Medallion Judges

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Judges' Biographies


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Following a thorough review of approximately 300 entries, two separate judging panels convened the week of June 25 to select the six winning designs for the Caldecott Fourth Bore Medallion Design Competition.  The competition has given local school-aged children in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties an opportunity to play a part in designing important architectural details of the new 3,000-foot-long tunnel, which is currently under construction along State Route 24 between Orinda and Oakland.

“We want to thank the students, teachers and the community for participating in this historic competition,” said Caltrans District 4 Director Bijan Sartipi. “We were very pleased by the level of interest in the medallion competition that will help decide the architectural identity of the new Fourth Bore. "

Caltrans District 4 Landscape Architect Jeanne Gorham and Caldecott Fourth Bore Project Manager Cristina Ferraz conceived the idea of a public Medallion Competition during the design of the Fourth Bore in 2008. "The competition was very much in keeping with Caltrans’ emphasis on context sensitive design," said Ms. Gorham.  In early 2012, the public was asked to vote on six possible themes for the Medallion Design Competition.  "There was a clear mandate for the Art Deco Revisited theme, which celebrates the design theme of the medallions that currently adorn the portals of the first two Caldecott tunnels constructed in 1937, during the heyday of Art Deco movement."

We were delighted at the level of interest and participation in the Caldecott Fourth Bore Medallion Design Competition by Contra Costa schoolchildren," said Executive Director of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) Randy Iwasaki. "Contra Costa overall has been very supportive of the Fourth Bore Project, which will alleviate traffic congestion between Contra Costa and Alameda Counties. About a third of the project funding is coming from Contra Costa’s decisive support of the Measure J half cent sales tax in 2004. The Caldecott Fourth Bore and other critical transportation infrastructure projects throughout Contra Costa County are going forward because of this support, which will benefit the county and the region for years to come."

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CCTA Executive Director Randy Iwasaki (left) and Chair Don Tatzin (right) welcome the judges to the Contra Costa County judging event, held on June 29 at CCTA headquarters.
Photo credit: Karl Nielson, Metropolitan Transportation Commission


"Fittingly, this artwork is designed by the children of our county, who will benefit from the Fourth Bore during their lifetimes," said Don Tatzin, Chair of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA). "The medallions will be in place for at least the next 75 years, and will serve as a symbol of joining our two counties."  CCTA is funding about a third of the $417 million Caldecott Fourth Bore Project through Measure J, a half-cent sales tax passed by Contra Costa voters in 2004.

The Medallion Competition was judged in two phases; during phase one, panelists reviewed entries from their respective counties electronically and ranked each based on a five-point rating system.  During phase two, judges met to select the winning entries from their county, evaluating the finalists based on three criteria: adherence to artistic composition, originality, and adherence to the contest theme, Art Deco Revisited.  Judges were also cognizant of the need for the medallions to be visible to motorists.

"We all were conscious of images that were powerful, strong, clean, graphic, and those that could be read from the highway," said H. Lynn Harrison, panelist for Alameda County and Preservation Director for the Art Deco Society of California.

The judges were selected based on their expertise in design and architecture.  The three judges for Alameda County were Catherine Kniazewycz, Director of Architecture at the University of California; H. Lynn Harrison, Preservation Director for the Art Deco Society of California; and Steven Huss, Cultural Arts Manager for the City of Oakland.  The judges for Contra Costa County were Erik Mortenson, Chief Preparator at the Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek; Regina Almaguer, Public Art Consultant; and Jennifer Modenessi; who writes for the Contra Costa Times.

Three hexagonally-shaped medallions will adorn each side of the Fourth Bore, which is slated to open to traffic in fall 2013.  The competition was launched on March 26 with a deadline of May 7.   Children grades K-12 from Alameda and Contra Costa Counties were asked to submit artwork that would inform the designs of the medallions, which will be cast in concrete and displayed on both ends of the new tunnel.

The Caldecott Fourth Bore Project represents a partnership between the Federal Highway Administration, the California Department of Transportation, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Contra Costa Transportation Authority, and the Alameda County Transportation Commission.

