Open House San DiegoCitywide architecture and design event offers exclusive tours of San Diego’s best-known buildings – and several unseen places, too.

The San Diego Architectural Foundation has announced its second Open House San Diego (OH! SD™) architecture and design event, taking place next weekend, March 25-26. This series of free tours and talks at locations citywide offers attendees an opportunity to visit some of San Diego’s most iconic buildings.

“By joining with New York and Chicago, San Diego proudly becomes only the third city in the United States designated an official Open House Worldwide City,” said Susanne Friestedt, OH! SD founder.

Area residents and visitors are invited to discover San Diego’s newest, never-before-seen buildings and historic landmarks throughout Downtown, Bankers Hill and Barrio Logan. Related programs include a photography competition and OH! Talks by experts involved in creating San Diego’s built environment.

More than 40 sites are participating in OH! SD, including Central Library at Joan and Irwin Jacobs Common, Copley Symphony Hall, and the new Fire Station No. 2 Bayside. Carefully selected, the locations provide fascinating experiences showcasing San Diego’s architectural diversity, including:

  • Bread & Salt, the former Weber Bread Factory, now a community arts center in Barrio Logan with galleries and design offices alongside original bakery equipment.
  • Ever wonder how full-scale stage sets are built? Visit the mammoth San Diego Opera Scenic Studio, a 40,000-square-foot warehouse with woodworking, ironworking and painting workshops, plus scenery and props from various operas.
  • Tour the First Church of Christ, Scientist with master architect Irving Gill’s hallmarks: a rhythmic series of arches, unadorned white stucco, and simple cubist massing.

Another must-see location is Villa Montezuma at 1925 K Street. This Queen Anne Victorian “Palace of the Arts” home opens to the public only four times annually. “The eccentric façade and varied roof lines with towers, decorated with shingle patterns and stained-glass windows, make Villa Montezuma a truly one-of-a-kind building,” said Friestedt. Guided interior tours Saturday morning require advance reservations. Docents lead outdoor tours until 4pm.

“Most sites are open from 10am until 4pm, with open access,” said Maxine Ward, AIA, architect with Studio E Architects and Chair of OH! SD. “Some offer scheduled talks and guided tours on a first-come, first-served basis, while others require reservations. All sites are family friendly and easily accessible by public transit, bike or trolley,” she said.

“Open House San Diego is a rare opportunity to discover something new, for anyone interested in learning more about buildings in our beautiful city,” stated architect Gordon Carrier, FAIA, of Carrier Johnson + CULTURE, an Honorary Co-chair of Open House San Diego along with Mary Lydon of Lydon Associates.

To see all sites and reservation info, visit

About Open House Worldwide (
Open House Worldwide (OHWW), founded in London 22 years ago by Victoria Thornton, is the world’s largest organization dedicated to educating and engaging the public about urban design, architecture, and challenges facing our cities. OHWW began in the U.S. with Open House New York, and only Chicago and San Diego also host this significant event. More than one million people in 37-plus cities attend OHWW programs each year.

About the San Diego Architectural Foundation
The San Diego Architectural Foundation is San Diego’s premier nonprofit organization dedicated to public education and the promotion of outstanding architecture, urban planning and design throughout the San Diego region. Known for its Orchids & Onions awards program, SDAF is an independent 501c3:

By Zen Chi

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