Last week, local architects and designers gathered for Orchids and Onions — basically an awards show celebrating great buildings and interiors around town. Plus a few not so greats. This has been around for forty years.

A pair of Peoples’ Choice awards were voted on from a lengthy list of nominations by the general public. But for the most part the following architects and designers were being judged by a jury of their peers. Let’s look at the Orchids first.

Orchid: PLNU Science Center – Sator Hall and Latter Hall
Point Loma Nazarene University, Location: San Diego, CA, Architect: Carrier JohnsonNo question why this was honored — it’s breathtaking, even when compared to Sunset Cliffs just behind it.
Architect: Carrier Johnson
Location: Point Loma Nazarene University
Photo by Lawrence Anderson Photography & Marcus Emerson/PLNU

Orchid: Spanos Athletic Performance Center spanos_center
Can your gym do this?
Architect: hanna gabriel wells
Location: UCSD, La Jolla
Photo from Orchids & Onions Nominator

Orchid: Mr. Robinson Building robinson
Prolific architect Segal continues to leave his polished in-fill mark on San Diego — nearly two dozen projects now, and counting.
Architect: Jonathan Segal
Location: Hillcrest
Photo from Orchids & Onions Nominator

Historic Preservation Orchid: Liberty Public Marketexterior-patio-3
They give out awards for improving on old buildings and Liberty Public Market sure qualifies. As does much of Liberty Station — the neighborhood of remade military barracks earned 5 nominations.
Architect: obrARCHITECTURE
Location: Liberty Station
Photo by Robert Benson

Shepherd YMCA Firehouse
A good year for gyms, apparently. This one’s a refurbished fire station.
Architect: Bennett + Associates
Location: La Jolla
Photo from Orchids & Onions Nominator

Interior Design Orchids: Ironside Fish & Oyster, Kindred, Underground Elephant
That’s right — Paul Basile’s uncanny point of view earned him three Orchids this year — a modest few to add to his collection.
Designer: Basile Studio
Locations: Little Italy, South Park, East Village

Interior Design Orchid: Madison
The only non-Basile restaurant interior recognized, and deservedly so. Lei what?
Designer: Archisects, David and Anna Sindelar
Location: Universtiy Heights
Photo from Orchids & Onions Nominator

Landscape Orchid: Qualcomm Pacific Center
I have to admit, I was surprised to hear the Qualcomm campus was recognized… until I saw this. If I worked at Qualcomm my picnic lunches would be endless.
Architect: landLAB & BNIM
Location: Sorrento Valley
Photo from Orchids & Onions Nominator

Peoples’ Choice Orchid: Sempra Energy Headquarters Building
This office building either won the peoples’ favorite because online polls are infallible, or because elegant highrises aren’t easy to come by in East Village.
Architect: Carrier Johnson + Culture
Location: East Village
Photo by Ian Patzke

Grand Orchid Winner: St. Thomas More Catholic Church6_stthomasmorecatholicchurch_2016_grand-orchid_ianpatzke-4The biggest winner of the night was this house of worship, proving all architects go to heaven.
Architect: Renzo Zecchetto
Location: Oceanside
Photo by Ian Patzke

And now, the Onions…

Onion: Sunset Plaza
Nobody seems sure what this is other than a vegan fast food restaurant. And while there’s a pretty impressive KFC in LA, it’s tough to imagine one as a venue for greatness.
Architect: Unknown
Location: Ocean Beach
Photo from Orchids & Onions Nominator

Onion: Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve Ranger Station rangerstation
Honestly, this one seems like low hanging fruit. Maybe the ranger station should have been built with cantilevers to avoid this dishonor?
Architect: Unknown
Location: Black Mountain
Photo from Orchids & Onions Nominator

Onion: Cesar Chavez Campus
I guess the message here is gentrification doesn’t always equal beautification.
Architect: Martinez Cutri
Location: Barrio Logan
Photo from Orchids & Onions Nominator

Onion AND Peoples’ Choice Onion: Hilton Garden Inn Bayside Hotel
Everybody’s least favorite building, it seems, this new harborside hotel was voted an onion both by the jury and the people. Personally, I’ve seen worse, including plenty among this years’ nominees. Maybe it’s a Little Italy thing.
Architect: Martinez Cutri
Location: Little Italy
Photo by Maha Comianos