Thursday, August 30, 2007

This old open house

Oregon National Register spots that take advantage of tax freezes have to be open to the public -- the actual dirt-tracking, medicine-cabinet-spying, antique-loving public -- one day per year. And the state Parks & Rec department thoughtfully compiles a monthly calendar of open house events.

Up this weekend is the Sidney Ruddy House (1725 SE 16th Ave.) in Ladd's Addition, which is open Monday. Scheduled for September are the Herman Brookman-designed Alan and Barbara Goldsmith House, Kohn House, and the Whidden & Lewis-designed Wilcox House, as well as a handful of historic apartment buildings, among them Barcelona and Estelle Court.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Briefed 8.29

Thomas Hacker Architects is in negotiations to design a new library for Bellingham, Wash., the Bellingham Herald reports.

Callison is designing Vancouver Mall's transformation into a "lifestyle center," the Columbian reports. Because malls are places where teenagers buy Cinnabons, and lifestyle centers are places where yuppies buy vases and boots and food processors and barstools. Ah, marketing.

Cool story about deconstruction -- and Portland gets props -- in the L.A. Times.

The GBD Architects-designed Vancouver Columbian newspaper headquarters is tracking LEED gold, and Columbian publisher Scott Campbell cares about people AND the environment, the...Columbian...reports.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Briefed 8.27

Does designing a building for an anti-gay church make the architecture firm anti-gay? Discussion about Sienna Architecture's design work -- which appears as a backdrop in a Mercury photo -- for New Hope Church, which is working to overturn recently passed gay rights laws, is going on over at Metroblogging.

Ace Hotel's decor appeals to the well-styled manly man, the London Times reports. One who knows that "living in a skip limits one’s pulling capacity."

Sustainable homes aren't so accessible to regular, can't-afford-a-consultant folks, the Register-Guard reports.

Second opinions

TVA Architects and Walker Macy's second-effort designs for Saturday Market's move to Waterfront Park were much more well-receieved by the Historic Landmarks Commission than the team's first effort, which commissioners said looked like something that belonged at the airport.

The solution, designers said during their second advice session today, came after they started treating the sunscreens like simple park structures rather than full-on buildings. The result is a slim, flat, column-supported shade with cable-stayed detailing. More on this in Wednesday's DJC...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Briefed 8.23

Translations for Willamette Week's story on the University of Oregon move to Old Town: "attracted little attention" means at least one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight stories have been written since UO announced the move in January 2006. And "Moisan" is Ankrom.

The Portland Mercury's Scott Moore weighs in with the possibility of Hoyt Street Properties (and others) building a Pearl District School in exchange for more FAR. And Hoyt Street definitely needs the FAR.

Good neighbors

The U.S. Green Building Council has released the LEED for Neighborhood development pilot participants -- and there aren't as many Portland projects as I thought there'd be.

LEED-ND is, it seems, a gimme for a lot of Portland projects. As Green Building Services' Terry Miller told me last month, "If you do any infill development that has services that are walkable and has access to transportation, you will do well in LEED- ND." But when it came down to it, just five -- Ladd Tower, Hoyt Street's properties, the Eliot, Helensview, and the South Waterfront Central District -- signed on. (18 of the registered 238 projects asked to remain confidential.)

Hmmm. Maybe, as Helensview assistant project manager Devin Culbertson said, it's a case of "How much LEED do you need?"

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Briefed 8.22

West Seattlites are against the development of a PetCo that Gary Reddick and Sienna Architecture Co. are designing.

Interesting International Herald Tribune story about architecture design competitions, in which Thom Mayne points out that the GSA didn't make clear the hypothetical-ness of the site during the Eugene Courthouse competition, and therefore screwed over the design team. (I'm paraphrasing.)

I used to obsessively check the H&M website, hoping they'd board the internet commerce train and offer their cheap chic online. But, as ultra pdx says, with a Seattle store on the way, is Portland far behind? Potential bonus: Most of the Euro H&M's are in coolly renovated historic spaces. Hello, Galleria.

Is Wyatt developer Bob Ball running for mayor? Perhaps, Willamette Week reports.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Talking points

There's some really interesting video footage of Thomas Hacker talking about Atwater Place over at the sales site (11 clips, all under the "living on the river" tab at the top).

Yep, it's a marketing thing. And one that works...the makers of Atwater Place would actually have one million of my dollars now, could I figure out which Swiss Bank account it's in. (Basel, Berne, Basel, Berne?) But it's also an engaging look at a creator talking with verve about what he's created.

