Posts tagged with "Oregon":

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Oregon bill would encourage new affordable housing but has preservationists up in arms

A controversial bill under consideration that seeks to impose a 100-day limit on reviews for housing developments containing affordable units is currently up for debate in Oregon.

The far-reaching bill, known as HB 2007, would require cities and counties in the state to not only “review and decide on applications for certain housing developments containing affordable housing units within 100 days,” but would also limit local municipalities’ abilities to preclude these housing developments via future national historic district designations. Furthermore, the bill would also limit municipalities’ abilities to require lower development densities in some zoning areas, declare a housing emergency in the state, allow houses of worship to develop affordable housing on their properties, and prohibit municipalities from prohibiting accessory dwelling units or duplexes on lots zoned for single-family use. The measure, which is endorsed by the Homebuilders Association of Metropolitan Portland and 1000 Friends of Oregon, has been condemned as a handout to real estate and development interests by preservationists. Because the bill would impose limits on the influence of local historic districts, many in the preservation community see the bill as a wide-ranging and existential threat to the state’s historic fabric. The pro-preservation group Restore Oregon contends the bill is based on “false premises” and has offered a set of amendments to the bill, including adding language to the measure to increase incentives aimed at curbing market-rate development, adding disincentives to the bill that would limit the demolition of modestly-priced existing units, and enabling existing homes to be subdivided into as many as four units without prompting commercial zoning regulations as is currently the case in the state. The group also seeks to retain baseline protections for new historic districts. A hearing on the bill will be held June 22nd. See the Restore Oregon site for more details.
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Snøhetta to restore access to Pacific Northwest’s largest waterfall

Snøhetta has released new renderings for the firm’s ambitious reimagining of the Willamette Falls near Portland, Oregon. The project aims to restore public access to the waterfalls by stringing a long, sinuous path through the formerly industrial site. (The Architect's Newspaper first covered the development when it was unveiled in 2015.) The Willamette Falls is the second-largest waterfall by volume in the United States and has been cut off from nearby downtown Oregon City for over a century. The falls are currently flanked by a collection of decrepit industrial buildings and a hydroelectric dam; some of those industrial buildings will be removed and replaced with native riparian landscapes while others will be redeveloped to accommodate new uses. The new renderings for the project depict a simply-articulated path connecting the various elements along the long, narrow, and linear site leading up to the falls. The proposed pathway—which has been designed to accommodate cyclical and historic flood levels and is seismically resilient—starts at the northern end of the site, where several old industrial buildings will be cleared away and a flour mill from the 1890s will be restored. The path here will connect to an old fuel dock that is being repurposed as a public vantage point and dock. After wrapping around the mill, the path transforms into a wide boardwalk overlooking the river that spills out onto a large public plaza framed by historic and new structures. A portion of the plaza wraps over the boardwalk to create a vantage point over the river. At the eastern end of the plaza, the elevated path picks back up, crossing over a creek in order to reach the a complex made up of more restored mill structures. Here, the mill structures—including antique boilers and other original machinery—will be preserved and opened for public use. The path splinters at the mill complex in order to provide elevated vangates and access to public terraces and groves of coniferous trees. The path ends at a broad promenade at the falls, where visitors can peer out over the dynamic landscape. Here, visitors can observe 360-degree views of the waterfalls and experience the cliffsides from pathways engineered to be supported by existing structures. The Willamette Falls proposal is scheduled to be unveiled June 3 at a public ceremony, and construction is expected to begin June 2018.
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Works by John Yeon, the godfather of Pacific Northwest modernism, go on view at the Portland Art Museum

