LPA Honored with Five AIA Orange County Design Awards

Integrated design firm earns awards for education, civic, and workplace projects, as well as the top award for sustainable design.

LPA projects earned five awards at the recent American Institute of Architects Orange County (AIAOC) Design Awards, including the Committee on the Environment (COTE) award for exceptional sustainability, innovation and conservation of resources for the renovation of RiverRock Real Estate Group’s headquarters in Irvine, California.

The awards mark the 47th year in a row that LPA has been recognized in AIAOC’s annual ceremony. This year’s winning projects include a pair of net zero energy (NZE) buildings – a multi-generational recreation center and a corporate headquarters – as well as two student life projects on California State University campuses. All of the awarded projects met LPA’s current 2030 Commitment target of reducing energy use intensity by at least 80%.

“Forty-seven straight years of wins at AIAOC speaks to LPA’s commitment to working with our clients to deliver innovation and performance on every project, at every scale, and every budget,” said LPA President and Chief Design Officer Keith Hempel.

River Rock4
RiverRock Real Estate Group.

RiverRock Real Estate Group’s headquarters won a Citation Award in the Built Interiors category, in addition to the program’s only COTE Award, which recognized the project’s impact on equity, ecology, economy, resource efficiency, well-being, resilience and the practice of architecture. The NZE renovation repurposed a 40-year-old concrete building with no connection to the outdoors as a model for a flexible workplace that nurtures and supports staff and clients.

Jury members called the project a “significant reuse” for taking an “unremarkable building near the freeway” and giving it “new life.”

California State University San Bernardino.

The three-story LEED Gold Santos Manuel Student Union Expansion at California State University San Bernardino (CSUSB) won a Merit Award in the Built Commercial project category. The 105,000-square-foot student union, LPA’s fifth project on the CSUSB campus, created a new hub of student life while responding to the region’s harsh climate. On the constrained, sloped site, the building fits like a jigsaw puzzle piece into the evolving campus, with activated outdoor spaces and connections to the older student union and the adjacent Center for Global Innovation (CGI), a three-story, LEED Platinum building also designed by LPA. Other LPA projects on the campus include the College of Education, the Jack H. Brown College of Business & Public Administration, and another renovation and expansion of the student union in 2006.

Members of the jury praised the “cool building” and its “nice relationship between the massing and program.” Their comments noted the equity and economy embodied in the project: “These are not rich, expensive buildings, and they did a very nice design with the budget they had.”

CSUDH2 Tracy2

Both the California State University Dominguez Hills Health, Wellness and Recreation Center (HWRC) and the Tracy Multi-Generational Recreation Center won Unbuilt Commercial awards — the only awards given in the category.

The HWRC was designed to inspire lifelong learning and celebrate student life while promoting health and wellness for all students.

Jury members appreciated the CSUDH project’s balance between “responding to an existing campus architecture and combining it with modern [design],” adding that it showed “good integration with site, resource conservation and emphasis on health and wellness.”

The new recreation center in Tracy, California, anchored by a NZE building, blends indoor spaces and landscape seamlessly, creating a regional destination focused on helping people stay active at every age. A comprehensive master plan reorganizes the park, diversifies its ecology with drought-tolerant plantings and adds a host of amenities, including a skate park, dog park, walking trails and bike connectivity.

Members of the jury noted the project’s “good integration with the site,” net zero energy strategies and application of the AIA Framework for Design Excellence.