Let's have discourse

I love public meetings. They may be boring, and extended exercises in finding 50 ways to say the exact same thing, but they're also places where passionate people tend to say just about anything that pops into their head. Plus, you hear the concisest architectural opinions ("real ugly looking.")

Tonight's Debate Club (a Mercury-Bus Project forum aimed at making your mind giddyup) isn't exactly a public meeting. But the topic -- gentrification -- generates almost as much passion as, say, floor area ratio. I'm hoping neighborhood activists will actually be there, along with people who love a democracy-related excuse to drink whiskey on a Tuesday.

Panelists are Jill Fuglister of the Coalition for a Liveable Future, Rich Rogers of Erik Sten’s office, John Charles of the Cascade Policy Institute, and real estate agent Michelle Reeves. David Bragdon moderates.

Tonight. rontoms, 600 E. Burnside. 7 p.m.

And in another conversationally-related item, over at Oregon Live's Foster-Powell blog Linda Goertz wonders if the month Portland City Council has prescribed for neighbors and developers to agree on the SE 74th & Lafayette project is really long enough. Among the circulating suggestions for compromise: "Developer should disappear." That would indeed do it.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Three to judge PDX designs

Judges for the AIA/IIDA design awards 2007 proceedings are Wendell Burnette of Wendell Burnette Architects of Phoenix, Anne Fougeron of Fougeron Architects of San Francisco, and Bing Thom of Bing Thom Architects of Vancouver, B.C. (that's his work on Arena Stage in the image).

Timeline: Entry packets are available today. Submissions are due Sept. 24. The event is Oct. 12 at the Governor Hotel.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Down for the count

The Columbian is counting down to Clark County's best piece of architecture, as determined by five area architects, among them Kalina Kunert, Larry Wilson and Rob Barrantine. I'm assuming the other two panelists are Don Luthardt and Karl Johansson, who are quoted in the articles, but the paper doesn't explicitly say that or list the panelists (seriously, journalists). They're all on the AIA Vancouver board, though, so that makes sense.

The paper will reveal the panel's top choice on Sunday (the countdown hit number 3 today with Esther Short Park) as well as the top 10 favorites of Clark County residents. Revealed picks include Officers Row, Clark County Courthouse, and Clark County Public Service Center.

The suspense may strike me dead. Predictions?

The Academy was the top choice, and the paper (finally) i.d.s the panel properly.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

In with the in crowd

900 St. Clair, a 51-unit apartment building in Southwest Portland apparently designed in the aftermath of a ragingly-bad-yet-uninspired acid trip, sold to a local owner-manager for $3.4 million.

My favorite sentence from the Norris, Beggs & Simpson press release:

“The look and feel of 900 St. Clair is in keeping with the hipper, kind of Doug Fir crowd,” summarizes (NBS Associate Vice President Robert) Black, citing the cool 1960s design of a popular watering hole for the city’s most discerning and moneyed hipsters.

Rents at the building that aesthetics forgot currently start at $525 and $565 for studios and one-bedrooms and $1,000 for the two-bedroom "penthouses." New owners see a shot at getting market rents, and plan on pumping $250,000 more in improvements to the recently upgraded building. Later, undiscerning and poor hipsters.

Doll house

Adorable isn't a word I use to describe much architecture. Or cute. If I do, I'm being a jerk. But over at Metroblogging, dieselboi's got photos posted of a couple little, c-c-c-c-ute houses that are going up in North Portland.

Small houses. I'm for them. Even if they're cute. I've heard small houses are the new big house, and I like that, but I don't know if it's true or if I just want it to be true (I can think of so many things that seem true, like more people using recycled toilet paper and public transportation, until I look at what I and people I actually know are doing).

I'm in the up-and-coming homebuying supposedly eco-savvy generation. But, really, 70 percent of my friends live in way more space than they actually need. And the ones who don't spend a lot of time complaining about how they don't have enough "storage."

Maybe...maybe... little infill projects like these mark a switch. Or the start of something viable, livable, and right-next-door-for-peering-in-the-windows. I wonder what the storage situation is like.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Briefed 8.14

The O's Ryan Frank has a very loose concept of when time began, but nicely reports that UO, the Naitos, and others have whipped out the wet wipes in Old Town. Past DJC stories about the Old Town uplift are here and here.

Still-empty "sliver" park at Gerding Theatre waits on materials from China, the O's Marty Hughley reports.

Neil Goldschmidt is Moses, a piece in the Arizona Daily Star opines. Oh, and Portland is a good role model for Tucson. No Moses, but still ok.

