Last October the little-known 1310 Condominiums by Brett Crawford and Dana Ing Crawford won the Honor Award at this year’s AIA/Portland design awards. The Honor is the top prize, one of two given out along with Allied Works’ Booker T. Washington High School in Dallas. The 1310 project, which has five units total (four with one bedroom apiece at 590 square feet and one two-bedroom unit at 930 square feet), also won the AIA’s Sustainability Award. (AIA/Portland is also a sponsor of this site.)
Not long after the awards, I made the short walk across Hawthorne Boulevard to have a look, and have since been back several times.
On the first visit, Brett Crawford was there to meet me. Although I’ve never heard his name bandied about much, he has a stellar resume that includes significant time at Thomas Hacker Architects (now THA Architecture), Opsis Architecture and Works Partnership: all very much upper-echelon local firms in terms of design talent.
Crawford used the phrase “builderly modern” to describe what he and wife Dana were going for. They were looking for “a box,’ a simple rectangular building that they could redesign and convert into condos, acting as architect, developer and even general contractor. They found it in a circa-1969 condo building on SE 14th Avenue just north of Hawthorne.
The most notable thing about the renovated project is the rain-screen and sun screens covering the façade. If you were photographing 1310, the money shot would definitely be the front, where there is a compellingly detailed array of sun screens and stairs to access the different units. It’s almost like fire escape as working sculpture.
That said, before and even immediately after first seeing 1310, it initially seemed possible in my mind that, while no doubt an impressive project in its aesthetics, its do-it-yourself spirit of architect as developer, and its admirably sustainable qualities, I had the nagging sensation of skepticism over 1310 winning the very top prize. Was it really better than any other project built in the city in 2008? Even Crawford was shocked when 1310 won. "You could have knocked me over with a feather," he told the Daily Journal of Commerce shortly after winning the Honor Award.