Posts tagged with "Portland":

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LEVER Architecture’s Thomas Robinson discusses architecture and engineering in Oregon

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The Pacific Northwest is home to a thriving architecture and design community that is shaping the industry across the country. The upcoming Facades+ AM conference July 21 will highlight notable projects within the state and region; ranging from a diverse spate of recently completed expansions to the University of Oregon campus to the ongoing proliferation of mass timber on the West Coast. Thomas Robinson, founding principal of LEVER Architecture, collaborated with The Architect's Newspaper in the program’s curation as conference co-chair. Participating firms include Allied Works, Ennead Architects, Hacker Architects, Office 52 Architecture, RDH Building Science, the Shildan Group, and Thornton Tomasetti. In anticipation of the conference, AN interviewed Robinson to discuss architectural trends in Oregon and the programming of the morning symposium. AN: We are consistently struck by the quality of work coming out of Portland and the Pacific Northwest. What is driving this emphasis on craftsmanship within Portland's design community, as found in the work of OFFICE 52 and Hacker Architects, and what work is LEVER currently up to? Thomas Robinson: There is a culture of “making” that permeates life in Portland. From the buildings to the culinary scene, people are interested in creating things that add value. Specifically, with respect to architecture, Portland projects have lower construction budgets (compared to San Francisco or New York) and that has pushed architects here to innovate with off-the-shelf systems and regional materials. You must be creative and collaborative to do something really special in the Northwest, and architects here are rising to the challenge. In terms of our own work, we’re currently in design or construction on several institutional projects. We’re building a new LEED Platinum headquarters for Meyer Memorial Trust, one of Oregon’s largest private foundations that is committed to advancing equity. The project has an interesting convening center for collaborations with community partners that is made from a new product called Mass Plywood Panels (MPP). We’re also in design on a major renovation of Portland’s Artists Repertory Theatre. They do timely, provocative productions, and this renovation will strengthen their public presence and help them to engage with audiences in new ways. LEVER is leading the way in terms of timber design. What do you perceive to be the most exciting trends in terms of timber structure and cladding, and which aspects of the Nature Conservancy HQ do you plan on highlighting at Facades+ Portland? Designers are starting to think beyond tall wood buildings and beyond cross-laminated timber (CLT). There is so much potential. Right now, we’re doing a major project with a hybrid timber and precast concrete structural system. Hybrid systems are exciting because they make mass timber viable and accessible for projects across the country. Sustainable sourcing of timber for facades or for structures is a major issue as well. The Nature Conservancy Headquarters is an interesting demonstration project because it uses sustainably harvested timber products throughout, including FSC-certified glulams and CLT that were manufactured locally using regional wood. The ground level facade on the building is clad in Juniper, a native species considered invasive when overgrown because it fuels forest fires and negatively impacts Sage-Grouse habitats. The third panel brings together architect and facade consultant for the Knight Campus and the U.S. Embassy in Mozambique. Why is the dialogue between project partners crucial to successful project delivery, and what lessons do you hope are elucidated from the panel? Every consultant has a unique expertise, and it is only when we really engage in dialogue with our engineering, construction, and fabrication partners that innovation emerges. Both the Knight Campus and the U.S. Embassy project have advanced facades with respect to building performance. I am interested to learn more about the research and development that went into those systems and hope there are lessons and technologies that will be relevant to the everyday structures being built in communities. Further information regarding Facades+ Portland can be found here.
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Hacker Architects marries contextualism with material efficiency

The origins and guiding principles of Portland-based Hacker Architects stem from the six years founder Thomas Hacker spent working for Louis Kahn, an architect who knew how to match dramatic siting with phenomenal material palettes. Hacker has since retired, but the firm has expanded to a staff of over 60 people and continues to treat each project as an opportunity to mix contextualism with the latest in efficiency and sustainability. The firm is known for its innovative uses of cross-laminated timber, a favorite because of the material’s quick renewability and capacity to function as a carbon sink; the firm also employs a wide range of locally sourced materials to reduce waste and incorporates passive heating and cooling methods whenever possible.

Hacker Architects’ leaders feel they are in service to the public and have become specialists in the design of libraries, museums, and other cultural institutions. The handful of private buildings they’ve designed, however, are no less representative of the firm’s dual interests in siting and materiality. Inspired by local history, natural scenery, and the imperative to reduce our carbon footprint, Hacker Architects sets examples for the industry with every project.