John Yeon (1910-1994) was a godfather of Pacific Northwest architecture. His 1937 Watzek House garnered international attention when the Museum of Modern Art included it in the 1939 book Art of Our Time and the 1944 traveling exhibition Built in USA. The modern house, which now serves as the John Yeon Center for Architecture and the Landscape, was built with local woods and references historical styles. Providing a counterpoint to the International Style lauded by Philip Johnson and Henry-Russell Hitchcock, Yeon’s work was prescient of the regional influences that would soon disrupt modernism's taut white boxes. Running through September 23 at the Portland Art Museum (PAM), Quest for Beauty: The Architecture, Landscapes, and Collections of John Yeon, exhibits sketches, working drawings, models, and photos, as well as a video wall replaying a time-lapse of Yeon's landscape masterpiece The Shire, a 75-acre, 25-year project along the Columbia River Gorge. Randy Gragg, guest curator of the exhibition and director of the John Yeon Center for Architecture and the Landscape, dotted the exhibition with vases, paintings, and various sculptures from Yeon's own collection, providing an artistic accompaniment to the architect's own works. The diversity of representation ensures that the material can reach a wider audience than his buildings. Barry Bergdoll, a Museum of Modern Art curator and Columbia University professor, presented the lecture “John Yeon and High Stakes of Regionalism in the 1930s” at the PAM on Mother's Day, a kind of inaugural lecture. A contributor to the exhibition catalog, John Yeon Architecture: Building in the Pacific Northwest, Bergdoll placed Yeon in a socio-political context that straddled the taut, industrial modernism and traditional, regional styles. Yeon was a prototypical critical regionalist who used passive techniques, architectural manipulations, and materials of the region to design what Bergdoll described as a "temple to timber and the Oregon landscape." In 1941 Yeon was included in MoMA's The Wooden House in America exhibit, as his plywood houses from the 1930s exploited the Pacific Northwest's pioneering material in designing affordable homes, much like Frank Lloyd Wright's contemporary Usonian houses. And it was within this canon of architects that Bergdoll placed Yeon—amongst Aalto, Breuer, Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, and Wright. He was perhaps most closely aligned in spirit with the material and regional sensibilities of Antonin Raymond. While the work of the self-taught architect was not nearly as extensive as many other architects of the period—Yeon realized 18 homes and one public work (Portland Information Center of 1941)—his impact resonates in the region. For more on Quest for Beauty: The Architecture, Landscapes, and Collections of John Yeon, see the PAM's website here.
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Snøhetta’s first full-scale U.S. exhibition will open in Portland

Starting April 17, the nonprofit Center for Architecture in Portland will host the first full-scale exhibit on Snøhetta (see AN’s interview with founding partner, Craig Dykers) in the United States. The Norwegian and American firm is known for their international institutional projects: public and academic libraries, museums, opera houses, and more. In the U.S. they are working on projects like the Times Square reconstruction to the upcoming James Beard Public Market in Portland, a concept for the Willamette Falls River Walk in Oregon, the SFMOMA expansion opening this May, and an extension to the French Laundry Kitchen in Yountville, CA. The exhibit, Snøhetta: People, Process, Projects, features sketches, renderings, and models that provide a peek into the firm's process. The firm's architects and designers produced and curated the exhibit, too: “Join us at the lunch table or inside the workshop, where 3D prototyping and traditional craftsmanship drive conversations and exploration of new forms,” they said in a release. It’s a traveling exhibit of sorts—the exhibit made its first appearance at the Copenhagen Danish Architecture Centre last summer. The exhibit starts the first day of Design Week Portland, a spring design-oriented festival in The City of Roses that ends April 23. There are events on restorative design, data storytelling, restaurant design, and more, as well as design studio open houses throughout the city. (Seattle, by the way, has an equivalent event in September, hosted by Design in Public. The theme this year is Design Change.) The exhibit runs through June 30.
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Count ’em: After upzoning, developer proposes eleven new buildings for downtown Portland

The City of Roses may get a flurry of major developments downtown. The plan: Portland's Downtown Development Group, headed by the Goodman family, has proposed eleven buildings representing a $1.5 billion investment in the city. The Goodmans' vision, dubbed the Ankeny Blocks, would develop a series of parking lots topped by mixed-use buildings interspersed in a historic downtown neighborhood and near beloved landmarks like the Portland Saturday Market, reported The Oregonian this past Saturday. The five tallest buildings in the Ankeny plan—Blocks 5, 17, 18, and 19—top out at 460 feet. The blocks could play host to a variety of building types: offices, residences, retail, and restaurants. There is no word on tenants yet, but some are hoping tech giants like Google and Amazon could finally open big offices in downtown Portland. While the Ankeny plan is getting generally positive press, there is some controversy. One of the planned apartment buildings may replace the oldest food cart pod in Portland. The Goodmans' plan comes at a time when expected new zoning regulations will change the look and feel of the city. In March 2015, the Portland City Council approved the West Quadrant Plan, a 20-year comprehensive upzoning plan to increase downtown density through development (and help spruce up the city skyline). There are more building details with interactive graphics on the developer's website, with FARs, building heights, zoning, and land square footage for each of the proposed blocks.
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Behnisch and SRG team up on urban-minded business school at Portland State University

