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Published December 28th, 2016
Mayor Smith Awards Excellence in Architecture
The Stuffman family, with Mayor Victoria Smith and the team of Gary Earl Parsons, architect, Cecil Lee, project manager, and builder Jeff Northington of Northington Innovations Inc. Photos Sora o'Doherty

A private home that everyone in the neighborhood is proud of and an affordable senior housing project were recognized by outgoing Orinda Mayor Victoria Smith, who awarded them the Mayor's Award of Excellence in Architecture. The purpose of the awards is to recognize excellence in residential design and downtown property improvements which make an extraordinary contribution to the character and livability of Orinda neighborhoods and the vitality of downtown. The awards were initiated by Sen. Steve Glazer when he was mayor:

11 Cascade Lane
Derek Farmer, senior planner, presented the first award to the single family home of Eric and Amy Stuffman, at 11 Cascade Lane. The team included Gary Earl Parsons, architect, Cecil Lee, project manager, and builder Jeff Northington of Northington Innovations Inc. Farmer did the final inspection a few months ago, and hailed the home as a residence of distinction, that uses the site very well, achieving a balance and preserving mature oaks on the site, using innovative materials such as corrugated roof, maintaining the relationship between indoor and outdoor spaces, and using a rural idyllic as opposed to urban design. Farmer praised the use of high efficiency lighting and natural materials such as reclaimed wood and high fly ash concrete, which contribute to the feeling of light and air and space indoors. He especially liked the outstanding kitchen.
Smith added that this is a beautiful project that meets all of Orinda's design review criteria, but noted that the owners reached out to neighbors and incorporated their comments, so that everyone is happy with the project. She said it is an example of what can be accomplished when everybody is working harmoniously together.

Monte Verde Affordable Senior Housing Project
Planning Director Drummond Buckley presented the award to Monte Verde Affordable Senior Housing Project at 2 Irwin Way. This project, which was years in the making, was undertaken by Eden Housing as developer and property manager, Architect Sean Southwick of the Dahlin Group, and general contractor Oliver & Company.
The land was donated by the city of Orinda, having been the site of the old library. Some funds came through the new developments at Wilder and Orinda Grove, most of the funding came from federal, state and county sources, Smith noted, and recognized Contra Costa County Supervisor Candace Andersen, who was present among those who came to honor the outgoing mayor.
Buckley noted that the development is managed exceptionally well. One program, the junior to seniors program, was developed by an Orinda high school student, helps seniors understand technology. This has been extremely successful and has been replicated at other senior housing sites.
Smith noted that the award is for excellence in community building. She is delighted to see some residents who take classes at the community center, indeed some who teach classes at the community center. She pointed out many others in the crowd who were crucial to the development, including former mayors Joyce Hawkins, Laura Abrams, Sue Severson, as well as Richard Weston, who worked on the committee.
Woody Carp Eden Housing, said that the project was really created by Smith and Amy Worth. He also addressed the dire need for affordable housing in the Bay Area. With Monte Verde Orinda has made a significant contribution to address the affordable housing shortage. He lauded the project as one that fits beautifully into the Orinda community, fully accessible to people with disabilities.

From left, John Thatch of the Dahlin Group , Sean Southwick, main architect, Amy Worth, Victoria Smith and Woody Carp of Eden Housing accept the Mayor's Award for Excellence in Architecture for Monte Verde.

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