Lakeside at Black Butte Ranch

Surrounded by the scenic Cascade mountain range and the Deschutes National Forest in Central Oregon, Lakeside adds a sprawling recreational and dining complex to the rustic-modernist resort atmosphere of Black Butte Ranch. The project used a $11.5 million budget to replace an aging pool facility with a 15,000-square-foot design that heightens the experience of transitioning from the rugged outdoor landscape to the calming resort.

Douglas fir is the primary structural component for the project, while the interior and exterior are almost entirely clad in locally sourced cedar, a material in common use in the Pacific Northwest because of how it gracefully weathers. The firm envisioned the building as an “aperture for the site,” framing views that might strengthen connections between the ranch and the vast landscape beyond.

Bayview/Linda Brooks- Burton Library

Replacing a branch library dating from 1969 in the historically underserved neighborhood of Bayview in the southeastern portion of San Francisco, the Bayview/Linda Brooks-Burton Library was completed in 2013 and designed to be an open and inviting space for the community it serves. Many of the library’s design gestures are a nod to the neighborhood’s African and African American past, including the street-level window walls adorned with illustrations of the area’s history, the kente cloth–inspired exterior paneling, and the space allotted throughout the library for works by local artist Ron Moultrie Saunders.

The firm designed the library to look inward, with a courtyard at the center large enough to host events; thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows that surround it, the courtyard provides generous natural light and views throughout the interior spaces. The library contains several environmentally efficient features that helped it achieve LEED Gold status, including passive ventilation and air-filtration systems in the exterior walls, embedded photovoltaic arrays, and a green rooftop that filters stormwater runoff using native grasses and perennials.

Berwick Hall

When tasked with creating a permanent home for the Oregon Bach Festival, an annual event in Eugene, Oregon, that celebrates the works of Johann Sebastian Bach, Hacker Architects combined an office space with a double-height rehearsal room acoustically designed to function like the musical instruments that it contains. A wood panel system made of tongue-and-groove Accoya boards allows the tops of two of the rehearsal space’s walls to bend in a way that provides abundant natural light from above while also preventing excessive audial buildup in the lower portion of the room.

Visually distinct from the cubic rehearsal space is the office bar, a lower-slung, redbrick building designed to match the older buildings on the University of Oregon campus. Many of its windows are operable, permitting natural ventilation while reducing the demand on the building’s active heating and cooling systems.

Sunshine Canyon Residence

One of Hacker Architects’ few residential projects—as well as one of the firm’s smallest, at 2,200 square feet—the Sunshine Canyon Residence was built in the hills outside Boulder, Colorado, to replace its client’s previous home, lost in the Fourmile Canyon Fire near the site in 2010. To preserve the landscape, the majority of the house is supported by narrow steel columns that minimized the amount of construction work on the site. Given that the house is in a cold climate that receives an abundance of annual sunlight, its windows face south to maximize solar gain and reduce the need for active heating.

The materiality and formal simplicity of the home were inspired by the abandoned mine shafts, rusted steel mining structures, and naturally occurring granite bordering the site that resurfaced after the fire. The majority of the exterior is clad with corrugated steel and untreated Ipe, both of which are designed to patina over time, like the nearby mining equipment. The interior is lined with clear vertical-grain fir that recalls the trees on the site while subtly changing in shifting daylight.

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Waechter Architecture takes cues from origami for timber townhouses

Origami is a new residential development by Waechter Architecture in Portland’s Piedmont neighborhood. As an urban gesture, the project occupies a full city block with twelve wood-framed townhouses. The buildings’ footprint frames a shared internal court at the back, where each residence has private space for gardens and parking. Exterior wall surfaces allow each unit to retain its own character. The design takes inspiration from origami, the process of folding paper to create complex forms. In a play of light and shadow, the team utilized the concept of “the fold” to shape a roofscape that connects the gabled facades of each unit. Waechter decided to use Hardie siding and asphalt shingles to bring together the exterior walls and roof surface. To enhance the desired qualities of shadow relief and texture, the designers went beyond cladding with several techniques, including a flashing detail and window placement. Principal Ben Waechter explained the approach, noting, “At a building scale, we folded the facade, and at each of the folds there is a special detail that visually gives the impression that the facade plane has been scored and folded. This three-piece flashing detail allows the fold to bend at a concave or convex angle. All the windows are recessed into the wall cavity rather than attached directly to the outside face of the sheathing. With the windows recessed, the trim is able to be applied perpendicular to the facade, giving it more visual depth than what is typically achieved with standard flat trim." Origami is a study in scale and balance for new multifamily housing. The project’s concept provided individual articulations of each unit while maintaining the sculptural impact of the whole, and in turn, created a subtle identity for the development. Location: Portland, Oregon Architect: Waechter Architecture Contractor: Yorke & Curtis Structural engineer: Grummel Engineering Civil engineer: KPFF Landscape: Lango Hansen Rainscreen: James Hardie Concrete block:  Mutual Materials Windows: VPI Quality Windows Doors: Andersen, VPI Quality Windows Cabinetwork: Euro-American Design Paint: Miller Paint Solid surfaces: Caesarstone Floor and wall tiles: Emser Tile Lighting: Kuzco Lighting, RP Lighting + Fans Plumbing: Duravit sinks, bathtubs, toilets, and faucets
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LEVER Architecture elevates regional materials to new levels of innovation

