BY BRIAN LIBBY
This post marks the beginning of a new Portland Architecture continuing series, in which from time to time we will round up recent awards and honors bestowed upon the local design community.
First up is Portland firm SRG Partnership, which received a Special Mention for Sustainability in R&D Magazine’s 46th annual international Laboratory of the Year competition. Completed in 2011, the 60,000 square-foot, three-story facility is designed to achieve LEED Gold certification from the US Green Building Council.
Laboratories are some of architecture's biggest energy hogs, with heavy-duty ventilation systems and energy use, but the Riverside project is predicted to use 60 percent less energy then a facility designed to code, which also will save $500,000 per year in operational costs. The space is also full of natural light and natural materials like wood, both of which also are missing from most labs. Back when SRG won a merit award from AIA/Portland last fall for the lab, the jury called the project, "a strong concept that pulls from projects such as the Salk Institute," referring to Louis Kahn's masterpiece in La Jolla, California.
Meanwhile, Portland architect Hal Ayotte of Fletcher Farr Ayotte is the recipient of the University of Oregon’s 2012 George McMath Award. The awards ceremony will take place Wednesday, May 30 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the UO in Portland White Stag Block at 70 NW Couch Street. Proceeds from ticket sales to the award luncheon ($50) will benefit financial aid programs for the university’s historic preservation students.
Ayotte's 40 years of professional practice include numerous renovations of historic landmarks, especially the National Park Service to the Oregon University System. Ayotte oversa projects like the reconstruction of Crater Lake Lodge, for example, winner of numerous local and regional American Institute of Architects design awards, as well as Mount Rainier National Park’s Paradise Inn, Multnomah Falls Lodge in the Columbia Corge, the Salem Passenger Rail Depot; the Marcus Whitman Hotel in Walla Walla, the State of Oregon Library in Salem, and the White Stag Block in Portland for the University of Oregon.
Also honored recently was Soderstrom Architects. The firm's design of the University of Portland bell tower received the Masonry & Ceramic Tile Institute’s Hammurabi Award for excellence in masonry. The Bell Tower, which sits beside a Pietro Belluschi-designed chuch, was designed by Dan Danielson of Soderstrom.
“The jury found the level of craftsmanship to be outstanding,” wrote Randy Nishimura, one of three jurors for the Hammurabi Awards. “The integration of brick and precast concrete elements, and the application of the Flemish bond patterning are particularly successful. The texture, coursing, and brick patterns all complement one another in the service of creating a unified whole. The result is a complete, finished little jewel.”
The award was announced at a luncheon at Portland’s Governor Hotel on Thursday, March 1, 2012. Franz Hall, also designed by Soderstrom Architects, also received Hammurabi Award in 1997. The Bell Tower, dedicated in 2009, is the realization of a longtime vision by University benefactors and administrators to both showcase the University’s Catholic character and serve as a landmark symbol for the campus community.
In sustainability news, this year's BetterBricks Awards, honoring the region's innovative designers, builders and clients achieving high degrees of sustainability and energy efficiency, included an award in the Design-Engineer category for PAE Consulting Engineers' Steve Reidy, who had an inspiring message about how occupant comfort is an essential part of good design.
"We spend a lot of our lives as engineers – I do – talking about building metrics, building performance, goals," Reidy said. "But really the thing that inspires me is kind of maybe a little different as an engineer. I’m looking for, and I really excited about how a building feels. And everybody in this room will sit and say, ‘What does that mean?’ And it means something different for every person. Some person may think lighting is important, or space comfort. I spend a lot of time talking about temperature. It may be the size and shape of the room, it may be the architecture of the space, maybe the finishes and how a space looks. But the most important thing is, when you’re in a space that performs, when your project performs and you have occupants that go in there and say, ‘This space feels great,’ that’s when I’m inspired. That’s when I really feel that I’ve done the work I was meant to do, which is to bring those buildings forward and to put the occupants into those buildings. I think at that point they feel ignited. And I’m really excited when I go to my clients and feel that. That’s my excitement."
And finally tonight, Portland architect, Brian Cavanaugh has received a 2012 Young Architects Award from the American Institute of Architects. The award is given to individuals who have shown exceptional leadership and made significant contributions to the profession in an early stage of their architectural career. Most recently, his firm, Architecture Building Culture, received a 2011 AIA/Portland Design Award for the interior renovation of the Lubavitch Foundation of British Columbia headquarters in Vancouver.
“Brian possesses a sophisticated and creative mind coupled with a deep commitment to furthering the profession’s role in building rich and propelling communities through design excellence, advocacy, and proactive leadership,” the jury wrote in its comments for the Young Architects Award.