Evergreen Villa’s Greenhouse Skilled Nursing Prototype that seeks to change the entire approach for homes for the elderly.

While it took more than four years for approval by the state of California, Brian Cravens described the project as a culture change in caring for the elderly that brings them into an actual home where the kitchen is connected to the great living room. The residents can bring in their own recipes they grew up with and with modifications from the dietician enjoy the food they love in a space that feels like home.

“Why should we take away their quality of life? California puts the elderly in a bubble. But now in this home they can smell the food as its being prepared, making it more appealing to eat and go on living,” Cravens said.

Two students also received citation awards for their projects.

Fourth year undergraduate design studio student Chris Norton Riley won for his Gallery for Danish and International Photography that he completed in his spring semester in the Danish Institute during study abroad.

Hovhanes Balyan, in his first year at UCLA Graduate School of Architecture, was awarded for Hotel Plathora.

For the first time in several years, the awards were ‘brought home’ to reflect architecture in the Foothills rather than big projects by larger firms in far off places. As head of the committee Douglas Ewing helped hone the awards to be Pasadena-centric. He also mentioned it was the first time the awards were not announced beforehand, but everyone had to wait anticipation that evening.

One of the jurors, Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard, reminded the architects that it was not too long ago that a notion was afoot that the buildings they sat amongst in Old Pasadena did not have a role to play in the future of Pasadena, yet thirty years later the buildings have a critical role.

“Architecture and history and design have a critical role in creating what we know and love as the city of Pasadena,” Bogaard said. “I express gratitude for the commitment you make in maintaining Pasadena as a unique community, one that has a very special sense of place and gives us a competitive advantage as a community over all the other cities I can think of.”

The other members of the jury included: Deborah Weintraub, the Chief Deputy City Engineer of Los Angeles City’s Bureau of Engineering; Michael Lehrer, president of Lehrer Architects Los Angeles Partner; Peyton Hall, Managing Principal of the Historic Resources Group; and Roger Owen Cocke, an emeritus of the American Institute of Architects.

Zarifian described architects as the unknown soldiers who fight a war for humanity alone into the late hours of the night that has inspired people for centuries and will inspire people for centuries to come.

“Cultures are cultivated and created by the hands of the artists and architects,” Zarifian said, “That’s what were celebrating today, the life of an architect as a designer who tries to spend his life searching for the best solution. By showing up you show the joy architecture brings to you and to us as a community and as a nation.”