[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.
Posts tagged with "Oregon":
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.
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." 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."
Robert Hull, FAIA, founding partner of The Miller Hull Partnership, has died from complications following a stroke. Hull, who was 68, was on sabbatical in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. He is survived by his wife and two sons. Hull earned a bachelor of architecture from Washington State University, where he met his long-time business partner David Miller. From 1968 to 1972 he served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Afghanistan. There he designed and built the headquarters for the National Tourism Agency, helped establish an architecture program at Kabul University, and designed more than 100 sustainable schools. Upon his return to the United States, Hull worked in the New York office of Marcel Breuer. He joined Rhone and Iredale Architects in 1975 and, with David Miller, opened the RIA Seattle office. Miller and Hull established The Miller Hull Partnership in Seattle in 1977. Hull’s design credits include projects throughout the Pacific Northwest and in San Diego, notably The Open Window School, Epiphany School, Bertschi Center, and The Bush School, all in Seattle, Conibear Shellhouse at the University of Washington, Seattle Pacific University Science Building and University Center for Performing Arts, Discovery Park Visitors Center, and Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center, Tillamook Forest Center and Yaquina Interpretive Center in Oregon, The Wharf and Pier 32 in San Diego, and a number of private homes throughout the San Juan Islands. Hull had recently returned to Afghanistan, where he was at work on both a health clinic and a girls' school. Hull and Miller jointly received the AIA Seattle Medal of Honor in 2010, seven years after their firm earned the 2003 AIA National Firm Award for sustained design excellence. The pair were also awarded the Washington Alumni Achievement Award in 2006. Hull was an accomplished public speaker and a mentor to many younger employees at Miller Hull. “Hull was regarded for his natural ability to grasp the essence of a project and translate it into an inspired physical manifestation of client values,” the firm said in a statement. “His buildings fit amazingly well in their setting—urban or rural—and were extremely comfortable to occupy, but most of all, they were beautiful.” Hull’s family held a private funeral service in Cape Town, South Africa on Sunday, April 13, 2014. The date for a public Seattle celebration of Hull’s life will be announced soon.
National Geographic’s “Greatest Photographs of the American West” Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art 1430 Johnson Lane, Eugene, Oregon Through December 31 Throughout its 125-year history, National Geographic has been home to some of the highest quality photojournalism in the world, captivating its audiences with powerful and spectacular imagery. This fall, the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of the University of Oregon is displaying the magazine’s greatest photographs of the American West; a region that has long captivated photographers. The exhibition will run through to December 31. Included are photographs by Sam Abell, Ansel Adams, William Albert, and many other renowned photographers. The exhibition is organized into four sections, each focusing on various aspects of the American West and its significance to the country’s national identity. From spectacular rock formations to cowboys and Native Americans, this exhibition draws from the significant holdings of the National Geographic Archive. The American West was organized with the National Museum of Wildlife Art of the United States and Museums West.
SubDivided provides a unifying element in Fenton Hall's three-story atrium, tying each level together visually.In December 2012, the University of Oregon completed a renovation of Fenton Hall (1904), which has been home to the mathematics department for the past 35 years. In addition to sprucing up the interior and upgrading the mechanical systems, the institution hosted an open competition for the design of an installation to hang in the building’s atrium. Out of roughly 200 initial applicants three were shortlisted, and of those the university selected a design by Atlanta-based architect Vokan Alkanoglu. Composed of 550 uniquely shaped aluminum sheets, the 14-foot-high by 10-foot-long by 4 ½-foot-wide sculptural form is derived from the curving geometry created by several opposed ellipses—a nod to the discipline that calls Fenton Hall home. “We wanted to create something that would be visible on all three floors of the atrium to connect the levels and create flow in the space,” said Alkanoglu. “We also wanted to have an interior to the piece, so that you could see inside and outside, to give it a real sense of three dimensionality.” Alkanoglu and his associate Matthew Au modeled the piece, named SubDivided, in Rhino, using algorithms to define the curved surfaces that link each open ellipse. In addition to giving the sculpture a sense of depth, the curves also add to its structural integrity. Alkanoglu tessellated the surface with perforations to keep it lightweight and increase its visual permeability. Once he had defined the form, Alkangolu transferred it into Grasshopper, breaking the model down into 550 unique sections. Each piece was given tabs with holes in order to make connections with rivets, and assigned an identification number. Alkanoglu transferred this subdivided version of SubDivided as .dxf files to local fabricator, MAC Industries. MAC fed the files into its CNC routing machines, which cut the profiles out of .04 aluminum sheets pre-painted in two colors—the University wanted the sculpture to have a duotone appearance, matte gray on the outside and white on the inside. Once cut, the sections were given a non-scratch coating and labeled with stickers. To assemble these puzzle pieces, Alkanoglu recruited three architecture students from U of O. In a shop, the team set about the work of peeling off the non-scratch coating, rolling the sections to give them the requisite curve, and connecting them with rivets. The team assembled the piece in four chunks, which they then transported to the site, where a scaffold had been erected in the atrium. The four larger pieces were connected atop the scaffold and the entire assembly was attached to the ceiling with three narrow-gauge galvanized cables crimped to steel plates inside the sculpture. According to the calculations of the project’s structural engineer, Buro Happold, SubDivided weighs a mere 56 pounds. “It’s kind of like a research project," said Alkanoglu. "A small prototype that could move into a larger building, maybe a facade, or an atrium for a bigger building, which hopefully will come in the future.”
There are few places better for the Bloomberg administration to look for a new head for the Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainabilty than Portland, that utopia of urban green living. (To some, it borders on zealotry.) Today the administration announced that David Bragdon, the president of Metro, the City of Roses' land-use and management body, will be replacing the recently departed Rohit Aggarwala. He has his work cut out for him, as his predecessor was the chief architect of the city's lauded PlaNYC 2030 plan, though it appears the office is in capable hands. According to Willamette Week:
Bragdon’s leadership of the regional government will be remembered for the addition of substantial green spaces to the region, bringing fiscal sanity to Metro’s budget, somewhat frosty relations with the suburbs, and an ongoing wrestling match over the issue of whether to expand the urban growth boundary.He's also a big advocate for alternative transportation, and The Oregonian says he may even be a contender for mayor in 2012. Of Portland, that is, not New York. (Unless of course things go especially well...) As for our mayor, he said the following in a release outlining his decision: "David is an exceptional addition to our team here as we continue to implement the initiatives in PlaNYC and work to update the plan and expand it to include solid waste." Wonder if that was in the job description?