The American Institute of Architects’ Committee on the Environment (COTE) has announced its prestigious annual Top Ten projects list for 2005. And two projects with Portland ties made the list.
For the first time ever, the list included not a building project but a sustainable urban design plan: Lloyd Crossing. Designed by Mithun Architects of Seattle, the plan is intended to transform a 35-block area in the Lloyd District into a mixed-use green neighborhood with a five-fold increase in density by 2050 while reducing carbon dioxide and water usage to pre-development levels, when the site was actually a forest. Pretty amazing targets, huh? Funny that Lloyd Crossing seemed to be nominated for pretty much every BEST Award a couple weeks ago and came up empty-handed, yet they still won the big AIA/COTE prize.
2050 is still 45 years away, but I hope the Lloyd District can grow denser a lot sooner than that. All those surface parking lots are a real blight. It’s been a shame to see good projects like Jeff Lamb’s Cascadian Condominiums unable to get off the ground there. Lloyd desperately needs more housing.
Although usually I try to favor Portland firms whenever possible, I have to say: Mithun is an excellent firm and I would be very happy to see them do more work in the city. Locally they’ve already designed the Belmont Dairy (GBD was the architect of record), Stephen Epler Hall at Portland State, a master plan for New Columbia, and some in-progress work at Concordia College. (I’m also hopelessly addicted to one small feature on their website: When you move your mouse over the firm’s logo, this weird female robotic voice says “Mithun” as many times as you desire.)
Another COTE Top Ten listing went to a new building at Evergreen State College in Olympia by Mahlum Architects, which has offices in both Seattle and Portland. The firm seems to have done a lot of work locally in Portland’s suburbs, particularly schools in Hillsboro, Beaverton and Forest Grove. They also did the Dr. Martens USA headquarters here in town, the photos of which look pretty cool. And Mahlum has been responsible for student housing at Portland State, Reed and Lewis & Clark. This is as best I can tell a pretty huge service firm, but one capable of nimble design and, obviously, a commitment to sustainability.
Congratulations to both firms.