BY BRIAN LIBBY
Moderate Modernist: The Life and Work of Architect Ellis F. Lawrence
Ellis Fuller Lawrence (1879-1946) came to Portland in 1906 and designed over 500 buildings in his nearly forty-year career. The Ellis Lawrence House (1906) in Irvington is considered one of the first Arts and Crafts residences in Portland. However, as Eric Wheeler's lecture will explore, Lawrence’s architectural palette was quite eclectic, ranging from the formal and historical to the picturesque and modern. Many of his designs display a surprising juxtaposition of the traditional and modern, especially his institutional buildings such as the Albina Branch Library (1912) and the Riverview Cemetery Caretaker's House (1914). Perhaps Lawrence’s most significant contribution to regional architecture was as founder and first dean of the School of Architecture and Allied Arts at the University of Oregon. During his lengthy tenure, Lawrence designed more than two dozen campus buildings while also helping to mentor a new generation of architects in the less formalized approach of the Modern movement. Architectural Heritage Center, 701 SE Grand Avenue, 503-231-7264. 10AM Saturday, March 15. $20 ($12 for AHC members).
John Yeon's VIC Tour
The Visitors Information Center in Portland is John Yeon’s only non-residential building still in existence. Yeon, one of Oregon’s most famous architects, is known as a pioneer of the Northwest regional style of architecture. His Information Center, which the local Docomo chapter is leading a tour through, was included as one of only 43 buildings in the Museum of Modern Art’s prestigious 1953 “Built in America: Post-War Architecture” exhibit, along with works by Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Gropius, Philip Johnson, and Richard Neutra. Yeon was decidedly unorthodox both in his approach to design and in his training and career. His deep love for the landscapes of the Pacific Northwest inspired his multi-disciplinary style of design, where the outside views were carefully framed in an orchestrated series of experiences. The Visitors Information Center shows Yeon’s innovative design approach in its response to its site conditions, in its wall systems and materials, and in its landscaping. The building is widely considered to be one of John Yeon’s finest works. Rose Festival Center, 1020 SW Natio Parkway. 4:30PM Tuesday, March 18. $10 ($5 for Docomomo members).
In the Shadow of a Concrete Forest: The Mt. Hood Freeway Story
In 1974, a judge's ruling put a halt to further development of the proposed Mt. Hood Freeway, a roadway that for nearly 20 years most people had assumed would be constructed. The story of the once-planned but never constructed Mount Hood Freeway, presented here by the Architectural Heritage Center's Val Ballestrem, has attained legendary status as a tale of grass-roots efforts, by citizen activists, to preserve their Portland neighborhoods. It is also the story of how a handful of political leaders utilized their power, along with changes in federal transportation and environmental policies, to move a Pacific Northwest city away from complete automobile dependence and toward burgeoning alternatives in mass transit. Architectural Heritage Center, 701 SE Grand Avenue, 503-231-7264. 10AM Saturday, March 22. $20 ($12 for AHC members).
Earthquake Resilience Planning
Studies estimate that under current conditions Oregon’s next great earthquake and resulting tsunami will cause 1,250 to 10,000 deaths, damage or destroy tens of thousands of buildings, and cripple essential services such as transportation and utilities for months or years. What can be done now to reduce damage and shorten recovery time from such an event? At Architects Without Borders’ next general meeting, Jay Raskin, will present the Oregon Resilience Plan, which outlines the state’s findings and recommendations regarding a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake. Raskin, a leading advocate for disaster preparedness and recovery planning, will provide an overview of the plan and talk about opportunities for involvement in planning and recovery efforts. Architects Without Borders-Oregon, AIA Center for Architecture, 403 NW 11th Ave. (Enter on NW Flanders.) 6PM, Wednesday, March 26. Free.
Passive House NW Annual Conference
Passive House Northwest's fifth annual spring conference will include industry experts, builders, architects and vendors to convene and collaborate on strategies that continue to break through market barriers, rooting Passive House Buildings in the vernacular of the bioregion, delivering predictable efficiencies, comfort and promoting independence from increasingly volatile energy supply. Opening keynote speaker Nick Grant will define the principals of elemental solutions. The remaining program will feature key industry specialists delivering perspective based on experiential problem solving. Ambridge Event Center, 1333 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. 8AM Friday, March 28. $150 ($100 for PHNW members).
Whimsical and Quirky: the Storybook Style
The end of World War I brought about a time of nostalgia, lighthearted humor, and rambunctious building creations, when American home styles began to reflect those of 17th and 18th century Europe, with an emphasis on specialty craftsmanship, theatrical flair, and abundant (and sometimes extraordinary) architectural features. Drawing on the work of architects such as A.E. Doyle and Wade Pipes, as well as numerous not-so-well-known Portland area home builders, Leslie Hutchinson and Barbara Fisher will share the story of the Storybook Style, and how it came to be so popular in Portland and elsewhere across the country. Architectural Heritage Center, 701 SE Grand Avenue, 503-231-7264. 10AM Saturday, March 29. $20 ($12 for AHC members).
Portland Modern Home Tour
Curated by Portland Architecture, this year's edition of the annual Portland Modern Home Tour features a blend of nine contemporary and midcentury-modern homes, including: the Skyline Residence by Skylab Architecture, the Tower House by Ben Waechter, the Sawyer's Row apartments by Holst Architecture, the Irvington Residence by DAO Architecture, restored houses by Robert Rummer and Warren Webber, and the Dominic Residience by GSB Design, among others. 11AM Saturday, March 29. $30 online in advance, $40 day of tour.