Thirteen architectural firms, one architect and two works of art were honored at the 22nd American Institute of Architects Orange County Design Awards, held Friday night at Noguchi Garden.
Innovative use of natural light and a concern for public interaction with architecture were the deciding factors in the two Jury's Special Awards.
One went to Stoutenborough Inc. in Irvine for its renovation of the 36,000-square-foot entertainment court at Puente Hills Entertainment Center in Industry. Its roof features a solar tracker, which follows the sun's path; the light is reflected through a series of mirrors to create a prismatic effect in the space. The other Special Award went to Langdon Wilson in Newport Beach and Colin Baden in Foothill Ranch for their 425,000-square-foot Oakley Technical Center in Foothill Ranch.
Honor Awards, the top prize category, went to four firms.
Paul Zajfen Architect/IBI Group in Laguna Beach was honored for the post office in Anaheim. Jurors commented on the rarity of such a "light and airy" institutional building. The International Elementary School in Long Beach--a collaboration between Thomas Blurock Architects Inc. in Costa Mesa and Thom Mayne of Morphosis in Santa Monica--won the firms an Honor Award for "cutting edge" treatment of an urban site.
Lehrer Architects, based in Los Angeles, won a top honor for a Capistrano Beach single-family home, which jurors admired for its "pristine" formal clarity. The Reserve, a resort in Indian Wells scheduled to be completed next year, won an Honor Award for Costa Mesa's McLarand Vasquez & Partners Inc., which was also was cited for its consistent quality in residential and commercial design.
In the Merit Awards category, Irvine-based LPA Inc. picked up three of the four prizes for the Westwood Medical Center in Los Angeles, the chapel for Lake Hills Community Church in Laguna Hills and an as-yet unbuilt luxury-car showroom in Laguna Niguel. The other winner was perennial AIA OC awardee Mark H. Singer Architects for the Fong residence in Singer's hometown, Laguna Beach.
Honorable mentions went to the Costa Mesa firms Westgroup Designs Inc. and Klages Carter Vail & Partners; the Newport Beach firms Scheurer Architects Inc. and the Woodward Group; and Melvyn Bernstein Architects in Los Angeles.
The jurors were Ray Keppe, award-winning founder of the Southern California Institute of Architecture in Santa Monica; Barry Berkus, a Santa Barbara architect known for his work in residential design and urban planning; and Hsin-Ming Fung, associate professor of architecture at Cal Poly Pomona and director of design at Hodgetts + Fung Design Assoc. in Los Angeles.
The President's Award, bestowed by the AIA OC board of director for service to the architectural community, went to Ray Watson, vice president of the Irvine Co.
Michael Botwinick, the director of the Newport Harbor Art Museum until it became the Orange County Museum of Art last year, was one of five jurors for the Architectural Foundation of Orange County's Art in Public Places award. Botwinick, who now directs the Center for Regional Studies at UC Irvine, honored Tony DeLap's OCMA sculpture "Floating Lady," which sits on the museum's front lawn.
An award of merit for art in public places went to the Huntington Beach Art Center and Fountain Valley High School for the center's recent exhibition of student projects, "A Fresh Look Around the River: Bringing the Past to the Future."