Construction is underway on the renovation and expansion of Portland State University School of Business Administration. Behnisch Architekten is collaborating with local SRG Partnership on the downtown Portland design, which strives to better connect the school to the urban fabric and uphold the school’s sustainable values. As such, they are targeting a LEED Platinum rating. “PSU is the largest university in Oregon, it's urban but the current business school is housed in an unremarkable building and doesn’t have an identity,” noted architect Matt Noblett, a partner in Behnisch Architekten’s Boston office. “The school has an ethos of responsible capitalism, which is a progressive approach to business and making money that is not at the expense of humanity and sustainability.” Slated to open in 2017, the new design is a 35,000-square-foot addition to the existing 100,000-square-foot business school. A daylight-filled, five-story atrium will provide circulation between the new and renovated areas while offering space for informal meetings and study areas. Both the new structure and the 1970s building will house classrooms, faculty administrative offices, and business incubators. Noblett added that the new structure would be clad in a unifying Alaskan Cedar. Critical to the new design is the connection to the urban fabric. The site is a typical 200-foot-by-200-foot Portland city block. The architects’ scheme harnesses pedestrian activity on Montgomery Street and cuts a path through the school to link to 6th Avenue, Broadway and Harrison Street. The hope is that by providing exterior plazas and a cross-block connection the design will foster a vibrant public space. Organized vertically from more public to more private, the new building has what Noblett calls a “natural stratification.” The ground floor will house retail spaces, while classroom and event spaces cantilever over the outdoor areas. “The existing building was deaf to public interaction and the school had a craving to link back to the public and show people what they do—they wanted to open up the school and make it part of the urban environment,” Noblett explained.
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Portland foodies rejoice: Snøhetta is designing the planned James Beard Public Market

It seems that almost every major West Coast city has a public market. Seattle has Pike Place Market (construction is underway on an upcoming expansion now set to open in 2016), San Francisco has the Ferry Building Marketplace, Los Angeles has Grand Central Market, and Vancouver has Granville Island. And San Diego may get a public market in Point Loma this summer. But the city of Portland—the small but mighty West coast food hub chock full of inventive restaurants, abundant farmers’ markets, and food trucks—has gone without a public market since the Portland Public Market closed in 1942. Until now. Portland's new food hall is set to be called the James Beard Public Market after the famous Portland-born chef and writer, whose name is also lent to the eponymous annual awards that are like the AIA awards or Oscars for food. Snøhetta is leading the design and working with SERA Architects, Mayer/Reed, Studio Jeffreys, and Interface Engineering. The conceptual designs publicly released last week depict a pair of two-story market halls totaling 80,000 square feet. The two wings would fill two almost oval-shaped downtown parking lots currently hugging the western end of the Morrison Bridge. Pedestrian safety will be critical at a site that abuts a major Portland artery carrying about 50,000 vehicles a day. “Currently, the Morrison Street Bridge and automobile ramps slice the site into two symmetrical halves, barring pedestrian access from three sides,” said Snøhetta in a statement. "Two broad moves are proposed—realigning the Morrison Bridge ramps and introducing a pedestrian through-road along the western edge of the market in order to increase the overall build able site area, and make the new Market accessible and safe for pedestrians from all four sides.” The designers filled the renderings with lots of natural wood, exposed steel, ample seating, and glazing. There are outdoor and indoor spaces with areas for over 100 market stalls, special events, restaurants, and even a teaching kitchen. There are also plans for a green rooftop terrace overlooking the Willamette River so market visitors can get glimpses of Mount Hood on a clear day. While Portland rarely has to contend with snow, a covered public market will allow venders and other merchants to sell their produce and wares out of the rain year-round. The project is currently in the community outreach phase. Construction is slated to start in the fall of 2016 and the market is expected to open in the spring of 2018. While the local nonprofit organization that will operate the market, the Historic Portland Public Market Foundation, has not yet revealed the cost, the project is expected to draw on a mix of public and private funding.
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Obit> Asa Hanamoto, 1923–2015

Pioneering post-war landscape architect Asa Hanamoto passed away at his home in Mill Valley, California on April 9. The son of Japanese immigrants, Hanamoto was interned with his family at the Tule Lake War Relocation Center in Northern California during World War II. He then served in the U.S. Army, studied at UC Berkeley, started his career at Eckbo, Royston & Williams, and went on to design public projects including parks, campuses, recreational designs and community plans over a career that lasted more than five decades. Hanamoto's firm, RHBA (now called RHAA), blazed a trail for then-nascent fields of environmental and community planning. It is known especially for work on the Willamette River Greenway Study (1975), establishing a vital recreational and scenic corridor along the Oregon river; and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (1976), assessing and planning the 116-square mile project and establishing management plans that still guide the area. Hanamoto's biography can be found at the Cultural Landscape Foundation's web site.
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Tapping into power: Portland looks to its water pipes to generate electricity

