2018 Marvin Design Award Winner: Anne Torney
By Lydia Lee
September 5, 2018
Image credit: Colin Lenton
Exuding an unique style in combination with a prioritization of affordable housing, the work of College of Environmental Design attendee Anne Torney has made her the recipient of the 2018 Marvin Design Award.
Drawn to the field of architecture through an introductory course at Princeton, Torney established an eventual three-decade-long stint under the guidance of Professor Emeritus of Architecture and Urban Design Daniel Solomon, one of her professors and mentors during her time at UC Berkeley. Solomon’s latter role as a mentor influenced Torney to join Solomon’s firm, Daniel Solomon Design Partners (DSDP).
“She rapidly transformed herself from junior architect to the bedrock of our practice,” says Solomon, who leads the design of most of the firm’s affordable housing projects in San Francisco.
Today, Torney can be found at the vanguard of DSDP: a 165-person design firm located in San Francisco. As one of three executives, Torney spearheaded the joining of forces between DSDP and Mithun, a Seattle-based firm, in 2012.
“What drew me was Mithun’s early commitment and innovative thinking about sustainability at all scales, from the building to the district level,” she says.
For their distinguished strides in the area of affordable housing, the American Institute of Architects’ Northwest and Pacific Region chapter awarded the company with their Firm Award in 2017.
Torney’s recent work displays her innate talent and ability to merge the social necessity for housing all while demonstrating her architectural proficiency and culturally-inclusive attitude.
“Making sure that the buildings relate to the neighborhood and blend in seamlessly is absolutely key,” says Torney, who has been working for 30 years to dispel negative stereotypes of affordable housing. “Architecture can be a stealth force for social equity.”
Initial projects of Torney included a 97-unit contemporary stucco-clad complex with round balconies and a 47-unit Victorian-style building with bay windows, clapboard siding, and roof corbels.
Modern ventures emulate Torney’s early notions: three buildings in San Francisco’s Mission District ground-level spaces offering cultural havens, semi-public open spaces, and energy efficiency; a building in Seattle’s Central District reflecting the pride of local artists’ and areas’ African-American heritage and offering housing specifically for homeless veterans.
As the first female chair of the San Francisco Housing Action Coalition executive committee and aforementioned Marvin Design Award, Torney’s work has labeled her as a recognized pioneer of affordable housing throughout the entire architectural industry.
Read more about Torney in this article.