See the Projects
The 2023 ENR California Best Projects competition featured a host of innovative work that spanned the construction and design spectrum.
From dynamic student-housing projects with carbon-neutral designs to major highway upgrades with challenging worksite limitations and cutting-edge energy facilities keeping a close eye on environmental impacts, this year’s winners grappled with pandemic-related safety measures and supply chain issues to find innovative solutions and produce outstanding examples of construction expertise.
ENR California Best Projects are divided into two regions, Northern California and Southern California (which includes Hawaii). A total of 75 projects were submitted for judging in this year’s competition. From those, the independent panels of judges selected 44 for recognition—18 projects in Northern California and 26 in Southern California.
Judges from all corners of the AEC community spent weeks 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.
Entries from each California region—Northern and Southern—were evaluated by separate panels of judges. Over the course of a month, the judges 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 where their firm participated in a project or if they had any other conflict of interest.
Special thanks go out to this year’s team of Northern and Southern California judges:
- Amer Bata, deputy department manager, AECOM
- Doug Conrath, principal, CRB
- Donald Kahn, project executive, Largo Concrete
- Phil LeCocq, project management, division of engineering, California Dept. of Water Resources
- Thomas McNulty, project manager, JTM Construction Group
- David Mori, engineering manager, city of Anaheim Public Works
- Allison Otto, president and CEO, Otto Construction
- Caleigh Raymer, president, Genton Cockrum Partners
- Sam Tso, senior vice president transportation, HDR
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 2024.
Excellence in Safety and Sustainability
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 more than a decade, and Excellence in Sustainability, which is in its third year. The judges recognized two safety winners and five sustainability winners between the two regions.
The two special awards for sustainability and safety for both of the California regions were judged by separate independent panels.
Safety judges were Brian Sorensen, director of safety for Exxel Pacific Inc., and Alan Hayes, safety director, California at JTM Construction Group.
Sustainability judges were Raven Adams, sustainability manager, Granite Construction, and Erin McConahey, principal, ARUP.
The landscaping for Potrero Canyon Park in Los Angeles was a winner in Southern California's landscape/urban development category.
Photo by Multivista Systems LLC
Projects of the Year
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 Southern California, the Project of the Year finalists were the (W)rapper (Best Project for office/retail/mixed-use) and Snapdragon Stadium (Best Project for sports/entertainment). The Southern California Project of the Year honors went to the Sixth Street Viaduct Replacement Project (Best Project for highway/bridge).
For Northern California, the finalists were Russian River Health and Wellness Center (Best Project for health care) and Gateway at Millbrae Station (Best Project for residential/hospitality). Northern California Project of the Year honors went to the SFMTA Central Subway Underground Stations (Best Project for airport/transit).
The winning project teams for Northern California will be celebrated in San Francisco on Oct. 17 at the Julia Morgan Ballroom in the Merchants Exchange Building. The winning project teams for Southern California will be honored on Oct. 19 in Los Angeles at the Omni Los Angeles Hotel at California Plaza.
The Sacramento I-5 Corridor Enhancement Project took top honors in the highway/bridge category in Northern California.
Photo courtesy Teichert Construction
- Project of the Year: LA’s Blockbuster Sixth Street Viaduct Breaks New Ground
- Southern California Project of the Year Finalist: Snapdragon Stadium
- Southern California Project of the Year Finalist: (W)rapper
- Best Project - Airport/Transit: Toyota Logistics Services Vehicle Processing and Distribution Center
- Best Project - Cultural/Worship: Orange County Museum of Art
- Best Project - Award of Merit - Excellence in Safety: Rabbitbrush Solar
- Best Project - Health Care: OneLegacy
- Award of Merit - Energy/Industrial: [H2] Innovation Experience
- Best Project - Higher Education/Research: Olympic + Centennial Residence Halls
- Award of Merit - Higher Education/Research: UCLA Southwest Campus Apartments
- Best Project - Interior/Tenant Improvement: Mayer Brown LLP
- Award of Merit - Interior/Tenant Improvement: Children's Institute Inc., Watts Campus
- Best Project - K-12 Education: Chino High School Reconstruction
- Award of Merit: Logan Memorial Educational Campus
- Best Project - Rose Garden Tea Room Renovation at the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens
- Best Project - Potrero Canyon Park - Landscaping
- Best Project - Residential/Hospitality: The Grand LA
- Award of Merit - Residential/Hospitality: NMS La Jolla
- Best Projects - Small Project: Kolekole Bridge Repairs
- Award of Merit - Small Project: Twitch LAX
- Best Project - Specialty Construction: Super Nintendo World - Universal Studios Hollywood
- Award of Merit - Specialty Construction: California State University, Fullerton, The Suites Student Housing
- Best Project - Excellence in Sustainability: University of California, Irvine Verano 8 Graduate Student Housing
- Award of Merit - Sports/Entertainment: NASCAR's Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum Temporary Racetrack
- Best Project - Water/Environment: First Aqueduct Tunnels Rehabilitation Project
- Award of Merit - Water/Environment: San Pasqual Undergrounding Project
- Project of the Year - Best Airport/Transit: SFMTA Central Subway Underground Stations
- Northern California Best Project of the Year Finalist - Health Care: Russian River Health and Wellness Center
- Northern California Project of the Year: Gateway at Millbrae Stadium
- Best Project, Excellence in Sustainability Award: 1021 O Street State Office Building
- Excellence in Safety: County of San Mateo Navigation Center
- Award of Merit - Health Care: UC Davis Health Rehabilitation Hospital
- Award of Merit - Higher Education/Research: University of California, Davis Teaching and Learning Complex
- Best Project - Highway/Bridge: Sacramento I-5 Corridor Enhancement
- Award of Merit - Highway/Bridge: San Mateo 101 Express Lanes – North Segment
- Best Project - interior/Tenant Improvement: Cadence Building 5 Renovation
- Award of Merit - Interior/Tenant Improvement: Confidential Client Innovation Center
- Best Project - Landscape/Urban Development: Presidio Tunnel Tops
- Award of Merit - Manufacturing: San Francisco-Marin Food Bank Expansion
- Best Project - Renovation/Restoration: One Beach Street
- Award of Merit - Small Project: Air France Lounge at SFO
- Best Project - Sports/Entertainment: Red Hawk Casino Hotel and Entertainment Center
- Award of Merit - Excellence in Sustainability: Janssen Project Karl
- Best Project - Water/Environment: Silicon Valley Clean Water Gravity Pipeline Project