“People connect to wood differently than other materials,” said Thomas Robinson, founder and principal of Portland-based LEVER Architecture. While training in the offices of Allied Works and Herzog & de Meuron, Robinson initially became attracted to the natural material due to its deep phenomenological properties. As structural timber gained popularity in the Pacific Northwest thanks to its ease of acquisition and carbon-capturing capabilities, his firm dove further into its own use of regionally-sourced timber and progressive construction techniques. “Wood is important," explained Robinson, "but innovation is what drives our interest in wood.” LEVER has consistently been at the forefront of timber construction for the last several years and has demonstrated its skillset at varying scales and through a wide range of innovative building techniques. Below, AN rounds-up a variety of the studio's diverse, wood-centric projects:  Oregon Conservation Center Completed in 2019, the Oregon Conservation Center dramatically renovates The Nature Conservancy's original, 1970s office building, which had poorly lit interiors, inefficient office layouts, and an uninspiring facade. As one of the first buildings in the U.S. to be built with cross-laminated timber panels certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the project reflects the client's own progressive sustainability goals. The firm revamped the near-50-year-old structure by introducing materials and plantings that evoke three regional habitats: the Rowena Plateau, Cascade-Siskiyou, and western hemlock and cedar forests. The majority of the materials were sustainably harvested from the client's conservation sites, while the original building's exterior was completely redesigned with steel cladding that will gracefully patina over time. Hidden from plain sight are a number of energy-efficient initiatives, including rooftop photovoltaics that produce a quarter of the building's energy supply and a subsurface filtration system that manages and redistributes all stormwater on-site. L’Angolo Estate Standing as a beacon within a sprawling, 23-acre winery outside of Newberg, Oregon in Yamhill County, L'Angolo Estate was designed in response to the surrounding views and the area's unique climatic conditions while visually connecting to the native Oregon oak trees that populate the valley. A combination of Douglas Fir, exterior cedar siding, and dark anodized aluminum ties the building to the rustic material palette familiar to the Pacific Northwest. Two cantilevered roof structures made also of Douglas Fir interlock at the point of entry give the building a sense of grandeur despite its petite 2,200-square-foot perimeter. The ceiling of the tasting room is patterned with 86 glulam beams that lead the eye towards the rolling hills in the distance. The tasting room can also expand towards that view through the opening of two large, central sliding doors that double as an effective passive cooling system in the summer in addition to the clerestory windows above them. Mass Plywood Pavilion While CLT was developed in Europe in the 1990s to enable the construction of large-scale buildings, a domestic version to the Pacific Northwest was unveiled only in 2017 by Portland, Oregon-based company Freres Lumber. Shortly after it developed the product, dubbed "Mass Plywood" as a thin wood veneer alternative to CLT, LEVER was commissioned to design the very first structure in the country using it. Their Mass Plywood Pavilion, which debuted in Portland that same year, was built exclusively with timber sourced from forests within 100 miles of the Freres' manufacturing plant in Lyons, Oregon. The pavilion demonstrated the potential of the material by expressing its structural and aesthetic capabilities using the fewest cuts possible to produce just 15 panels. Four of the panels were cut in half to become its structural frames, while others were cantilevered and spread out across the small pavilion. Made with untreated materials, the project also showed off the product's ability to withstand the weather conditions in the Pacific Northwest. Redfox Commons Located in a quickly developing neighborhood in Northwest Portland, Redfox Commons is made of two former industrial structures from the 1940s that were combined to create a light-filled office campus offering over 60,000 square feet of usable space. LEVER stripped the original buildings down to their timber framing and exposed the wood within the interior while adding 80-foot-long clerestory windows that bring generous natural light down into the massive, open space. Ribbon windows on the buildings' steel-clad exterior further drawn in light. LEVER also designed and built a glassy, central entrance structure to connect the two older buildings. The firm used over 6,500 linear feet of salvaged wood from a preexisting mezzanine building on-site to make a timber tunnel walkway on its second floor.
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An accessory dwelling unit conference in Portland pushes the typology forward

