The recent announcement of the Society of American Registered Architect's design excellence award to a local architectural firm for the Columbia Centre/First National Bank Building coupled with the citation in the same notice that the structure had earlier been the notable recipient of the American Institute of Architects' much-heralded "Onion" for poor street level design gives one pause.
Indeed it would appear that architecture has become specialized from top to bottom. That is to say, there are good architects for building tops as well as those who are willing to work from the bottom up, so to speak.
Uniquely at the top and bottom of its class, the First National Bank building mirrors the fragmentation of generalized architectural thinking in San Diego to the consequent advantage of specialization in the solution of complex environmental design assignments.
Perhaps it is not too late to suggest a return to awards for whole buildings--the way they used to do it--in times more suited to balanced results.
J. SPENCER LAKE