The new campus of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law added two prestigious “Orchids” to its growing collection of recognitions at the 2011 Orchids & Onions Awards Ceremony on the evening of Thursday, October 27. TJSL also was the only San Diego project this year to score two Orchids.
The 2011 Orchids & Onions jury of six design professionals and artists awarded the highly coveted Orchids to TJSL in two categories: Landscape Architecture and Programming & Planning. The latter was a special award category among the 2011 Top Ten Orchids that recognized how the new TJSL campus integrates with the larger community. This year there were more than 150 nominations for Orchid awards.
The law school’s landscape architecture earned high praise from the jury and captured the first Orchid of the evening. Presenter Jim Brown of Public Architecture and Planning said it was refreshing that this award was going to a “law school named after a landscape architect” in a reference to one of Thomas Jefferson’s many talents. Brown noted that the jury was impressed with TJSL’s fifth floor terrace and, in particular, with “the sunburst” of colorful plants behind the curved granite study counter. The jury described the school’s overall architectural landscaping as a “scintillating sanctuary in downtown San Diego.”
In accepting this award – which was represented by an actual potted orchid plant - before the audience of more than 500 at the historic Balboa Theatre at Horton Plaza, TJSL Dean Rudy Hasl thanked the judges and commented, “This has been a collaborative project with our landscape architect, Greg Nowell (who accompanied the Dean on stage), and our plant specialist, Jim Mumford, to create an urban oasis in the East Village – a drought tolerant, environmentally sensitive collection of plants that celebrate the magic and beauty of our unique regional flora and fauna.”
Regarding the selection of TJSL for the Programming & Planning Orchid, the President of the San Diego Architectural Foundation, Larry Hoeksema, said the jury found the new TJSL campus to be “a collaborative team effort of the best sort…that takes into account and incorporates the larger community. The project is not just about the Law School but about the East Village; the existing fabric, the mixed community and synergy of students and their extraordinary energy and how this activates the community.”
The jury, according to Hoeksema, was impressed by TJSL’s decision to build in East Village rather than in the suburbs. “The fact that they decided to create their campus as an urban infill project is commendable.”
The jury also liked the incorporation of the student housing nearby that keeps the students in the East Village. Overall, they said “it’s an important message to similar higher education institutions to think about the larger community and what the parameters of an educational facility are or should be.”
Dean Hasl, accompanied by Frank Landry of the architectural firm of Carrier Johnson, proudly accepted the award and acknowledged the contributions of S2 Architecture (Design Architect), Carrier Johnson (Executive Architect) and ID Studios of Solana Beach (Interior Design).
“We worked together to create space that supported the intellectual and social community that we are nurturing at the School and to make it a place that engaged our entire community and would be seen as a resource for the entire community,” said Dean Hasl.
Orchids & Onions is an educational and fundraising program presented by the San Diego Architectural Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to education, and the promotion of outstanding architecture, planning and urban design throughout the San Diego region. As the Foundation’s website states: “It is the only interactive, community-based program geared towards raising awareness and encouraging practical discourse in response to San Diego's built environment. The success of the program relies heavily upon the citizens of San Diego; the public’s nominations and feedback about the nominations published on the O&O website are integral to planning, growth and future development of our city.”