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2007 AIA Design Awards Opening Remarks
By Keith York

I want to formally thank the members of the 2007 Design Awards Committee who have worked tirelessly to bring this evening’s event to you. Through a strange set of circumstances I find myself here tonight in front of you.

Nearly ten years ago, as a civilian, I discovered the AIA and its list of local members through a short-lived publication… OmniArt. In its brief existence in the early 1960s, OmniArt published articles on art, architecture and design from around the globe, while focusing on San Diego projects. Like tonight’s Design Awards Committee, those in charge of the local chapter’s publication were all volunteers with families, firms and friends that likely missed them while they wrote about, among many things, the local architecture awards.

Among those yellowed pages, awards were handed out to the offices of Homer Delawie, Robert Jones, Robert Mosher, Hal Sadler, Russell Forester, Frank Hope, Henry Hester and CJ Padereweski. While several of these men have passed on, their design legacy, and their contributions to San Diego, remain with us as part of our built environment. Among such a distinguished list of names, I count the living among my friends today. I hope in another four decades, the same can be said of tonight’s award recipients.

Learning of their work in dusty pages of the local library stacks I began a journey studying local architecture that inspired me to restore and architect-designed home, launch a website chronicling the evolution of 20th century architecture in San Diego, as well as a full calendar of lectures, slide shows and tours teaching architects and civilians alike about San Diego’s dense design history kept secret in the shadow of Los Angeles for decades.

I congratulate you all  -- winners, or not, for contributing to the jury process and for pushing yourselves and your colleagues toward better design. For the winners among you, I want to warn you that tonight’s awards are logged into local architectural history, as soon as the names are read from this stage. Tonight’s winners may give birth to another architecture geek like me in the years to come.

I am here to inform, or possibly just confirm that many of us outside your profession truly appreciate the important work that you do to shape our lives, our businesses and our communities.

So it goes that as a civilian, studying, critiquing, and truly appreciating the contributions of San Diego’s AIA members, I am surprised and delighted to be asked to hand out tonight’s awards.