A broad array of innovative projects were on display in this year’s ENR California’s Best Projects competition. Projects ranged from state-of-the-art medical research facilities to dynamic renovation efforts to wildfire recovery operations. The winners grappled with pandemic-related safety measures and supply chain issues to find innovative solutions and produce exemplary examples of construction expertise.

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See the Projects

This year’s ENR California’s Best Projects are divided into two regions, Northern California and Southern California (which includes Hawaii). A total of almost 100 projects were submitted for judging in this year’s competition. From those, the independent panel of judges selected 55 for recognition—28 Best Projects and 27 awards of merit across 18 categories.

Judges from all corners of the AEC community spent a month reviewing entries for achievement in five areas: project challenges and solutions, safety programs, innovative design and construction solutions, contribution to the construction industry and the community as well as design quality and craftsmanship. Projects were ineligible for an award if they had a construction-related death.

Fireboat Station No. 15

The Port of Long Beach Fire Dept.’s Fireboat Station No. 15 features an 11,200-sq-ft covered fireboat bay enclosure. It won a Best Project in the specialty construction category.
Photo by Matt Fukushima

Entries from each California region—Northern and Southern—were evaluated by separate panels of judges. Over a course of a month, they independently reviewed the entries, scored each project on specific criteria and then convened virtually with fellow judges to finalize their choices for Best Projects, awards of merit and Projects of the Year. Judges were asked to recuse themselves in cases of conflict of interest.

Special thanks go out to this year’s team of Northern and Southern California judges:

  • Priscilla Chavez, manager, business development, PCL
  • Doug Conrath, principal, CRB
  • Jonathan Holloway, West Coast regional director, JTM Construction Group
  • Eric Huff, vice president/environmental manager, VRX
  • Donald Kahn, project executive, Largo Concrete
  • Beatriz Kim, engineering team lead, Rosendin
  • Angie Kung, associate, environmental, HDR
  • Caleigh Raymer, director of operations, Lendlease
  • David Mori, engineering manager, city of Anaheim Public Works
  • Victor Nuñez, business development manager, Turner Construction.

Best Project-level winners for each California region will now advance to the national contest, where they will compete with the winners from nine other regions for ENR’s Best of the Best awards. Judging for the national contest will begin later this year, and the results will be announced in early 2023.

This year’s contest also features two special awards for each California region: Excellence in Safety, which has been a part of the competition for a decade, and Excellence in Sustainability, which is in its second year. The judges recognized four safety winners and three sustainability winners between the two regions.

Two more independent panels selected the winners of the two special awards for sustainability and safety for both of the California regions.

Safety judges were Ted Boyce, director of safety, quality and organizational development at Hathaway Dinwiddie, and Alan Hayes, safety director, California at JTM Construction Group. Angie Kung and Eric Huff, who were judges in the main competition, also served as sustainability judges.

San Francisco International Airport

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) Harvey Milk Terminal 1 BAB, a Best Project winner in the airport/transit category, features an almost 620,000-sq-ft concourse that was designated the world’s first LEED Platinum v4 terminal.
Photo courtesy Austin Commercial

In addition to selecting category winners, judges for the main competition also chose three projects from each California region for consideration as Project of the Year, the regional contest’s highest honor.

For Northern California, the finalists were Frame House (Best Project in the small project category) and Southern Heights Boulevard Bridge Replacement (Best Project for highway/bridge). Northern California Project of the Year honors went to the Natural Resources Headquarters (Best Project for government/public building).

For Southern California, the finalists were the Audrey Irmas Pavilion at Wilshire Boulevard Temple (Best Project for cultural/worship) and One Westside (Best Project for office/retail/mixed-use). The Southern California Project of the Year honors went to the Herald Examiner Building Restoration & ASU Build-Out (Best Project for renovation/restoration).

The winning project teams for Northern California will be celebrated in San Francisco on Oct. 18 at the Julia Morgan Ballroom in the Merchants Exchange Building. The winning project teams for Southern California will be honored on Oct. 21 in Los Angeles at the Omni Los Angeles Hotel at California Plaza.

The Projects

Northern California

Southern California