Orchids, Onions & Opportunities

OOO logo

Orchids, Onions & Opportunities (OOO) is a follow up program to SDAF's annual Orchids & Onions program, which recognizes the good, the bad and the 'could be improved upon' in our built environmment.

Orchids, Onions & Opportunities is comprised of an original exhibition peppered with interactive public participation. The exhibition will present challenges, realities, inspirations and possibilities as they relate to the design, development and use of public spaces within our region, provide numerous opportunities for you to chime in and let us know what you think.

The Reality: What could have been done better?
Using examples of prominent Onions since 2006, we will address how they have detracted from San Diego’s public realm.

The Inspirations: Who is doing it well?
We will provide case studies of projects from cities around the world that have had profound success in the development of their public spaces.

More Reality: What are we currently doing or considering?
We will illustrate some of the plans currently on the table and /or approved and underway for San Diego's public realm.

The Possibilities and Opportunities: What should we do next?
We will highlight some of the big civic issues that San Diego is currently wrestling with, such as to build or not to build a new stadium, the convention center expansion and how to deal with the removal of cars from Balboa Park's Plaza de Panama.

Why are we doing it?
Orchids & Onions promotes design excellence and is our region’s most visible, popular and effective vehicle for stimulating community awareness and response to San Diego's built environment. Our goal is that this new aspect of the program, which takes both a closer look and offers a broader perspective of the challenges we face, will further facilitate community engagement.

Orchids & Onions no longer accepts nominations for unbuilt projects, but it is a critical part of the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s mission to encourage public dialog on such projects, as this is where the most influence for change lies. We believe that this event may shape the direction of an ongoing program which will be a forum for such discussion.

San Diego is in a period of pivotal change and growth. It is easy to assume that the quality of our buildings and our urban design is beyond our control or in someone else's hands. But the reality is that we all play a role in shaping our built environment, either by demanding excellence or settling for mediocrity, or worse.

Our goal is to enhance public participation in the critical decision making process that will shape our region. More than ever before, we are bombarded with visions of what could be. From the never-ending saga of the search for a new stadium site, to the celebrations surrounding the 2015 Balboa Park Centennial to the Greater San Diego Vision and to our waterfront, there is no shortage of big ideas. Studies show that the majority of San Diegans believe that a grand plan is needed to ensure the preservation and sustainable growth of this region. We want to provide a vehicle to inform the public on issues relating to the future of our built environment.

San Diegans agree that our region offers many recreational opportunities associated with the natural public spaces of our beaches and parks, ocean and bays which create the image for which San Diego is known. We want to expand this image and be a part of creating a San Diego that is known not only for its spectacular natural environment, but also for its outstanding built environment. San Diegans already care deeply for our region, now we must demand only the best in the design and development of our public spaces.

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San Diego Architectural Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organziation dedicated to education and promotion of outstanding architecture, planning and urban design throughout the San Diego region.

P.O. Box 122228
San Diego, CA 92112-2228
619.232.1385 Phone
Federal Tax ID: 95-3513927


You may join SDAF, renew or change your membership information by clicking here.