BY BRIAN LIBBY
Architects Without Borders-Oregon: A 10-Year Retrospective
Founded in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina and the Indian Ocean tsunami, Architects Without Borders-Oregon assists communities in need by providing design and planning services through a volunteer network of professionals and students. This 10-year retrospective, part of a month-long exhibit at the Center for Architecture that opens with a First Thursday party, tells the story of AWB's global impact, from East Africa to the Pacific Northwest. Projects on display in the center's gallery include schools, parks, and social service agencies. American Institute of Architects/Portland, Center For Architecture, 403 NW 11th Avenue. 5:30PM Thursday, July 2. Free.
Walking tour: historic homes of the Alphabet District
Northwest Portland’s Alphabet District owes its existence to John Couch, a sea captain and Oregon pioneer of the 19th century, along with his family, and in-laws who settled in NW Portland. Couch's land claim stretched from Burnside Avenue north for a mile between Northwest 23rd Avenue and the Willamette River. Today, development in the area includes everything from fairly modest homes to mansions – not to mention vibrant commercial areas. This is the first of two Architectural Heritage Center tours that will look at the historic homes that define a large portion of this National Register Historic District. Tour meets at southwest corner of NW 23rd Avenue and Lovejoy Street, 6PM Thursday, July 2. $20 ($12 for AHC members).
Walking tour: Skidmore-Old Town Historic District
Learn about some of the oldest buildings in the city and the people who built them in this Architectural Heritage Center tour of Portland’s only National Historic Landmark District. The area also contains the highest concentration of cast-iron fronted buildings on the west coast and much of that iron was even produced locally. Tour meets at Skidmore Fountain, SW First Avenue and Ankeny Street. 6PM Wednesday, July 8 and 6PM Wednesday, July 15. $20 ($12 for AHC members).
Walking tour: historic Sellwood
Before it was brought within Portland city limits in 1893, Sellwood was an independent, incorporated town. This Architectural Heritage Center tour takes you through a section of the original Sellwood tract where you’ll see a variety of houses and commercial buildings, some dating back to the town’s earliest days. Tour meets at Oaks Pioneer Church, 455 SE Spokane Street. 6PM Thursday, July 9. $209 ($12 for AHC members).
Watzek House tour
Perhaps the most architecturally significant house in Oregon, the Watzek House (now owned and operated by the University of Oregon's John Yeon Center) is only available for tours a few times each summer. But its architecture, and the story behind it, make this tour a special opportunity. The lumber baron Aubrey Watzek and an ambitious young designer, John Yeon, skied and climbed together. The older Watzek used his political connections to help Yeon stop a state road engineer from devastating Neahkahnie Mountain. And in in 1936, Watzek gave the 26-year-old Yeon, with no formal training, the architectural commission of his life. For Yeon, whose father died in 1928, Watzek served as inspiration, mentor, and patron. Yeon Center director Randy Gragg and Blue Sky Gallery director Todd Tubutis will a tour of the Watzek House, along with a look at vintage photographs of it published worldwide. Watzek House, 1061 SW Skyline Boulevard. 6PM Thursday, July 9. $30.
Energizing a Place: New Trends in Public Gardens
As part of the Leach Botanical Garden's 2015 Lecture Series, award winning landscape designer Richard Hartlage will discuss how public spaces such as the Highline in New York, City Garden in St. Louis and Millennium Park in Chicago are having a profound influence on public gardens. Public gardens, to attract visitors and be relevant to the community, are no longer simply plant collections for a small group of knowledge- able gardeners but need to be dynamic cultural institutions that appeal to a broad cross section of the community. Hartlage's innovative designs are renowned as emotive spaces that in- corporate sophisticated horticulture, artful detail- ing, and historical knowledge that heighten the human experience of the natural world. Pacific Northwest College of Art, 511 NW Broadway. 6PM Thursday, July 9. Free.
The Shire tour
Join the Yeon Center and its executive director, Randy Gragg, for a tour of The Shire, a stunning landscape in the Columbia Gorge designed by architect and conservationist, John Yeon. The 75-acre private reserve was sculpted by Yeon in the 1960s with groomed paths and captured views of Multnomah Falls. A captivating outdoor experience, The Shire draws on the great tradition of picturesque landscapes while anticipating 1970s-era earthworks. This storied spot was the place where the Friends of the Columbia Gorge was founded and capped Yeon’s six decades of activism preserving important Oregon landscapes. 12 and 3PM Saturday, July 11. $30.
Are you interested in a career in Architecture, Digital Arts, or Product Design? For one week each summer, the University of Oregon invites students to the White Stag Block for this unique camp experience. At Design Camp, one can engage in thoughtful creative conversations, hands-on design exercises, and field trips to meet professional architects and designers. University of Oregon, White Stag Block, 70 NW Couch Street. 9AM Monday-Friday, July 13-17. $800.
Story Hour: Invisible Design
Design Museum Portland’s Story Hour series offers the opportunity for designers to share tales of creativity and exploration, live and onstage. It begins with a theme and a group of storytellers, each story is unique, drawing from the tellers interpretation and experience. In the latest installment, storytellers will tackle the theme of "Invisible Design." On Deck Sports Bar and Grill, 910 NW 14th Avenue. 6PM Wednesday, July 15. Free.