October 19th Luncheon Recap: Architecture in San Diego

by Aman­da Eva Jun­gles, Mar­ket­ing Coor­di­na­tor, Delaw­ie

(L-R) Eric Naslund, FAIA of Stu­dio E, Frank Ter­nasky, AIA, LEED AP of Delaw­ie, Ben Dal­ton, AIA of Miller Hull, Jonathan Segal, FAIA, and mod­er­a­tor Mar­vin J. Malecha, FAIA, Pres­i­dent of the NewSchool of Archi­tec­ture and Design.

On Octo­ber 19th, a pan­el of renowned local San Diego archi­tects dis­cussed the trends shap­ing America’s Finest City. Mod­er­at­ed by Mar­vin Malecha, FAIA, Pres­i­dent of the NewSchool of Archi­tec­ture and Design, the pan­elists led the audi­ence of SMPS San Diego Chap­ter mem­bers through brief pre­sen­ta­tions, all of which har­mo­nized on cen­tral themes of com­mu­ni­ty, authen­tic­i­ty and regen­er­a­tion.

The rela­tion­ship between thought lead­ers and var­i­ous voic­es in the com­mu­ni­ty struck a chord with a few pan­elists, as many of them design high­ly vis­i­ble struc­tures that are sub­ject­ed to pub­lic scruti­ny by var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ty review boards and advo­ca­cy groups. This process may inad­ver­tent­ly dimin­ish a design’s authen­tic­i­ty through repeat­ed requests for revi­sions from cit­i­zens who may lack pro­fes­sion­al archi­tec­tur­al cre­den­tials, ulti­mate­ly frus­trat­ing archi­tects pur­su­ing these project types.


The pan­elists not­ed that as archi­tects and ulti­mate­ly as stew­ards of the built envi­ron­ment, they should be more authen­ti­cal­ly engaged in the design process, through hon­esty and sim­plic­i­ty.  Malecha believes authen­tic­i­ty should be para­mount, from the way a build­ing inter­acts with its users, to the way it is embraced by the com­mu­ni­ty. The struc­tures that archi­tects design become long­stand­ing and con­tribut­ing land­marks and should be designed as a nod to the val­ues the com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers embrace. The architect’s ulti­mate grat­i­fi­ca­tion lies in see­ing how peo­ple become trans­formed as the build­ing takes shape—from the first pour of the building’s foun­da­tion to the first glimpse of the building’s fea­tures lit at night.

Con­tin­u­ing the dis­cus­sion, Malecha polite­ly request­ed that archi­tects think more about repur­pos­ing and reusing exist­ing struc­tures. He not­ed the change in our val­ues, where we once bull­dozed build­ings instead of pre­serv­ing them. The pan­elists agreed that the catch­phrase “sus­tain­abil­i­ty” has been used to the point of inef­fec­tive­ness and irrel­e­vance. The word “regen­er­a­tive” could be an ami­ca­ble syn­onym for the afore­men­tioned buzz word. Mar­vin end­ed the lun­cheon with a chal­lenge for soci­ety. He said, “per­haps we could be a soci­ety that cleans instead of pol­lutes, a world that gen­er­ates instead of expends. As archi­tects, we must think about nat­ur­al sys­tems and be the fore­most advo­cates for regen­er­a­tive design.”

Don’t for­get to sign up for November’s lun­cheon, Post Elec­tion Wrap-Up: What Comes Next for San Diego and the Rest of Cal­i­for­nia?

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