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The San Diego Architectural Foundation Announces 2019 Orchids & Onions Jurors

Design professionals and artists come together to determine the official Orchids & Onions based on public nominations

San Diego CA— The San Diego Architectural Foundation (SDAF) has revealed the 2019 jurors for the 43rd Annual Orchids & Onions program. Comprised of architects, interior designers, landscape architects, urban planners, educators, a graduate student and other allied professionals, the jury will select this year’s official Orchid & Onion winners that will be announced at the Annual Awards Ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 3 at The US Grant (a past Orchid winner).

“We are pleased to introduce this year’s group of jurors who all bring with them immense knowledge and experience in the design and architecture industry,” said Laura Warner, Orchids & Onions Program Co-Chair and Principal Architect for CityWorks. “Although each juror comes from a different background, they all have a strong commitment to improve San Diego’s public spaces for the benefit of our citizens. We’re so grateful for their support of the program and we can’t wait to see which projects they will pick to be this year’s Orchids and Onions!”

The jury will review the nominated projects submitted by the public, create a short list and tour the properties to evaluate the best and “not so best” in architecture and design. The project categories the jurors will review include architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, historic preservation and miscellaneous.

The 11 jury members of the local design community who will choose this year’s Orchids & Onions winners include:

Miti Aiello, Professor & Business Owner

Miti Aiello is an Assistant Professor and academic researcher in the Undergraduate and Graduate Architecture program at the NewSchool of Architecture & Design. She is also the owner of ArchistDesign Studio, with projects ranging from residential remodels, permitting, urban infill projects, pro-bono work and architectural photography.

Matthew Ellis, AIA, NCARB, Architect

With more than 24 years of design experience in San Diego, Matthew Ellis has a vast portfolio ranging from single-family residential to commercial and institutional design. As founder of Bluemotif Architecture (2002), Matthew is widely recognized in Southern California for his contributions to the hospitality design industry. In 2018, he merged his practice with international design firm PGAL and continues the local leadership as Principal of the firm. Matthew is the recipient of numerous design awards and accolades for local projects such as Kettner Exchange, Juniper & Ivy, The Crack Shacks, Farmer & The Seahorse, and Cowboy Star.

 Tatiana Ortiz-Rubio, Artist

Tatiana Ortiz-Rubio is a Mexican visual artist who focuses on oil painting, drawing and most recently, muralism. Her work is inspired by the experience of time, exploring the present and the transitions of change. She currently teaches drawing and painting at the University of San Diego and was invited to participate in the Biennial Maria Izquierdo in Guadalajara, Mexico where she received a grant from the Centro Cultural Tijuana (CECUT) to create a temporary mural installation.

Jessica Pope, Graduate Student

Jessica Pope is a second year master’s student at the NewSchool of Architecture & Design in the IPAL program and a Design Assistant at SGPA Architecture and Planning. Jessica’s decision to become an architect was inspired by the desire to travel and help people around the world through architecture and design. She recently won Outstanding Design Award from NewSchool as well as Honorable Mention in the CASH student design competition.

Brian Rickling, AIA, NCARB, Architect

With more than 25 years of experience in the architectural profession, Brian Rickling’s expertise as a preservation architect covers a wide range of project types including historic restoration, historic reconstruction, and adaptive reuse of historic and non-historic structures. As a Senior Principal Architect for Heritage Architecture and Planning, his recent portfolio includes the rehabilitation of the Naval Postgraduate School’s Herrmann Hall in Monterey, the General’s Quarters and four Officer’s Quarters at Marine Corp Recruit Depot in San Diego, and the Fresno Santa Fe Depot Rehabilitation and Adaptive Reuse Project.

Regina VanderWerff, Business Development Manager

San Diego native, Regina VanderWerff grew up in the building industry with her father as a Defense Contractor for the Navy. Her career includes working on the design side in the model home industry, single family residential, and commercial interiors. Regina is the current Business Development Manager at Suffolk Construction and is extensively involved in a multitude of local industry organizations including The Urban Land Institute, CREW, NAIOP, DSDP, SDHF, DBIA, ISPE, and BioCom.

Heather Ruszcyk, AIA, Architect

Heather Ruszcyk is an Architect at the Miller Hull Partnership, where she has helped elevate public facing work in San Diego. This includes highly visible projects at the Scripps and UC San Diego campuses, along the San Diego waterfront, and at the San Diego Zoo. Heather’s work is focused on purposeful placemaking and environmental stewardship in the built environment. She is committed to bettering our city through thoughtful design and has been involved in SDAF’s Open House program since its inception.

 David Hecht, AIA, LEED AP, Architect

David Hecht, AIA, LEED AP has practiced architecture in California since 1987. His extensive design and building experience ranges from single-family homes to religious, commercial, academic, hospitality and multi-family buildings as well as numerous corporate headquarters. Mr. Hecht’s distinctive structures have received numerous design awards and have been featured in international publications. The Cannery Lofts, winner of an Orange County AIA Honor Award, as well as the Builder’s Choice Project of the Year Award, consists of the architecture and urban design for an entire city block in Newport Beach, California. Mr. Hecht manages the San Francisco office of TANNERHECHT Architecture.

James Brown, Architect  

James Brown is a well-known and published practitioner that established his firm, Public Architecture and Planning, in 1989. His diverse portfolio of work explores place making at a variety of scales including furniture, public art, architect as developer, and urban infill projects. James is also the owner and architect behind  Bread & Salt, an experimental arts center in Logan Height, which has expanded to include artist lofts, a café, and a performance space.

David Malmuth, Developer

David Malmuth established his development company in 2010 to create art-inspired places that transform communities. The following year, he and Pete Garcia formed I.D.E.A. Partners to lead the development of the I.D.E.A. District – Innovation + Design + Education + Arts – in downtown San Diego. This transformative initiative, located on 35 city blocks in the Upper East Village, aims to create a vibrant, sustainable mixed-use neighborhood that will generate thousands of high-paying design and technology jobs in coming years.

Amber Lake, PLA, ASLA, LEED AP, Landscape Architect

Amber Lake, PLA, ASLA, LEED AP, is the lead Landscape Architect at Carrier Johnson + CULTURE. She received her Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo and a Master of Architecture from the NewSchool of Architecture & Design in San Diego.

Her extensive portfolio includes 11 mixed-use developments, two hospitality projects, seven parks, recreation and public art projects, four corporate office developments, seven academic jobs and eight large-scale master plans. She has been recognized with three President’s Awards by the American Society of Landscape Architects, San Diego Chapter.

To learn more about the annual Orchids & Onions program, visit www.sdarchitecture.org/program/orchids-onions/.