What would it look like if cities could harvest power from water pressure moving through municipal water pipelines? Since 2012, Riverside, California has been putting that question into practice, and now Portland, Oregon is adopting the approach as well. A Portland-based company, Lucid Energy, has designed a system that generates electricity from simply flushing a toilet or turning on the tap. The system requires gravity-fed pipes to do it’s work: pipes come with up to four mini-turbines and four external generators to remove excess water pressure. A 42” diameter one mile pipeline can generate over 3 megawatts of electricity. Estimates say the Portland system will be able to power about 150 homes, generating 1,100 megawatt hours of energy each year. The Portland system is financed by Harbourton Alternative Energy (a subsidiary of Harbourton Enterprises). “Over the next 20 years, it should also generate about $2 million in energy sales to Portland General Electric, which Harbourton plans to share with the City of Portland and the Portland Water Bureau to offset operational costs. At the end of that period, the Portland Water Bureau will have the right to purchase the system outright, along with all the energy it produces,” writes gizmag. While installation on a main Portland pipeline was finished this past December, the system won’t be fully running until March.
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Portland Building, once eyed for demolition, will be saved, Graves says

[Editor's Note: This post was written by Edward Gunts and James Russiello.] The Portland Building, once considered for demolition, will be spared from the wrecking ball and renovated, according to its architect. Michael Graves, the building’s architect, said in late November that city officials have decided to renovate it for continued use as municipal offices and have asked him to serve on a committee that will coordinate the redesign effort. AN spoke to Graves at a symposium organized by the Architectural League of New York. “It’s going to be saved,” Graves said. “They told me… They said they are saving the building and not only that but we want you to sit on a committee for the redesign.” Graves added that a time frame for the work has not been set but “I would imagine in the next year we’ll do something.” Dana Haynes, communications director for Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, confirmed that the Portland Building is not under threat of demolition and will continue to house city employees. He said Portland's annual capital budget process will begin in January and city officials likely will begin to look at what resources the city might have to address flaws with the building at that time. Haynes said he was not aware that Graves had been asked to serve on a commission to help oversee work on the building, but he said he thought that made sense. Graves’ comments about the building’s status came two months after he made an impassioned plea during a public forum in Portland that the building be spared from the wrecking ball. He said that he believes the public debate over the building’s fate and his proactive preservation stance had a role in the outcome. “I think that was a big part of it,” he said. “They didn’t want to be known as the society that tore down the Portland Building.” City officials in Portland, Oregon have been exploring options for ways to address a series of flaws with the 32-year-old building, from leaks to unpleasant working conditions to questions about its ability to withstand an earthquake. More than one city commissioner has suggested demolition. The city’s internal business services division has recommended that the building be overhauled rather than scrapped. The mayor’s office has not officially disclosed what the city plans to do to address the building’s shortcomings. The 15-story building houses about 1,300 employees. Adjacent to City Hall, it is considered one of the first major America examples of Postmodernism. Constructed for about $25 million and opened in 1982, the Portland Building drew widespread attention for its classically-inflected exterior. Colored in blue, green, salmon and cream, it features a range of decorative flourishes as well as a statue called Portlandia, and it stands out in a city where the architecture is mostly sedate and often unadorned. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2011, the building also has been criticized for providing a dark, claustrophobic and generally unpleasant place to work and transact business with the city. There have been complaints about its small tinted windows that don’t let in much natural light, leaks, low ceilings, and an unimpressive lobby.  To address the complaints, city officials have been pondering a series of options, ranging from renovating the building to moving the employees elsewhere and razing it. Cost estimates for repairing the building have ranged from $38 million to  $95 million. According to The Oregonian newspaper, the high figure was based on analysis by  the city’s Office of Management and Finance.  The $95 million figure included the cost of relocating employees while work was underway and providing alternative space. Much of the cost would go to address structural issues such a making the building more capable of withstanding a major earthquake. The numbers have prompted some city commissioners to discuss the possibility that the building be sold or razed and replaced rather than have the city and its taxpayers spend more money to correct its shortcomings. The estimated cost of tearing the building down and building a new structure is $110 million to $400 million, according to finance office figures obtained by The Oregonian. Graves said that he doesn’t agree with the $95 million estimate for the renovation work and believes the problems can be addressed for much less. “It‘s not $90 million,” he said. “Somebody threw that out to see …if it would stick. It wasn’t true at all. It’s $38 million.” In the past, Graves has also said that although the window dimensions are fixed, it would be possible to replace the tinted glass with clear panes. Another way to keep costs down, he said, is renovating the building floor by floor, rather than emptying it out all at once and finding temporary space for the employees.
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New Buildings Institute catalogues the nation’s net-zero buildings