The biennial Build Small Live Large Summit launched in 2012 in Portland, Oregon, to help move the housing industry toward smaller, more energy-efficient homes. Originally organized under the auspices of city’s Department of Environmental Quality, past programs promoted tiny houses and accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The focus of this year’s event shifted to missing middle housing, reflecting another acute concern for many U.S. cities. “Everyone from every city is struggling to provide enough affordable housing and we all want to have a better approach to this problem,” said Rebecca Small, a planner at Metro, the regional agency that now convenes the event. The topic attracted a decidedly wonky audience of planners, but also drew builders, real estate agents, investors, developers, advocates, activists, and architects from across the country who are closely following recent legislation that lowers barriers to developing additional housing types on single-family lots. In August, Oregon passed a statewide bill that will allow the development of middle housing, defined as duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, cottage clusters, and townhouses, on single-family zoned lots by 2022. In October, California passed a suite of laws that go into effect in January 2020 that incentivize building ADUs, reduce restrictions for building them, and streamline the process. Rendering of a one bedroom gabled tiny home Build Small Live Large 2019 sessions covered financing and appraising ADUs, as well as strategies for passing state and local ordinances to encourage missing middle housing options. Panels mixed city planners, housing advocates, elected officials, architects, lenders, and developers who delved into the ramifications of the new code and zoning updates and explored housing models on the horizon to be reintroduced into many urban and not so urban regions. As Michelle Glass of the Rogue Action Center stressed, the perception of rural communities, such as those in Eastern Oregon, is that they’re still in the 1950s, but displacement as a result of affordability and accessibility is a very real issue there. Discussions around single room occupancy housing models, or SROs, highlighted how this once-common housing option has reemerged both as a way to help people transition from homelessness and as an affordable option for nomadic millennials as they move into and out of cities. Panelists also explored how using ADUs and cottage clusters gives the generation on the opposite end of the spectrum, baby boomers, a viable way to age in place or stay in their neighborhoods. Notably, Richard Rothstein, author of The Color of Law (2017), was the event’s keynote speaker. Rothstein drew parallels to the time after World War II when the homelessness crisis in the U.S. was comparable to today and noted how exclusionary zoning practices enacted then have resulted in deep economic disparity and segregation in the country. “If we abolish segregation in neighborhoods, the next day things wouldn’t look any different,” said Rothstein. Perhaps not overnight, but as new legislation takes effect along the West Coast and ripples out to cities such as Fayette, Arkansas, and Minneapolis, which are already updating their zoning regulations to encourage housing that creates more diverse, livable, walkable cities, the housing landscape may look very different by the next Build Small Live Large Summit.
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Nike to name Olson Kundig-designed Innovation Building after LeBron James

Oregon-based sportswear giant Nike announced that it will name its new Advanced Innovation Building after basketball legend LeBron James, who has been sponsored by the company since entering the NBA in 2003. The LeBron James Building will form part of the company’s newly expanded World Headquarters (WHQ) near Beaverton, just outside Portland, Oregon.

According to Nike, the LeBron James Building will play host to the company’s Advanced Innovation team, a group of scientists, designers, engineers, and other professionals whose work centers on sports science. The team is responsible for inventing products that will improve performance among athletes of all kinds, including professional players like James. Much of the team’s work will be completed in the Nike Sport Research Lab (NSRL), which will grow five-fold when the new building opens. Designed by Seattle-based architects Olson Kundig in collaboration with Mortenson Construction, the facility will also boast a full NBA regulation-sized basketball court, a 200-meter endurance track, an artificial turf field, and a 100-meter straightaway.

The most eye-catching architectural feature of the new structure is a massive overhang extending outward from the fourth floor, where the NSRL will be housed. The ceiling on the underside of the cantilever is composed of a waffle-patterned concrete slab—supposedly a nod to Nike’s history of material innovation. A 500-foot-long ramp stretches along one side of the building at a 15.63 percent incline, giving athletes a unique training environment on a largely hill-free campus. Portland-based landscape architecture firm PLACE is responsible for designing the grounds.