ZGF is doing a massive mixed-use project in Denver.

Minus Andy Warhol

Eyes on the street: It's one of the most useful phrases a developer has. Instead of saying, "this project will add 100 people to your neighborhood, all of whom have a car, a silence-shattering stereo system, and a dog that will definitely shit on your lawn," developers point out that each of those 100 people has two eyes, and those two eyes will detect wrongdoing with laserlike efficiency.

This is good spin. I wonder if it's true. I hope it is, especially in the case of the Couch Park Apartments, which Opus Northwest is planning (and SERA's designing) for NW 19th Ave. directly across from the eastern edge of Couch Park.

I'm completely selfish with this. (I live in Northwest.) Couch Park has always seemed like a decent place to booze, score drugs, or get called a foxy mama, but I like a little less Studio 54 in my green spaces. Basically, I'm a drag.

It'd be cool, though, if the eyes on the street thing really works. Optometrists, unite. And rent from Opus.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Well, the odds were good

John Carroll has Ankrom Moisan working on designs for his 10th and Yamhill effort, which he's planning to go tall with. More on this in Monday's DJC...

Briefed 8.10

SeQuential Biofuels' Eugene filling station gets a nod from Architectural Record as a spot that's "using green design to make an architectural statement that their pit stops are as ecoconscious as their fuels."

A couple local projects have commissioned art, so says the Studio Art Direct blog. Among 'em are a Strand penthouse that Ankrom Moisan's doing.

Bermuda it ain't: North Portland triangle park gets an extreme makeover, the O reports.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Briefed 8.9

Bloggers doing the work for me:

Jetson Green calls Holst's 12.5 "extremely good looking"; 12.5 blushes, drops the lashes, and murmers, "you're not so bad yourself." As a side note, I recently noticed an ad for 12.5 in the back of Dwell.

Port's Jeff Jahn suggests an incentive program for developers who make space for cultural institutions in their projects, which seems like an idea that deserves a task force.

TVA and Wieden + Kennedy teamed up on sand building.

The street outside SERA's Old Town offices is, apparently, an attractive place to do drugs. SERA's offices, meanwhile, remain an attractive place to do architecture.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Swan song

John Yeon's Swan House is for sale for $1.575 million. This is the first time that the house -- and the four plummy West Hills acres it sits on -- has ever been on the market.

Briefed 8.6

John Carroll is taking another whack at redeveloping the "stinking mess" of a Smart Park on 10th and Yamhill, the O reports.

The Seattle P-I's art critic thinks Randy Gragg should look outside of Portland with Spaces.

ZGF designed a show-me-the-green hq for the EPA in Denver, but cost considerations let China's materials beat out Colorado's, the Rocky Mountain News says.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Modern is good for NoPo infill site, design commission says

The Portland Design Commission denied a neighbor's appeal of a modern, green, glass-and-stucco three-story triplex on North Vancouver Ave. during its meeting yesterday.

The full story will be in Monday's DJC, but commissioners basically said that though they understand the concerns, the design integrates nicely into the commercial-residential mix within that particular piece of Portland. Lloyd Lindley called the architecture "well orchestrated."

One thing about the meeting that struck me -- but I didn't include in Monday's article -- was the half-assed communication on both sides. The design team from William Kaven and developer Rich Anderson didn't meet with the neighborhood (Christopher Sahli, the Boise Neighborhood Association's land use co-chair said Daniel Kaven was a no-show for a presentation to the board). Kaven said he hadn't actually been on a meeting agenda, and the BNA board's concerns with the design were news to him.

Nobody was required to talk to anybody on this (a triplex isn't big enough to mandate a neighborhood meeting). But to try and develop a limit-pushing infill project in a neighborhood that's been known to kick up a little dust without having a public conversation trying to get past a drug-sniffing dog with a joint in your sock.

Briefed 8.3

The urban growth boundary is baby-friendly, the Sellwood Bee reports, as are baby slingshots. Er. Slings. Baby slings.

Mahlum Architects is designing a to-be-LEED-certified school in McMinville, the News-Register reports.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Briefed 8.1

The O reports that the Evergreen Airport project may be on its moribund-bed, but a new developer may bring it back from the tippy-slippy edge of total moribundity.

Amanda Fritz hears that the main post office could move from Northwest Portland to 82nd Ave., freeing up prime land for something other than postage.

The top ten green building blogs, as named by sustainablog Jetson Green...the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's green pro-written Building Seattle Green is among 'em.