2023 Design Award Recipients Announced by AIA California

Nineteen projects across the state and the world deliver design excellence and address climate change.

Sacramento, California—Two divergent projects—one, a shared amenity space for a community of biotech companies in South San Francisco, the second, a multi-family residential development that rethinks requirements of the City of Santa Monica—were announced as recipients of AIA California’s highest-level Design Awards today. They joined seventeen additional recipients that embody design excellence.

Connecting both top recipients is the implementation of environmental performance and sustainability strategies at rigorous levels. Though each 2023 Design Award recipient is recognized for design excellence, all must address the American Institute of Architects’ Framework for Design Excellence principles, leading to a zero-carbon, equitable, resilient, and healthy built environment.

Designed by Gensler, The Lighthouse, located in South San Francisco, features net zero energy, with all energy demands provided by on-site renewable resources. Its heavy timber construction, a key design feature, uses FSC-certified wood. “This elegantly unassuming building makes the most of its opportunity to provide a community amenity and to do it sustainably,” noted the 2023 Design Awards Jury. “[It is a] thoughtfully considered, well-balanced, cleanly-detailed contribution to the neighborhood.”

The second project, KoningEizenberg Architecture’s The Park, an ambitious 249 units of housing facilitated across four buildings, reaches a 73% Energy Use Intensity (EUI) reduction, and on-site renewables generate 20% of its energy use. “This [project] is a breath of fresh air when you look at the formula of housing in Los Angeles; they worked with the City of Santa Monica to rewrite the code—a herculean task.” noted the jury. “The way the building meets the ground is quite sculptural and activates the pedestrian scale in a unique way.”

“This year, AIA California has advanced key measures on a state level to address the growing climate crisis; that is our responsibility as an architectural organization,” said AIA California President Scott Gaudineer, AIA. “The Design Awards program recognizes the deftness of individual architectural firms at seamlessly folding these principles into great design.”

Added AIA California Executive Vice President Nicki Dennis Stephens, Hon. AIA, “The breadth of winning projects, from Adaptive Reuse to Commercial, Single Family Residential to Institutional and Multi-family demonstrates the capacity of AIA members to achieve work that elevates quality of life.”

The 2023 AIA California Design Winners were awarded across four different levels: From highest they are: the Climate Action Awards (2); Honor Awards (4); Merit Awards (7); and Special Commendations for specific areas of attainment as outlined in the AIA’s Framework for Design Excellence (6). Each achieved varied sustainability benchmarks; projects that did not reach minimum standards in California were not considered for awards.

A jury of five—Betsy del Monte, FAIA – Principal Consultant, Cameron MacAllister Group; Ed Ogosta, AIA – Principal of Edward Ogosta Architecture; Julian Palacio, AIA NCARB LEED AP – Principal of JPAS, Assistant Professor Adjunct, Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union; Mary Ann Schicketanz, AIA – Founder and Principal of Studio Schicketanz; and Z Smith, Ph.D., FAIA, LEED Fellow, WELL AP – Principal | Director of Sustainability & Performance – Eskew Dumez Ripple—reviewed more than two-hundred design awards submissions, then discussed them together over two days to finalize the list of nineteen recipients.

See a complete list of recipients below. For images of winners, comments from the jury on each project, and more, click here.

Climate Action Awards
(In parallel to aesthetic design considerations, design at minimum, explicitly incorporates effective performance/sustainability strategies in multiple areas—energy, water, materials, health, ecology, resilience.)

The Lighthouse (South San Francisco, California)
Architect: Gensler
The Park (Santa Monica)
Architect: KoningEizenberg Architecture

Honor Awards
(In parallel to aesthetic design considerations, each project at least explicitly incorporates performance/sustainability principles, and does so *effectively* in at least one area—from designing for Energy Efficiency to designing for Discovery. For a complete list, visit AIA’s Framework for Design Excellence.)

Los Angeles Sixth Street Viaduct Replacement (Los Angeles, California)
Architect: Michael Maltzan Architecture, Inc.
Modal Home (Menlo Park, California)
Architect: S^A | Schwartz and Architecture
Qaumajuq (Winnipeg, Manitoba)
Architect: Michael Maltzan Architecture, Inc.
University of Melbourne Student Pavilion (Melbourne, Victoria)
Architect: KoningEizenberg Architecture / Lyons & Architects EAT

Merit Awards
(In parallel to aesthetic design considerations, each recipient was at least minimally compliant—by California standards–with basic but complete performance/sustainability considerations…)

Ford Motor Company Building – WMG (Los Angeles, California)
Architect: Rockefeller Kempel Architects / D. Rocky Rockefeller
Four Roof House (Helmville, Montana)
Architect: T.W. Ryan Architecture
Houston Endowment Headquarters (Houston, Texas)
Architect: Kevin Daly Architects + Productora
Octothorpe House (Bend, Oregon)
Architect: Mork-Ulnes Architects
Sandi Simon Center for Dance at Chapman University (Orange, California)
Architect: Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects [LOHA]
Saxum Vineyard Equipment Barn (Paso Robles, California)
Architect: Clayton Korte
Uber World Headquarters San Francisco (San Francisco, California)
Architect: SHoP Architects & Quezada Architecture

Special Commendations
(Recognized by the jury for design that excelled specifically in one of the ten principles as outlined in the AIA Framework for Design Excellence)

Design for Ecosystems
Westwood Hills Nature Center (St. Louis Park, Minnesota)
Architect: HGA

Design for Energy
Pacific Landing (Santa Monica, California)
Architect: Patrick TIGHE Architecture

Design for Equitable Communities
Southeast Community Center at 1550 Evans (San Francisco, California)
Architect: San Francisco Public Works – Bureau of Architecture

Design for Integration
Harvey Mudd College, Scott A. McGregor Computer Science Center (Claremont, California)
Architect: Steinberg Hart

Design for Resources
Walker Hall Graduate Student Center (Davis, California)
Architect: Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects

Design for Well-Being
The College Preparatory School Math and Student Life Buildings (Oakland, California)
Architect: Jensen Architects

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