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(From left to right) Contra Costa County judges Modenessi, Mortenson and Almaguer study the finalists.
Photo credit: Karl Nielson, Metropolitan Transportation Commission
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(From left to right) Alameda County judges Huss, Kniazewycz, Harrison, and Caltrans District 4 Landscape Architect Jeanne Gorham met on June 27 at Caltrans District 4 Headquarters to select Alameda County medallion designs.
Photo credit: John Huseby, Caltrans District 4
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From left to right) Alameda County judge Catherine Kniazewycz, Caltrans District 4 Chief Deputy District Director Dan McElhinney, and Caltrans Deputy District Director of External Affairs Brigetta Smith
Photo credit: John Huseby, Caltrans District 4

Judges for Alameda County

Catherine Kniazewycz

Catherine Kniazewycz, AIA, is a resident of Alameda and Director of Architecture in Capital Resources Management at UC Office of the President in Oakland.  She is an architect and graduate of UC Berkeley.  Over the last 20 years she has managed design and construction at the UC Berkeley and UC Merced campuses, and now oversees design policy and approvals, sustainability, and physical and environmental planning for the University of California systemwide.

H. Lynn Harrison

H. Lynn Harrison has served as Preservation Director of the ADSC for the past four years, and is responsible for the Preservation Committee's selection of Award Recipients each year that celebrate Buildings, People or Institutions that have made significant contribution to the art and culture of the Art Deco Era.  Previous Award Recipients include CalTrans for the Alameda Tunnel Portal designed in the 1920's by local architect Henry Haight Meyers.

Harrison is founder and Principal of Harrison Architects, a small San Francisco architectural firm, doing work predominately in the Bay Area for over thirty years.  His background and personal interests also include a working knowledge of the history of design, and graphics, including a focus on the Art Deco period "between the wars".  Harrison’s design work has been honored with many Awards, including AIA Awards, and has been featured in major design publications.

Harrison teaches Graphics at the University of California Berkeley Extension, and has provided ongoing participation in lectures and design jury critiques for a number of years at this and other higher education venues.

Steven Huss

Steven Huss is the Cultural Arts Manager for the City of Oakland.  He oversees Oakland's public art program, grants for the arts, and other cultural initiatives, with an average annual budget of $4 million.  Previously, he was the Executive Director of the Alameda County Arts Commission, providing arts programming and cultural policy to the County’s 14 cities.  Mr. Huss is also an independent public art consultant and is the co-founder and chairman of the Northern California Public Art Administrators Network.

Judges for Contra Costa County

Erik Mortenson

Erik Mortenson is the Public Art Coordinator for the Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek. He previously worked at the Children’s Museum of New York, California College of Arts and Crafts, and the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery.

Regina Almaguer

Regina Almaguer of Regina Almaguer Fine Arts, LLC, has over twenty years of experience in art administration, with an emphasis on public art programming and project management. She is a former director of public art programs for the cities of San Francisco and Oakland, and has developed and managed public art programs for the cities of Richmond and Walnut Creek. From 1999 to 2003 Almaguer served as the Art and Design Program Administrator for the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District, where she designed and administered a $1.5 million art-in-transit program.

Almaguer works with state and local governments, as well as with architects and developers, to incorporate public art into buildings, parks and outdoor environments. Her projects include those at the St. Regis Hotel and Museum Tower in San Francisco, Seal Point Park in San Mateo, the San Mateo Main Library, the Alameda Free Library, and the Veterans Memorial in Walnut Creek.

Almaguer received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from San Francisco State University and a Master of Arts degree in Art History from the University of California at Davis.   She is a member of the Northern California Public Art Administrators Network and the Art in Public Places Committee of the City of Orinda, where she resides with her husband Michael Almaguer.

Jennifer Modenessi

Jennifer Modenessi is a metro reporter with the Bay Area News Group in Walnut Creek, Calif. Her visual arts reporting has appeared in the Contra Costa Times, Oakland Tribune and San Jose Mercury News and she has blogged for the Oakland Museum of California. She is also a freelance journalist and designer.