Open House San Diego launches sixth edition, focuses on community and inclusivity

Dust off Those Walking Shoes

Open House San Diego launches sixth edition, focuses on community and inclusivity

The Palomar College Dome, an architectural highlight of San Marcos, one of seven communities showcased in the 2021 edition of OH! San Diego (Brady Architectural Photography/Courtesy SDAF)

The sixth annual Open House San Diego (OH! San Diego) is now up, running, and showcasing the sunny Southern Californian city’s bounty of architectural and cultural treasures. This year, the San Diego Architectural Foundation (SDAF) is presenting the event in a pandemic-appropriate hybrid format consisting of behind-the-scenes virtual tours and panel discussions, self-guided in-person tours, and socially distanced outdoor happenings. The event got underway last Friday, March 5, and runs through Friday, March 12.

Similar to the 2020 edition of older Midwest sibling Open House Chicago, this year’s OH! San Diego shifts focus away from oft-toured sites and well-known architectural gems in order to showcase seven dynamic and diverse neighborhoods as well as the “impactful buildings and public spaces” that populate them. Spread across the city and greater County of San Diego, the seven areas spotlighted throughout this community-centered edition of OH! San Diego are Barrio Logan, Chula Vista, City Heights, La Mesa, National City, San Marcos, and Southeast San Diego. By focusing on regions that haven’t necessarily played into previous OH! San Diego programming, participants will have the chance to explore—both online and in-person—new-to-them neighborhoods located in their own backyards. And for those who call the seven featured neighborhoods home, OH! San Diego is an opportunity for community members to celebrate and show off their architectural stuff.

an architectural distinctive library and courtyard
The Ricardo Legorreta-designed South Chula Vista Library, an architectural highlight of the San Diego County city (Brady Architectural Photography/SDAF)

“OH! San Diego is an opportunity for San Diegans to uncover hidden gems across our city,” said OH! San Diego cochair Anne Militante in a press statement. “From points of architectural and historical interest, to sites that hold unique cultural significance in our lives and communities—this year’s event aims to encourage San Diegans to explore and discover the beauty of our diverse region.”

A few of the highlights exploring the “intersection of design and community” are: A leisurely neighborhood food tour centered around Logan Avenue, the main commercial strip of Barrio Logan; self-guided walking tours of historic downtown Chula Vista as well as a sneak peek of the city’s soon-to-open upscale Costa Vista RV Resort; a behind-the-scenes virtual tour of the Ocean Discovery Institute in City Heights with architect Rob Quigley; a self-guided walking tour of La Mesa Village; a walking tour of downtown National City; and a virtual hard-hat tour of the Safdie Rabines Architects–designed Access Youth Academy in Southeast San Diego.

a building with a colorful mural
La Esquina, a mixed-use infill project in Barrio Logan by architect and developer Héctor Pérez (Courtesy SDAF)

As noted in a press release, each respective OH! San Diego site was selected by the nonprofit SDAF because of its “impact on the community, cultural and historical significance, innovative use of public spaces, and mindful new development and its ability to foster community.”

Upcoming panel discussions include Collaboration, Connection, Community, presented with the American Institute of Graphic Arts (March 9 at 4:00 p.m. PST) and Design For Good (March 11 at 12:00 p.m. PST). Several events, including BEEP- and KidSketch-led online architectural sketching tutorials, will cater to kids and families.

You can view the entire lineup of OH! San Diego tours and events here.