The renovation of Shattuck Hall at Portland State University by SRG Partnership and the bSIDE6 mixed-use building by Works Partnership Architecture (pictured at left in a shot by Stephen Miller) walked away with the two Honor Awards (the highest prize given out) at last Saturday's Design Awards Gala honoring the best architectural design of the year.
It's not a surprise that bSIDE6 won. Although it's only the first built project by Works Partnership to be new from the ground up (versus a renovation), the firm has established an incredible track record when it comes to these AIA/Portland design awards, having won an award for 11 of the 12 projects they have submitted in the last five years. (The project team for bSIDE6 was Bill Neburka, Carrie Schilling and Jennifer Dzienis.)
What's more, bSIDE6 is a bold-looking, unabashedly modern building that harkens to the East Burnside vernacular of building arcades that shelter the sidewalks outside while pushing the envelope of how sculptural and three-dimensional a building facade can be.
As Amara Holstein wrote of bSIDE6 in Portland Monthly, the building's "seven stories of work studios and retail space that seem to float above the street in a Tetris-like façade....With ribbons of dark-gray metal playing hide-and-seek with sleek glass, the structure mixes sexy and stern like no other building in the city. Yet Works Partnership’s bold, column-free reinterpretation of the lower East Burnside tradition of covered sidewalks nestles the building like a puzzle piece into the street’s ramshackle collection of bars, vintage retailers, and coffee shops as seamlessly as the new Ziba headquarters does in the far tonier Pearl."
Shattuck (pictured above) is now home to PSU's architecture department, and with SRG's help the circa-1915 red brick former elementary school was transformed into a more dynamic interior environment with an open plan, naturally-lit studios, a rooftop gallery, and an extensive materials lab encompassing model-making, woodworking, metalworking, and casting shop. In addition to the Honor Award, Shattuck's redesign also won the Sustainability Award, which is no small achievement in a city whose architecture community is all about sustainability.
That Shattuck Hall won the top Honor Award was a little surprising, at least to me, but there's no doubt the design work, by a project team that included principal Kent Duffy as well as Skip Stanaway, Louise Foster, Jon Mehlschau, Eric Wilson, Nita Posada, Emily Dawson and Kendall Harris, was first rate.
Besides the two Honor Awards, seven projects received the second-tier Merit Award:
- The Park Box in Portland (pictured at right), a duplex home by PATH Architecture (this project also won the night's only Craftsmanship Award). I previously wrote about the Park Box for Dwell magazine when it was part of the 11xDesign Tour last spring, although at the time it was under construction. Designer Corey Martin of PATH and his family are the residents.
- The Cyan Building, also in Portland, in a joint venture by THA Architecture and GBD Architects. This is a condo project meant to appeal to a more modest income level than the higher-end condos Gerding Edlen (the developer for Cyan) has built in the past. I visited and wrote a blog post about the Cyan a few months ago. Besides its strong sustainability quotient, I was also a fan of the project's undulating facade.
- The Portland Mall Revitalization by ZGF Architects (also pictured at right). Most of us are still getting our feet wet experiencing the new MAX light rail line traversing Fifth and Sixth Avenues downtown, but the jury, headed by acclaimed Phoenix architect Will Bruder (now a visiting professor at Portland State), was very fond of how the new rail extension and its stops interact with the array of buses, cars and pedestrian all around. Besides Bruder, of Will Bruder + Partners in Phoenix, the jury included Mark Cavagnero of Mark Cavagnero Associates in San Francisco and Brigitte Shim of Shim-Sutcliffe Architects in Toronto.)
- The Reserve in Portland by Hennebery Eddy Architects (pictured at right). No, it's not the local golf course of the same name. The Reserve is a renovation of the striking trapezoid-shaped Federal Reserve bank just south of Burnside in downtown Portland, designed by legendary Portland architect Pietro Belluschi and completed in 1949. It's great to see an under-appreciated Belluschi work be given new life. And in going from a security-conscious bank to a mixed use program, the project has brought in lots more natural light.
- The Academic Instructional Center in Bellingham, Washington in a joint venture between Opsis Architecture (the design architect) and NAC Architecture of Seattle.
- Thurston Elementary School in Springfield, Oregon by Mahlum Architects. Incidentally, the jury for this year's awards did not supply AIA with comments about the awards (tisk tisk, gang), but when this same project was honored by the Southwest Oregon AIA chapter, the jury noted how Thurston's design was "distilled, simple, not overly structured" and "a wonderful plan that keys outdoor spaces with indoor ones." Mahlum has made its name largely with a host of similarly sustainable K-12 schools and college buildings; they've got this down.
- The Tempe Transportation Center in Tempe, Arizona, in a joint venture by Otak and Architekton. This a mixed-use transit center designed to accommodate the region’s increased business needs while integrating with its new multimodal transportation opportunities. The project is expected to earn LEED-Platinum certification.
Citation Awards, the next-tier prize, went to two projects:
- The Nines hotel by SERA Architects, a renovation of the historic Meier & Frank building along the north edge of Pioneer Courthouse Square that was originally designed by the great Portland architect A.E. Doyle.
- Shaver Green by DECA Architecture. DECA also won a design award last year, and it wasn't their first.
There were also both Merit and Citation awards given out to four unbuilt projects:
- A Merit for the TriMet South Terminus by Hennebery Eddy Architects
- A Merit for the Muslim Community Center of Portland, by Architecture Office. I met with Garrett Martin and the rest of this firm a few weeks ago to learn about this project (a separate post is forthcoming soon) and was hugely impressed.
- A Citation for an as-yet unnamed workforce housing project designed by Works Partnership and co-developed by Randy Rapaport, the latter of whom previously worked with Holst Architecture to build the award winning Belmont Street Lofts and Clinton Condominiums. Like the Muslim center, I recently met with the architects to learn more about this project and plan to blog about it soon. This isn't just an impressive design, but outright reinvents affordable housing in Portland and the United States both from a design standpoint as well as an economic one.
- A Citation for TandemDUO, a duplex house by Works Partnership
The People's Choice Award went to the Paradise Visitors Center within Mount Rainier National Park, designed by Fletcher Farr Ayotte.
And the Mayor's Award for Design Excellence, given out since the late 1990s when it was initiated by Mayor Vera Katz as part of her Mayor's Design Initiative (something I'd like to see rekindled), went to the Williams Five Condos by PATH Architecture. I wrote about the Williams Five in a blog post a few months ago. It's an excellent work of infill multifamily housing, one that PATH also co-developed.
So if you're playing along at home, that makes it three total awards this year for Works Partnership, including an Honor Award. Works also won two awards at last year's AIA ceremony. Also picking up three was PATH Architecture, although two awards were for the same project. Not far behind is Hennebery Eddy with two awards.One other award to announce: Remember the Root Awards that Portland Spaces magazine gave out last November? Well, those aren't happening this year. But Spaces and Portland Monthly editor Randy Gragg did give out at the AIA ceremony on Saturday the same lifetime achievement award that came out of the Root Awards last year. It went to Saul Zaik, one of the city's last great remaining midcentury-modern architects. Some of Zaik's houses, as you can see from a story I wrote earlier this year about the architect for Portland Modern, are sublime. Kudos to Randy and the magazine for recognizing him.