“Quilted Landscape”— a dynamic installation designed by HMC Architects’ graphic design team for Bakersfield, California’s Del Oro High School — won a Communication Arts Magazine 2022 Award of Excellence in the Environmental Graphics category. Over 1,000 entries were submitted and 126 were selected as winners by a jury of creative professionals.

The design of the school is inspired by the site and its surrounding context as seen from a bird’s-eye view. When flying over, the patchwork of different farms in the area reads as a beautiful quilted landscape. When you look at each farm individually—one growing lettuce and another tomatoes—they provide value, but when combined, they can create a meal. The team saw parallels to education. Each subject provides a level of value but when combined, students can accomplish amazing things. Taking cues from the school’s design vision, this dimensional installation was inspired by aerial views of California’s Central Valley. Crop circles, dirt roads, irrigation canals, and square plots of farmland become a system of custom geometric letterforms. As students and staff enter their campus, they are greeted by what appears to be an abstract pattern leading them through the space, but a closer look reveals that the shapes spell out the name of the school: “DEL ORO.”

Communication Arts is a professional journal for designers, art directors, design firms, corporate design departments, agencies, illustrators, photographers, and everyone involved in visual communications. Through its editorials, feature articles, and the annual competitions it sponsors, Communication Arts provides new ideas and information, while promoting the highest professional standards for the field. Winners will be published in their upcoming 2022 Typography Annual Jan/Feb issue.