The Vancouver-based New Buildings Institute (NBI) tracks energy efficient built work, and their 2014 update, “Getting to Zero”, provides a snapshot of the emerging U.S. market for net-zero buildings—those are structures that use no more energy than they can gather on site. In the United States, California leads in the number of low and zero energy projects with 58, followed by Oregon (18), Colorado (17), Washington (16), Virginia (12), Massachusetts (11), Florida (10), Pennsylvania (10), Illinois (8), North Carolina (8), and New York (8). NBI also compiled a database of all their buildings. They say architects and developers interested in pursuing net-zero design could find inspiration there, searching according to their local climate and/or building characteristics. The database includes energy-efficient and high-performance buildings that are not net-zero, as well. Though the trend has succeeded in garnering attention and excitement among many designers, true net-zero buildings remain elusive in the built environment. So far NBI has only certified 37 buildings as net-zero. That ranking is based on performance—each building underwent a review of at least 12 months of measured energy use data. If piece-meal projects aren't yet adding up to a groundswell of net-zero design, NBI is also pushing systemic change—rigorous energy efficiency standards recently adopted in Illinois took cues from the group's Core Performance Guide.
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Allied Works Carves a Winery Out of Cedar

Textured wood envelope draws on the history and landscape of Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

Sokol Blosser Winery's Willamette Valley tasting room, designed by Allied Works Architecture, pays homage to its agricultural surroundings in its massing and materials. Nestled within a set of terraces scooped out of the Dundee Hills, the building plants roots with a below-grade cellar, on top of which its long, low first story spreads like grape vines along a trellis. Both exterior and interior are wrapped in locally-sourced cedar siding—rough grey boards hung horizontally on the outside, smooth clear wood laid diagonally on the inside—whose regularity recalls aerial photographs of the vineyard. "We went with wood for a number of reasons," explained principal Kyle Lommen. "There's a history of wood in the agrarian architecture of that region. There's a history of wood in wineries as well. And there was a desire to create an atmosphere that is warm and had a material quality." Though the open front porch and fissures between the building's several volumes create a fluid interplay between outside and inside, Allied Works Architecture used texture and color to distinguish the exterior skin. "We wanted to create an expression of the outer crust, the outer envelope of the building, and have it play or pick up the daylight that hits the building," said Lommen. The architects chose a few different sizes of cedar boards, stained grey, then flipped them around "so as the sun hits the wood it creates a shadow, a kind of relief," he explained. "The wall has a very random pattern, but it's created from only three different board sizes."
  • Facade Manufacturer R&H Construction
  • Architects Allied Works Architecture
  • Facade Installer R&H Construction
  • Location Dayton, OR
  • Date of Completion 2013
  • System stained cedar rain screen with boards flipped for texture
  • Products locally-sourced cedar, window system from Dynamic Architectural Windows & Doors
The horizontal rain screen system on the tasting room facade contrasts sharply with the interior, where unstained boards set flush with one another travel in diagonal paths along the walls and sloped ceilings. Because the orientation of the boards changes each time they meet a seam, "it almost does this visual trick, creates a kind of complexity through a very simple concept," said Lommen. The interior siding extends onto the ceiling of the porch and the walls of the gaps between rooms, suggesting a solid block carved into a succession of spaces. The architects used sketches and drawings to establish the basic design concept before moving through several iterations of physical models. "We created a digital model as well to create perspectives that helped us understand materiality," said Lommen. "We did a number of perspectives to make sure that we weren't creating an environment that was too hectic, too busy. Through studies we realized it would be quite calm." The material studies, he said, were also helpful for the client, who had never worked on a project of this scale. Yet none of Allied Works Architecture's renderings captured the impact of the built space, said Lommen. "When the project was close to completion I was on site talking to the client, and they said, 'We never really understood what we were getting, even after all these models and exterior perspectives,'" he recalled. "Even for us as the architects, it ends up being more rich going to see the building."