Looking for the best: TRPA seeks examples of outstanding design | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Looking for the best: TRPA seeks examples of outstanding design

Amanda Fehd

Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune file / Ernie's Coffee Shop won one of last year's Best in the Basin awards for its architectural design, landscaping and environmental compatibility.

As the Lake Tahoe community looks toward a more sustainable future, its architectural firms, landscape designers and building contractors brainstorm new ideas to make our man-made surroundings more pleasing to the eye and at the same environmentally responsible.

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency seeks to recognize these efforts each year with the Best in the Basin awards, a tradition 16 years in the making. Nominations for the awards are due Friday by 5 p.m.

Categories include residential, commercial, public service, erosion control and restoration, and shorezone and defensible space improvements.

Ernie’s Coffee Shop was a winner last year for its new building on Emerald Bay Road.

The eatery’s Alpine-style architecture, combined with native landscaping and best management practices, caught the judges’ attention.

“Our plan was to build something that we envisioned was the future of Tahoe, what Tahoe should look like,” said Paul Bruso, Ernie’s owner.

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“The TRPA was the motivation there. When you complete a project and it moves pretty smoothly, then on top of that, you get an award, that’s nice.”

Area professionals in the fields of architecture, landscaping, planning, engineering and resource management serve as judges.

“We need to take this opportunity to showcase some of the great examples of how nature and man-made development can be compatible and complementary of one another,” said Julie Regan, spokeswoman for the TRPA.

Highlighting projects also helps spread successful ideas, she said.

“People are always looking for design ideas on landscaping projects or how to incorporate conservation measures into their own personal projects,” Regan said.