February 2, 2001


Market Creek Plaza Architect Named "Young Architect of the Year"

A visionary architect who translated the cultural heritage of an urban community into an innovative commercial mixed-use and cultural center has been honored as the first recipient of San Diego's Young Architect of the Year Award.

Hector A. Reyes, associate senior designer of Fehlman LaBarre and architect/urban planner of San Diego's innovative Market Creek Plaza, was recently honored for his work at the San Diego North County Section American Institute of Architects holiday party and awards celebration.

The AIA San Diego Oliver McMillan Young Architect of the Year recognizes the best of San Diego's emerging architects who have been licensed less than 10 years. Entrants were judged on their understanding of applying architecture for community, social, cultural and economic use; imaginative and powerful forward-looking ideas which are practically and aesthetically resolved and generate a sense of excitement in the viewer; understanding of materials and construction techniques and an ability to use them in an original manner; and ability to make a coherent presentation with sufficient information to demonstrate professional expertise while remaining accessible to a lay person.

In their unanimous recognition of Reyes' design credentials and community involvement, the jurors commended the architect's design skills, professional involvement and communication abilities, commenting that he is "a renaissance architect oozing with talent," with "extraordinary" sketching abilities and a community-based approach to his projects. Jurors also lauded Reyes' "dedication to the profession of architecture evident in his activities in the community and the AIA."

Reyes, who was born in San Diego and raised in Tijuana, Mexico, has used his bi-cultural background as a springboard to focus on "experimental place-making," to build new environments by concentrating and connecting on cultural measures in the community to the site in a truly unique and meaningful interpretation.

"I was very humbled to receive this award, which promotes the next generation of architects and leaders who will make a difference and have a big impact on the future of San Diego," said Reyes. "There is a new vision for San Diego. It's one that looks at San Diego not as an isolated pocket, but rather a regional center with outreaches toward Los Angeles and Mexico. San Diego should not concern itself with whether it is a metropolitan city or a glorified cul-de-sac. Instead, it should concern itself with its historic regional legacy and not be afraid to pursue it. Architects should never forget the lasting imprint that we leave our future generations and neighbors to the south, for they will benefit from their heritage."

Reyes is a graduate of California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in architecture. He has nearly a decade of experience in architecture and urban planning in California, Texas, Baja California, Mexico, and Florence, Italy, where he studied and worked under the California State University International Program.

"This global experience has enriched me professionally and culturally and has taught me to pay homage to the past, appreciate the present, and respect the future," Reyes said.

At Fehlman LaBarre, Reyes has been the creative visionary designer and project manager for new master planned pro-jects and the revitalization of urban and community cores through in fill projects, new entertainment destinations comprised of multi-screen movie theatres and retail centers, and commercial center renovations with residential mixed-use components that create urban villages. His work in Italy and Mexico focused on urban master planning and residential, commercial and hospitality design.

Reyes is the project architect for the commercial and cultural development project, Market Creek Plaza, a $55 million, 18-acre, 377,000-square-foot mixed-use, community-based revitalization project in southeast San Diego, which has garnered significant interest because of its unique nature. The project's developer is the Jacobs Center for Non-Profit Innovation, the community-action arm of the Jacobs Family Foundation. In addition, the design of Market Creek Plaza took the unusual approach of incorporating the input of community residents and local artists into the planning-design process, before the fact, not as an afterthought.

"Hector's ability to work with a wide diversity of community residents and incorporate their ideas into an overall plan has been a key to the success of the project," said Jennifer Vanica, Executive Director of the Jacobs Center. "Hector teamed with community artists to work with neighborhood residents in developing a unique architectural approach deeply rooted in ancient elements, textures and colors. His vision, original design style and ability to translate planning, architectural and artistic concepts to a diverse group of community residents, places him at the forefront of his profession."

Reyes is a resident of Chula Vista where he resides with his wife.

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