Open House San Diego announces largest architecture tour yet


Open House San Diego announces largest architecture tour yet

The 132-year-old Hotel Del Coronado will be one of the more significant additions to this year’s Open House! San Diego (Armandoartist/Wikipedia Commons)

Open House San Diego (OHSD), the annual architecture and urban design event hosted by the San Diego Architectural Foundation (SDAF), will take place this year from March 6 to 8. Now celebrating its fifth year of operation in the city, the free event was founded by San Diego-native Susanne Friestedt as the third city in America to be included in the official Open House Worldwide program following New York and Chicago.

OHSD is a rare opportunity to see nearly 100 of the area’s world-famous sites—including the Louis Kahn-designed Salk Institute and, for the first time this year, the Hotel Del Coronado—alongside its lesser-known sites of local significance in neighborhoods including Downtown San Diego, Bankers Hill, Balboa Park, Barrio Logan, Point Loma, and La Jolla.

Black and white photograph of a squat modern building
Irving Gill’s First Church of Christ, Scientist (1910) will be just one of many buildings on tour from the early modernist architect. (Courtesy San Diego History Center)

A major feature of this year’s Open House San Diego will be the work of Irving Gill, a turn-of-the-century architect whose minimalist reinterpretations of the local mission-style architecture were among the very first modernist structures in Southern California. “His buildings, once so avant-garde, have eased seamlessly into the San Diego landscape, simply because they were designed to fit here,” the event guide reads. While SDAF will provide tours of his work in the neighborhoods of Bankers Hill and La Jolla, the official Irving Gill Walking Tour will guide visitors through a cluster of his buildings in Coronado that show off the architect’s wide stylistic palette.

The Hotel Del Coronado is another prominent addition to this year’s offerings. The 132-year-old National Historic Landmark is one of the largest Queen Anne Victorian buildings in the country and is currently subject to a new master plan that will add over 140 guest accommodations and a new conference center. Kathy Breedlove, the master plan communications director and SDAF vice president will provide a behind-the-scenes tour of the historic preservation efforts underway.

Other highlights of this year’s open house include the Craftsman-style Truax Lofts, the recently renovated Balboa Theatre movie palace, and the Shayan House, San Diego’s first LEED Gold-certified house, designed by Nakhshab Development & Design in 2012. The SDAF website has the full list of participating sites.