The council, consisting of a group of citizens independent of the city’s political structure, has been issuing design review awards for 40 years. The awards honor projects in architecture, landscaping, and public art. The awards tend to focus on businesses, and how their designs enhance the quality of life in Walnut Creek, but as this list shows, the awards also honor residential projects and even an exhibition.
The list includes projects that have enjoyed their share of scrutiny and even, dare we say, controversy. Here is the list, along with any additional info I can provide.
What do you think. Agree, disagree. Why? Why not?
555 YVR (above): This is the new, $40 million 87-unit "boutique" development at 555 Ygnacio Valley Road. The project consists of flats, townhomes, live/work spaces, and a rooftop “sky lounge” that offers views of Mount Diablo and downtown Walnut Creek.
Walnut Creek (Ace) Hardware: The long-awaited downtown Walnut Creek hardware store opened last fall and occupies about 12,500 square feet of retail space, stocked with supplies for home building, plumbing, electrical, cleaning, and DIY projects. A nursery in the rear opened this spring.
Arbutus Drive Homes: Three are new homes, and one under construction, in the Parkmead neighborhood. The four homes replaced a former "farmhouse" that had been demolished to make room for the new, more contemporary developments.
Cheesecake Factory (above): Walnut Creek was graced (that's one way to put it) with the February opening of this popular chain eatery, whose owners love to decorate each of their restaurants with lush interiors that typically include Egyptian columns, dark cherry wood furniture, and brass accents.
Mercer "Luxury Rental" Homes: The 181-unit block-sized complex on North California Boulevard was all condo until the condo market took a nosedive with the rest of the economy. Now, units are available for rent.
North Creek Church: Expansion of the Ygnacio Valley Road Evangelical Free Church featured the addition of a new worship center, adult classrooms, church and school offices and bookstore.
Paulson Lane (above): 16 "cottage" and "craftsman" style homes went up off Olympic Boulevard next to Interstate-680.
St. Matthew Lutheran Church: The church's expansion plans sparked controversy among neighbors around Wiget Lane, who were concerned about increased parking and traffic congestion.
“Then and Now” Exhibit: On display in the City Council chamber at City Hall, the exhibition consists of 25 such historic photos of Walnut Creek, dating back to 1927, that are juxtaposed with 2008 photos showing the same locations.
Villa Vasconcellos (above): 70-unit complex for low-income seniors, on Geary Road, features green building features and opened in late 2008.
Other winners of 2008 Action for Beauty Council awards:
Harmony Lane Creek Restoration
Hutchison Stained Glass Dome
Hutchison Stained Glass Dome
John Muir Parking Garage
Ruth Bancroft Garden Wall