2018 Young Architects Award Recipient

Emerging talent deserves recognition. The AIA Young Architects Award honors individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and made significant contributions to the architecture profession early in their careers.

Whether through his practice or his dedication to community engagement, Jose Antonio Garcia, AIA, broadens the profession’s demographic spectrum. Recognizing that great architecture connects people to their communities, the environment, and, ultimately, one another, he has developed a professional focus on work that enhances social equity.

Born in a small town in Mexico and raised in Kansas, Garcia’s story is one of two worlds and his experiences resonate in his work. A founding partner of San Diego’s Asquared Studios, Garcia brings his unique viewpoint to an award-winning portfolio of work running the gamut of scales and diverse forms. The firm’s design of Richard’s Grove Pavilion in Windsor, California, a simple but highly detailed steel and glass pavilion that Jackson Family Investments uses as an event space, had to overcome a number of significant challenges. Completed in 2015, the project challenged Asquared Studios with a strict budget and a difficult site, including its location as a low point for drainage from five separate water sources. The project was celebrated with a People’s Choice Award from AIA Redwood Empire and an AIA San Diego Merit Award.

His quest for connection has put him in touch with people such as Kevin Kellogg, principal of Kellogg+Associates, with whom asquared studios has engaged on several occasions. Perhaps their most fruitful partnership was the development of Roseland Village in 2016, a 7-acre urban infill site that included a new public plaza, food hub incubator, civic building and library program, and 100 affordable and market-rate housing units. While his talents as a designer informed the overall architectural language of the project, the community engagement process he helped lead was its most rewarding aspect. As a facilitator of a Spanish-speaking group of residents and community members, he ensured that cultural goals for the project were clearly understood and interpreted.

Educating tomorrow’s architects has been a recurring theme in Garcia’s career. Having developed a robust network of colleagues who teach design studios, Garcia is a regular guest critic and mentor. He also leads exercises for children focused on architectural practice and techniques for the Built Environment Education Program San Diego.

Already in his young career, Garcia has left an imprint on the profession. His talent and commitment to building a practice based on mutual respect and collaboration benefits his colleagues, clients, and all of San Diego.


Lenore M. Lucey, FAIA (Chair), LML Consulting, Washington, DC

Raymond "Skipper" Post, FAIA, Post Architects, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Edward Vance, FAIA, EV&A Architects, Inc., Las Vegas, Nevada

Peter Kuttner, FAIA, Cambridge Seven Associates, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts

John Castellana, FAIA, TMP Architecture, Inc., Bloomfield Hill, Michigan

Evelyn Lee, AIA, Savills Studley, Oakland, California

Image credits

Tony Garcia, AIA - main image

Tony Garcia

Tony Garcia - house

Asquared Studios

Tony Garcia - house with pool

Pierce Harrison