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Aneeda

Regarding your quote "It would provide shading in the summer and act as draining system to a series bioswale-like planters in the surface of the sidewalk—only the second building in Portland to do so after the Gerding Theater". I don't recall that the Gerding Theater does any such thing. The bioswales on the Gerding Theater handle overflow from the underground rainwater cistern and are hardly the first project in Portland to do that.

The rebar seems an unfortunate response to the value-engineering efforts. (I would love to see images of the original design) It seems whenever someone attempts to build a beautiful structure out of rebar it ends up looking like, well, rebar. Robert Irwin's planted pillars at the Getty come to mind. When neighborhood organizations start weighing in on that level of building detail, one can only cringe and hope for the best, though if anyone in town can pull it off I'm sure Holst will take their best shot.

ws

I'd also like to see images of the original molded screen proposal they sent you. Maybe, upon seeing them, some of us will conclude that they should have stuck to their original idea on this screen.

Rebar. Hm-m. The rustic, recycled concept is alright(as in the use of heavy chains hung from eaves to run rain off roofs), but sometimes it can go a little too far. Personally, one of the few things that doesn't appeal to me at Tanner Springs park is the use of railroad ties for that running wall near the boardwalk.

Bill

^ You're not a fan of rust, eh? Even so, Holst is probably going to be one of the experts in the material... particularly when the Clinton Condos are finished, with their 'weathered steel' (lol) cladding system.

ws

oops!...I meant to say "rails" for the running wall instead of "railroad ties".

Brian Libby

I have copies of the original design and was just waiting for permission from those involved to approve their publication. Also, I'm in Seattle now at a conference. But I can post them Wednesday or Thursday.

pdx2m2

I don't know much about this project although my impression is that the new AIA office seems underwhelming....Can someone help me understand the point in this location and design strategy? It may provide inexpense space although it looks way too suburban even if it isn't and way too pedestrian in character.

pdx2m2

I don't know much about this project although my impression is that the new AIA office seems underwhelming....Can someone help me understand the point in this location and design strategy? It may provide inexpense space although it looks way too suburban even if it isn't and way too pedestrian in character.

Convolooted

pdx2m2,

Isn't it wonderful how Brian provides links at the very beginning of his articles to provide additional background information on the topics?

Josiah Maddock

I would like to know how the Architect and design was selected for this project? As far as I know it was not by design competion, and if so why not? Why would the AIA not take this opportunity to bring competions, (and as follows, better design) to Portland?

Truth

Correct, the AIA didn't use a competition format, instead they opened up the design process to all interested parties, including several design & sustainability workshops. Committees were established to guide the project. I also believe that those workshops were fairly well advertised, including on this site.
Check the AIA wesbite in the first link of this article for Concept, Process, Funding etc...

Aneeda

I agree that the design seems underwhelming. Shouldn't the AIA open itself up to the public more? (I mean this literally...like Steven Holl's Storefront For Art and Achitecture) Where's the big move - the sense of ingenuity that separates architecture from the commonplace? What in this building will stop people in their tracks and help them understand better the power of architecture to transform the status quo of the cityscape? How has this building really been transformed beyond the beauty of its historic core? Architecture W should at least be commended for the inventive screens. Thanks for the photo updates.

Josiah


This 'design by committee' format that was used seems a poor choice. It seems likely this is a good way to end up with a piece-meal and washed out design without a strong central idea or the sense of ingenuity that Aneeda spoke eloquently of. I will withhold final judgment on the building until I see it completed, but if the process of creating the design is flawed, it is inevitable that the building too will be flawed.

ben

if i'm correct the current office was done by one person back in the 90's...perhaps there was a call to be more inclusive, for better or worse.

ws

Nobody has commented on the images of the original concept folded steel plate wall Brian talked about. From what I can tell from the pics he's added to the article, it looks good to me, and seems like it would at least be worth running past the neighborhood association. First, it might be nice if we were able to see a mock up of the wall treatment with rebar they aparrently are prepared to proceed with as a safe bet for approval, but beating the original concept with rebar looks like it will be a tough call.

That exterior view looks pretty good. That building generally seems rather modest. I don't know why they chose it, but figure it's because the AIA isn't exactly wealthy enough to get something more extraordinary. That doesn't bother me. I kind of like this sort of simple suburban looking building right smack downtown, and with that cool screen, the dreary look it has had for sometime would be a happily forgotten memory.

Brian Libby

I don't have any quarrel with the process at all. The AIA held two charrettes to generate ideas and articulate values about the project. Then, as I understand it, they chose an architect based in part on who had volunteered to be part of the charrettes.

The building choice was largely based on location, I believe. The gallery in the AIA's 4th Avenue location wasn't able to generate a lot of foot traffic, and so being in the heart of the Pearl District gallery area will invigorate the chapter's outreach.

The original brick building is pretty simple, but a nice little piece of the historic fabric. The architects seem to have focused largely on sustainable efforts, but that means bringing in lots of natural light and this garden wall, which, whether it's rebar or folded steel, figures to be a cool design element born out of function.

Somebody asked about the previous design. I believe that was a team effort, but I remember Jeff Lamb, now with Sienna Architecture, was one of the key designers. I worked in that space for two years, and while there were maintenance issues tied to the building that were frustrating, I always found that AIA space to be very nice and architecturally impressive.

But obviously, I'm a bit biased towards my old employer and current sponsor. I'm not saying this stuff because of that, merely giving full disclosure.

Convolooted

"I agree that the design seems underwhelming. Shouldn't the AIA open itself up to the public more? (I mean this literally...like Steven Holl's Storefront For Art and Achitecture)"

Aneeda,
I am not directly connected to the project, but I would venture a guess that one of the reasons that the design is somewhat tame is the fact that the building is chasing LEED platinum. Maintaining 95% of the existing walls, roof, envelope, and structure counts as MR Credit 1.2, and you have to grab every credit that you can while shooting for platinum.

Aneeda

I must say it would be disappointing to think we haven't gotten past a false choice between ecological sustainability and inspiring design. Surely we are clever enough to achieve both! And if in fact every LEED point is the issue, then we should all be wondering where the roof garden is. That, as I recall, is worth points in several categories.

Ibid.

So the AIA will be 'do as we say and not as we do' - brilliant.

So much for Architects leading with vision, when it comes to their own building it's apparently all about the money.

Bummer.

ben

^ leading with vision = spending money?

sounds like combining two design firms with different philosophies coupled with committees and charettes might lead toward a watered-down result driven by compromise, but i don't get your point about budget, ibid.

i'd be interested to hear from someone that participated in the process.

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