Slated to open in 2020, the LeBron James Building will join a number of facilities at Nike’s WHQ that are named after famous professionals from the sporting world. The sprawling Beaverton campus is home to a fitness center honoring basketball coach Michael Krzyzewski, an office building named after middle-distance runner Sebastian Coe, and a parking garage celebrating the sports teams of New York City. Nike will also debut the Skylab Architecture-designed Serena Williams Building next year.

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OFFICEUNTITLED combines two buildings for Portland's stately Woodlark Hotel

Earlier this year, OFFICEUNTITLED (formerly R&A Architecture + Design) completed the new Woodlark Hotel in Portland's storied Downtown neighborhood. This substantial project—the fusing of two monumental listed buildings—has become a symbol of Portland's rapid urban renewal but also the so-called New Northwest movement: defined as the masterful blending of refined and historically-informed architectural detailing and a weathered ruggedness specific to the area. The joining of two buildings of different heights, with different floorplate arrangements, presented a unique challenge to the design team, especially for a hospitality project. In particular, The Woodlark’s interior takes its cues from nature: an abundant source of inspiration in the region. Lush, mossy, velvet and natural wood tones complement oceanic blues and shiny metallic accents. Luxurious textiles, ornate brass, and lacquer finishes join salvaged woods and natural leathers to delineate a distinct material palette. Read the full article on our interiors and design website, aninteriormag.com.
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The Nature Conservancy turns to protected habitats and LEVER for its Portland headquarters

The Oregon Conservation Center (OCC) in Portland, Oregon has reopened a new 15,000 square foot nature-centered expansion and renovation courtesy of LEVER Architecture. A redevelopment project of The Nature’s Conservancy’s existing headquarters, the building better reflects the mission of the organization which acts to conserve nature for nature’s sake and to enrich human lives through conservation. The original, dull landscape and 1970’s-era building were not representative of the organization’s identity as a global nonprofit headquarters. The building’s exterior has been reenvisioned and entirely clad in a combination of materials vulnerable to weathering, such as a new steel rainscreen facade that will weather over time, Juniper siding, and Cedar decking both harvested from nonprofit’s conservation sites. With The Nature Conservancy’s commitment to sustainability, renovating the original, uninspired office building was important for the project. Targeting LEED Gold certification, the new rooftop photovoltaics produce 25 percent of its electrical supply and the use of efficient building systems and fixtures reduce electric consumption by a further 54 percent, and water consumption by 44 percent. In an effort to articulate The Nature Conservancy’s impactful work, LEVER's design reflects the ecology of the region with special attention to three of the organization’s protected habitats: the Rowena Plateau, the Cascade-Siskiyou region, and western hemlock and cedar forests. Managing partner of the renovation's developer, project^, Tom Cody, describes the project as an “ecological and innovative hub” with respect to reused and recycled materials, and landscape architecture firm Lando and Associates’ incorporation of Oregon’s indigenous plants. The new design values a connection to the region’s natural surroundings, offering visitors and staff a greater and more accessible bond to the outdoors. Central to the upgrade is a new, highly visible 2,000-square-foot building addition built with domestically-fabricated cross-laminated timber panels, the first of its kind built in the U.S. and certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The addition contains a community room and roof garden terrace, ideal spaces to hold gatherings and public events. Additional programmatic elements include open-plan layouts, meeting rooms of various sizes, staff cafe and lounge, and dedicated storage space for equipment used in the field. “The Oregon Conservation Center truly embodies the mission of sustainability, stewardship, and inspiration that we serve at The Nature Conservancy,” said Jim Desmond, Oregon state director at The Nature Conservancy. “Against this inspiring new backdrop, we can now better convene with partners in a highly collaborative environment featuring elements of our important work around Oregon.”
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Allied Works designs a stadium for “Soccer City, USA”

