Now in its sixth year, Portland State University (PSU) School of Architecture students designed and built a repurposed and reusable, sky-high temporary performance venue for the Pickathon Music Festival in Happy Valley, Oregon. This year’s Treeline Stage, one of six at the festival, suggests an “orchard of towering trees,” taking inspiration from the structure of apple blossom but built from 160 wooden apple-harvesting bins. The project includes a series of seven towers, each made of roughly 15-to-30 harvesting bins and reaching a maximum of 40 feet tall. Positioned evenly around the site, the towers offer space for audio equipment, a backstage area, and space for food vendors and seating. During the day, sunlight drapes the towers and create imposing shadows as the sky moves. Toward sundown and at night, the towers glow from the inside with projected light and controlled colored LED lights that line the interior of the harvesting boxes. PSU School of Architecture faculty members Travis Bell and Clive Knights led the 40-plus students, alumni, and volunteers through the project’s design and construction. Their concept, “diversion design-build,” refers to mass-produced, construction-related materials that are diverted from their usually industrial purpose and then sent back for reuse following the end of the festival, like the apple harvesting bins. Previous Pickathon projects used materials like cardboard tubes (2015), wooden trusses (2017), and dimensional lumber (2016 and 2018), among others. This year, the harvesting bins were lent by a Pacific Northwest fruit producer and the wooden column structures and thousands of screws were reused from previous stage productions. The students’ inspiration for the overall site strategy and architectural design originated from seasonal and botanical patterns, as well as the number five. The towers have pentagonal clusters of five bins, purposefully stacked to suggest a collection of blossoms in a grove of trees. “A preponderance of five is prevalent in the life history of an apple," the students wrote in their designers’ statement about the project. "There are five sepals around the calyx, five petals in the flower, five stigma, pistils, and ovaries. Upon pollination, these ovaries develop into seed compartments, bearing five seeds, and each pod of five flowers has been stacked to create branches across the site. Composed as a tableau of blossoms, the orchard aligns at pivotal moments behind the stage and from each of the two entrances.”
Posts tagged with "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.
A research center for public interest design—the first in the nation—has launched in Portland, Oregon. Helmed by Professor Sergio Palleroni at Portland State University, the Center for Public Interest Design examines and proposes affordable design projects for both emerging and established communities in need around the world. The center chiefly studies ways to improve global living conditions—addressing basic necessities such as shelter, water, and education—through a hands-on approach. Five inaugural projects range from modular classrooms to the Montesinos Orphanage and Environmental Technical School school in Haiti. More details here.