Aaron Zamarrón Wins AIA San Diego 2020 Student Design Award

San Diego Architecture student Aaron Zamarrón was one of only three students to win an AIA San Diego Student Design Award from the American Institute of Architects San Diego Chapter. His project from this spring was called “Polluted Garden in the Sun,” and he worked with faculty members David Pearson and Mikaela Pearson as his Degree Project advisors.

About Polluted Garden in the Sun

“Arvin, California. A rural and agricultural based city located in the heart of the Southern San Joaquin Valley, has a population of 20,000. The city, which proclaims themselves as, “The Garden in the Sun”, ranks first in having the worst air quality in the United States. Because of the valley geography, wind carries pollutants of automobiles, wood and gas-powered equipment and pesticides from as far north as Sacramento to the basin of the southern portion of the valley.

This project’s intent is to help alleviate and provide a solution to the exacerbated conditions this community experiences by understanding the problem through the implementation of a research facility and by utilizing both passive and technological systems of architecture as a means of reducing pollution. Through context and analysis, the center-pivoting irrigation system and its subsequent shape of a circle are used as the base of design. The research facility can have dual functionality as a place for research and education with the inclusion of relocating California State University, Bakersfield’s Department of Agriculture to Arvin while other portions of the project can enforce areas of refuge from spikes in poor air quality through the utilization of different systems.”

AIA San Diego Design Awards

The American Institute of Architects, San Diego, hosted its annual gala on October 29th, 2020 in the form of a unique, interactive online experience – with an audience of AEC professionals from the Southern California region and beyond. This year, the AIA received a record number of submissions (more than 100 in all categories). The jury has distinguished more than 30 projects with honors and merits. The selection process is rigorous and focused on both function and form, with an emphasis on sustainability. The recruitment of a non-local jury of highly distinguished architects means that the projects awarded embody design excellence to the highest extent.

To provide fair and equitable review, a jury is recruited from members of an outside AIA chapter which deliberates and selects the winners based upon the judging criteria forth by the Design Awards Committee and AIA San Diego Board of Directors.


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