Portland, Oregon, has dubbed itself “Soccer City, USA,” and cultivated an ardent fan base for its two professional teams, the Timbers and the Thorns. Allied Works founding principal Brad Cloepfil is among those fans and has watched various iterations of the Timbers play since the mid-1970s. When he heard that the teams’ owners were investigating adding seats to Providence Park, their historic stadium, Cloepfil volunteered his firm to do a study. What followed was an exploration of how to design a stadium expansion in a tight urban space hemmed in by roads, utilities, buildings, and a light rail line. Where previous expansion studies had looked at the south side of the stadium, Allied Works focused on the east side and expanding upwards. The architects found a precedent in the raucous Estadio Alberto J. Armando in Buenos Aires, known as La Bombanera, where steep stands form a “U” around three sides of the pitch with a fourth flat side—a configuration the designers adapted in their new plan. Not being traditional stadium architects, they found another successful example of going vertical in London’s Globe Theatre, a venue whose stacked levels of outdoor seating manage to bring audiences close into the action below. From the outset, the project’s signature gesture was an arched canopy that sweeps from the edge of the existing seating on the lower level over three new tiers of seating. Fret-like trusses support a 117-foot cantilever and wrap back across the top of the building, transitioning into subtly modulated clusters of pipes as they extend down the facade and anchor to the sidewalk. “We looked at what would give it presence, knowing we weren’t going to make a solid, historicist, site-cast addition,” said Cloepfil. “We let the structure be the expression and had the tension pulled back to the street, which allowed the rest of the building to be quite simple.” With limited space between the field and the property line, and the need to get the right number of seats, the new levels of seating trays cantilever over the sidewalk, creating an airy, 25-foot-high street-level arcade behind the filigree of steel pipes. At each level, the architects “tuned” the angle of the seats to achieve the right slope and floor-to-floor heights to give visitors wide views of the pitch and accommodate the high-ball line. Providence Park is one of the oldest stadiums in Major League Soccer, and Allied Works wanted to respect that history. The stadium’s original 1925 master plan by prominent Portland architect A.E. Doyle and Morris Whitehouse proposed a classically styled facility. While the west and north sides hewed more or less to the architects’ design, the stands on the east side morphed over time, eventually becoming a partially covered, low-slung seating area. Allied Works’ design visually reinstates the more vertical east side stands envisioned by Doyle and Whitehouse. “It was a missing piece,” said Chelsea Grassinger, project lead at Allied Works, “and this was an opportunity to bring that back.”
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ZGF Architects designs choose-your-own-adventure office space in Portland

Expensify is an expense management software company, so it’s fitting that its newest office in Portland, Oregon, is set inside one of the city’s historic bank buildings. Located on the corner of Southwest 5th Avenue and Stark Street, the 103-year-old First National Bank, or the “marble temple,” does not look like the home of an emerging tech enterprise. But the San Francisco–based brand has outfitted the four-story atrium and other spaces to respond to its need for flexibility without compromising the integrity of the structure.

Designed by ZGF Architects, the office reflects Expensify’s self-described “choose-your-own-adventure” work setting. Employees have an array of seating options, from a 41-foot-long communal table to a plush swing set, a classy boardroom, and a speakeasy-style salon with leather booths by Restoration Hardware—all except for personal desks. This goal of creating a 100 percent agile workplace drove all design decisions both large and small, according to Alan Gerencer, principal of ZGF.

Expensify also wanted its office to be a place where employees could directly connect with each other and the national landmark building. Gerencer explained that the interior was completely shelled out when they began work. “It was bare concrete,” he said. “Our effort was to define this space and still respect what was existing.”

To do this, ZGF referenced both the obvious and minute details on the building’s exterior as well as its Art Deco, skylit interior. For example, the firm imagined a set of floating conference rooms immediately visible from the bank’s main entrance that resemble a tree house. Built with glass and blackened steel, the triad of windows on the boxy structures mirror the bank’s expansive vertical windows. Angular chandeliers from Nemo Lighting, reminiscent of the opulent hanging lamps found in old banks, gleam inside. Additionally, the oak flooring by Kährs and millwork used throughout the entire office pay homage to the patterns of oak leaves and acorns on the historic bank vault doors.

Even the oak wood–clad private booths on the third floor, designed for quiet work and conversation, feature a Scandinavian gabled roof design that’s defined with the exact shape and proportions of the classical X-shaped balustrades and grilles nearby. All of these varied work areas allow employees to interact with the historic space on many different levels.

Because Expensify is leasing the office space, ZGF laid out the interior architecture to “gently touch” its historic core. “This whole structure could essentially be removed,” Gerencer said, “and no one would ever know Expensify was there.”

