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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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