As Democratic voters moved to retake the House of Representatives and key gubernatorial seats, a series of local architecture-, urbanism-, and climate-related initiatives saw mixed results in western states. Aside from being a referendum on the divisive governance style of President Donald Trump, the midterm election brought with it fierce debates over contentious issues like expanding rent control and funding supportive housing in California, taxing carbon emissions in Washington State, and boosting renewable energy generation in Arizona and Nevada. Here’s a state-by-state breakdown of some of the major initiatives and their outcomes. Arizona: Proposition 127: An initiative to require electric utilities to use renewable energy for 50 percent of their power generation by 2035 failed in the state. The battle over Proposition 127 saw the highest amount of political spending in the state this year, with the state’s main electrical utility, Arizona Public Service, pouring over $30.3 million into a political action committee dedicated to fighting the measure. California: Proposition C: San Francisco’s supportive housing ordinance was overwhelmingly supported by the city’s voters. The initiative will raise $300 million per year for supportive housing and services from a modest tax levied on companies in the city that gross over $50 million annually in revenue. The measure is similar to the so-called “head tax” in Seattle that was passed and quickly repealed earlier this year. Proposition 1: An initiative to approve $4 billion in “housing-related programs, loans, grants, and projects and housing loans for veterans” in the state gained wide approval. Proposition 2: An initiative to dedicate $2 billion from the state’s 2004 “millionaire’s tax” toward providing “homelessness prevention housing for persons in need of mental health services“ was approved. Proposition 4: An initiative authorizing $1.5 billion in bonds for the “construction, expansion, renovation, and equipping of children's hospitals in California” was approved. Proposition 6: Voters in the state defeated a Republican-led effort to repeal a recently-passed gas tax increase. The recent increase is helping to fund bridge and road repairs while also providing new—and much-needed—mass transit funding for the state’s growing public transportation systems. Proposition 10: A state-wide effort to repeal the controversial Costa-Hawkins law that limits how municipalities can institute rent control was soundly defeated. Rather than instituting rent control statewide, the measure would have allowed municipalities the flexibility to set their own policies. Tenants’ rights and anti-displacement advocates saw the effort as providing a lifeline for their constituencies; ultimately, the $76 million raised by real estate and Wall Street interests against the measure was too much for grassroots voters to overcome. Colorado: Proposition 112: Voters in the Centennial State chose to reject a ballot initiative that would have increased oil and gas drilling setbacks from homes, businesses, and waterways. Resistance to the measure was no match for heavy spending by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, the proposition’s main opponent. With controversial hydraulic fracturing rising to new highs in the state and an increasingly bleak outlook for climate change-related disasters around the world, Colorado’s pro-environment movement has been dealt a powerful rebuke. Nevada: State Question No. 6: Voters in Nevada approved a measure that would require state utilities to generate 50 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030. In order for the measure to become law, however, it will need to survive a second vote in 2020. Washington State: Measure 1631: Washington state residents largely rejected a measure that would have imposed a first-in-the-nation tax on carbon emissions. The initiative performed well in liberal King County—home to Seattle—but lost pretty much everywhere else in the state. Measure 940: Washington state residents approved a measure that would require law enforcement officials to receive “de-escalation” and mental health training as well as provide first aid under certain circumstances. The initiative would also require authorities to conduct an investigation after a deadly use of force by a member of law enforcement in order to verify that such force meets a “good faith” test.
Posts tagged with "Oregon":
Thanks to a recent addendum to Oregon’s building code, the state is the first in the country to allow timber buildings to rise higher than six stories without special consideration. Portland has become something of a hotbed for timber innovation as of late. Carbon12, PATH Architecture’s eight-story glulam and cross-laminated timber (CLT) tower with a steel core, recently became the country’s tallest timber building and was set to be surpassed by LEVER Architecture’s 12-story Framework. Alas, that project was put on hold due to mounting financial difficulties last month, but it seems the precedent that the project achieved in securing a building permit from the State of Oregon and City of Portland will live on. The timber allowance comes courtesy of Oregon’s statewide alternate method (SAM), a state-specific program that allows for alternate building techniques to be used after an advisory council has approved the “technical and scientific facts of the proposed alternate method.” The allowance comes after the International Code Council (ICC)–the nonprofit group that Oregon models its building codes after–established the ICC Ad Hoc Committee on Tall Wood Buildings in 2015 to explore the benefits and challenges of using timber in tall buildings. A Committee Action Hearing was held in April of this year, where the Ad Hoc Committee, made up of code experts, stakeholders, and industry members presented their findings. All 14 of the committee’s suggestions were adopted, introducing standards and best practices for fireproofing, the load-bearing potential of CLT and heavy timber, water resistance, sealing, seismic ratings, and more. Three new building classifications were introduced as a result: Type IV A, timber buildings permitted up to 18 stories and 270 feet tall, Type IV B, timber buildings with a maximum height of 12 stories and 180 feet, and Type IV C, which is permitted to rise nine stories and 85 feet tall at maximum. The shortest of the timber typologies is allowed to use exposed structural timber as an interior finish, whereas the tallest, type A, must enclose all exposed surfaces and include a three-hour fire-resistance rating for the structural elements. “We congratulate the State of Oregon on becoming the first state to provide building code recognition for construction of tall, mass timber buildings,” said American Wood Council President & CEO Robert Glowinski in a statement. “Mass timber is a new category of wood products that will revolutionize how America builds and we’ve seen interest in it continue to grow over the last several years. This action by the Codes Division Administrator helps code officials in Oregon by making provisions consistent throughout the state. In adopting this new method, Oregon has also recognized the significant environmental benefits that accrue from greater wood product use.”
In the Beginning: Minor White’s Oregon Photographs Portland Art Museum 1219 SW Park Avenue, Portland, Oregon On view through October 21 The Portland Art Museum (PAM) is currently presenting In the Beginning: Minor White’s Oregon Photographs, a two-part photography exhibition highlighting the evocative works of the famed 20th-century modernist photographer. The twin showcases focus on White’s early work documenting historic architecture and landscapes in Oregon. In 1938, White was hired to record changes along the city’s Front Avenue for the Oregon Art Project, part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Employed as a “creative photographer,” White documented the iron-front and industrial buildings in the district that were to be demolished in order to make way for Harbor Drive, a new highway on-ramp. The project was followed in 1942 by a commission from PAM to document a pair of historic Portland homes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.