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DLR Group’s Portland Building renovation will kill its historic status

An audit by the City of Portland, Oregon, has found that the DLR Group’s renovation of the Michael Graves–designed Portland Building is over budget and, once complete, will cause the building to lose its historic landmark status. The renovation began last year as an alternative to scrapping the postmodern Portland tower, which desperately needed waterproofing, seismic, and efficiency upgrades. The plan to overhaul the 360,000-square-foot building eventually ballooned to $195 million as DLR Group opted to reskin the tower with a unitized aluminum rainscreen designed to imitate the original facade. Because of budget constraints when the building was originally constructed in 1982, Michael Graves opted to support the building using a cheaper exterior concrete wall, but poor workmanship led to water infiltration issues. DLR Group will also replace the dark windows, value engineered in for insulation, with lighter insulated glass. However, according to the City of Portland’s audit of the renovation, a follow-up to an initial risk analysis report, the budget has increased to $214 million. It was also revealed that once the project is complete, the building will be removed from the National Register of Historic Places. According to the audit, “As a part of the local Historic Landmarks Commission reviews in June 2017, the National Parks Service and the State Historic Preservation Office alerted the City that it would remove the Portland Building from the register if the City pursued the proposed exterior design to address water leaks.” The city will have to enter into a “mitigation agreement” with the State Historic Preservation Office as well to offset the delisting, although what that entails is uncertain at this point. If the Portland Building is removed from the register as expected, the city will have the option of designating it a local landmark instead. The report notes that as the budget grew, the project team decided to scale back the renovation’s scope. While DLR Group is on track to meet the minimum waterproofing and seismic requirements, and to replace most of the building’s heating and cooling systems, several elements were eliminated from the original $195 million budget. The audit cites “furnishings, technology equipment, as well as tenant improvements for parts of the building that would otherwise be left unfinished—two and a half floors of offices, and the childcare center on the first floor” as having been “spun off” into separate projects, which accounts for the 10 percent cost increase over what was originally proposed. However, despite the fervor, Michael Graves Architecture is in favor of the changes. In a letter from 2017, the studio stood behind DLR Group's reskinning, nothing that several of their changes, including the decision to change the glass from black to clear, were part of the original design but were cut due to budgetary constraints. Work on the retrofit is currently ongoing and is expected to be completed sometime in 2019, six months ahead of schedule.
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Sidewalk Labs rolls out its mobile tracking services in Portland

Portland, Oregon, has partnered with Alphabet subsidiary Sidewalk Labs to roll out a new mobile data collection service, with the goal of tracking how people move through the city. Through Replica, Sidewalk Labs’ program that can aggregate de-identified location data from cellphones and turn it into a “digital map,” Portland will be able to more accurately track public transportation demand and the various ways in which people are getting around. According to GeekWire, the year-long pilot, which has been somewhat under the radar until this point, will cost the city of Portland $457,000. Replica works by first hoovering up de-identified location data from mobile apps, location data aggregators, and telecommunication companies, which sell location data. Using that information, combined with demographic data, Replica can create what Sidewalk Labs calls a “synthetic population” that can be used to model how real people move through any given area. The model is then calibrated against on-the-ground observations for accuracy. A new Replica model is generated every three months to show the impact of new policies and infrastructure on movement patterns. The use of Replica in Portland will be overseen by TriMet, the agency that operates mass transit in the Portland metropolitan area, the Portland’s Bureau of Transportation, and the Portland Metro. Portland’s City Council approved the use of Replica last December, but the program won’t be put in place until Sidewalk Labs provides a model derived from Replica in July that passes the bar set by all three agencies. The initial data aggregation for Replica has already begun, so that Sidewalk Labs can build its initial test population. If the Replica program is approved, the city hopes to use the data provided to measure the usage of bike lanes and public transportation, what impact for-hire vehicles are having on traffic congestion, what areas of the city are underserved transportation-wise, and what facilities are needed in public parks. Because Replica recreates commuting paths, the city would be able to track work commutes as well as where people gather during their free time, providing urban planners with an estimate of what’s actually being used. Replica has the added advantage of providing this information without the need to build surveillance cameras or take surveys, as smartphones are ubiquitous. Of course, privacy advocates have raised concerns over whether the data would truly be anonymous, and who would have access to it, concerns also raised over Sidewalk Labs’ Quayside development in Toronto. Portland has pledged that only the three aforementioned agencies would be able to use the information generated by Replica, but even they won’t have access to the entire dataset, only data returned via filtered queries. Sidewalk Labs is reportedly looking to test Replica in Kansas City and Chicago as well.