Press Releases – September 2020

SDAF Press Release: People’s Choice Shortlist September 2020
San Diego Architectural Foundation (SDAF) Announces People’s Choice Shortlist for 44th annual Orchids & Onions Awards

  • People’s Choice Winner to be voted on live during first ever virtual event on Oct 1st
  •  Organization to partner with SDNOMA to raise scholarship funds for young minority architecture students during event
  •  Registration now open to attend, vote and donate during live event

SAN DIEGO, CA — The San Diego Architectural Foundation (SDAF) has announced the five finalists for its annual Orchids & Onions People’s Choice Awards. The three shortlisted Orchids are The Children’s Workshop (interior design), Audeo K-5 Charter Homeschool (interior design) and The Jackson (architecture). The two shortlisted Onions are The Lofts on Laurel (architecture) and BLVD North Park Apartments (architecture). Projects were shortlisted based on those receiving the most comments, likes and shares across SDAF’s social media channels and nominations pages.

For the first time ever, attendees of the virtual award gala will be able to vote on the final Orchid and Onion People’s Choice winners during the live event. The Orchids and Onions gala is a longstanding San Diego tradition and celebrates great design across the region. By allowing the public to nominate and vote for the best (Orchids) and worst (Onions) in architectural design, form, and function, it gives San Diegans a voice in shaping our built environment.

Another first for the organization, SDAF will be partnering with the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) and its newly forming San Diego chapter (SDNOMA) to raise scholarship funds on the night of the event. A live donation platform provided by non-profit will enable attendees to directly contribute to the scholarship fund, aimed at helping support a more diverse and inclusive architectural industry. Scholarship funds will go towards supporting the first year of architecture school for a worthy minority student.

Margit Whitlock, President of SDAF commented: “As the clock ticks down we can’t wait to celebrate the best (and worst) of San Diego architecture and design with fellow San Diegans at this year’s virtual Orchids & Onions Gala. It’s been great to see the public’s engagement on our website and social platforms with the wide range of nominees, making selecting the People’s Choice Shortlist an easy task. We look forward to seeing what the public decides on Oct 1 when they can cast a first ever live vote to decide the final People’s Choice Orchid & Onion.”

“In another first, we are also so thrilled to be partnering with SDNOMA, to help raise awareness of its new chapter and to work together to make the field of architecture a diverse and inclusive place. In addition to casting a live People’s Choice vote on the evening, event attendees will also have the opportunity to donate to scholarships for young minority architecture students. At SDAF, our mission is to make architecture and good design more accessible and accountable to the people – regardless of the color of their skin. By partnering, we aim to do just that.”

Michael Robinson, SDNOMA President commented: “NOMA’s mission is to empower local chapters to foster justice and equity in communities of color through outreach, community advocacy, professional development, and design excellence. In my opinion, the creation of this scholarship, for a worthy minority student, is an excellent way of demonstrating NOMA’s mission.”

Registration & event details

To register for the event please go to Event tickets are free for SDAF members, and $10 for non-members. To become an SDAF member visit

Donations collected during the event will be dedicated to support a local minority youth in pursuit of a career in architecture.  Thanks to our partners SDNOMA and for supporting this effort to improve diversity and inclusivity in the field of design.

Attendees are invited to join SDAF for a pre-function event prior to the official ceremony and treat themselves to custom designed food and drink from local partners Snake Oil Cocktail Company and Hive Sushi Lounge.  In support of local businesses, food & drink kits will be available for purchase through the SDAF website at the time of your registration and can be picked up at the Julep Venue (1735 Hancock St.) the day of the event. During the pre-function event, Chef Chris and Mixologist Frankie will explain what you are tasting and give a short demo on how to make your own!

For further updates on event happenings please visit SDAF’s social channels:

About Orchids & Onions

Orchids & Onions is a fundraising program of the San Diego Architectural Foundation, an independent 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to education and the promotion of outstanding architecture, planning and urban design throughout the San Diego region. The objective of Orchids & Onions is to raise awareness and encourage practical discourse about the environment, thereby effecting positive change and more thoughtful design. Orchids & Onions affords all San Diegans an opportunity to nominate what they believe deserves praise or critique, comment on all nominations, and even present an award by voting for the People’s Choice Orchid & Onion as part of the program. To learn more, visit

About SDAF

The San Diego Architectural Foundation (SDAF) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization with the mission to educate and promote outstanding architecture, landscape, interior, and urban design to improve the quality of life for all San Diegans. SDAF sponsors public programs throughout the year, including youth programs, architectural tours and social events.

To learn more about SDAF, visit

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Media contact:
Alicia Griffiths
PR representative
951 404 8349