Jackson Tower (photo by Brian Libby)
BY BRIAN LIBBY
Terra Cotta Downtown walking tour
As this Architectural Heritage Center tour will demonstrate, downtown Portland’s collection of terra cotta-clad buildings (including the Jackson Tower, pictured above) is one of the finest in the nation, exemplifying the popularity of this building material during the early decades of the 20th century. The concentration of these buildings, designed by the likes of architect AE Doyle, also shows us how, by 1910, the city’s central business district had moved west of Fourth Avenue. Tour meets at Pioneer Courthouse Square, on SW Broadway above the fountain. 11AM Sunday, May 17. $20 ($12 for AHC members).
Whimsical And Quirky: The Storybook Style
The end of the First World War brought about a time of nostalgia, lighthearted humor and rambunctious building creations, as home styles in the US began to reflect those of 17th and 18th century Western Europe, with an emphasis on specialty craftsmanship, theatrical flair, and abundant (and sometimes extraordinary) architectural features. Over time, the style evolved as architects and builders employed charming details and intimate scale in an effort to lighten the hardships of the Depression. Drawing on the work of architects such as AE Doyle and Wade Pipes, as well as numerous not-so-well-known Portland area home builders, this lecture by Leslie Hutchinson will explore how the Storybook style came to be so popular in Portland and elsewhere across the country. Architectural Heritage Center, 701 SE Grand Avenue. 10AM Saturday, May 16. $20 ($12 for AHC members).
PSU Masters of Architecture thesis presentations
Seventeen Portland State University Master of Architecture students present creative challenges to the status quo in their final thesis presentations. The culmination of their graduate study in architecture, the design thesis is developed over the course of the entire academic year by the individual student and represents the highest level of critical examination, imagination and design. Portland State University, Shattuck Hall, corner of SW Broadway and Hall Street. 9AM Monday-Tuesday, May 18-19. Free.
Roads, Ruts & Revenue
When bad roads and bottlenecks slow the flow of people and goods, it puts the brakes on our state's economy. A special guest panel will discuss the state of Oregon's road infrastructure and finding smart ways to fund critical maintenance. Panelists will include Representative Cliff Bentz, a Republican member of the House Committee on Transportation and Economic Development and the House Committee on Energy and Environment; Matt Garrett, director of the Oregon Department of Transportation; Craig Campbell, president of the Oregon Transportation Forum; and two members of The Oregonian's editorial board: editorial and commentary editor Erik Lukens, and associate editor Len Reed. University of Oregon, White Stag Block, 70 NW Couch Street. 6:30PM Monday, May 18. Free.
Reimagining Beauty: Creating Living Public Space
As part of its Spring Lecture Series, the University of Oregon's John Yeon Center presents this conversation between the center's director, Randy Gragg, and landscape designer Michael Singer. From intimate garden pavilions to major waste facilities and large-scale parks, Singer has applied his skills and ability to innovate space to scale of landscape and urban planning. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s Singer’s work opened new possibilities for outdoor and indoor sculpture and contributed to the definition of site-specific art and the reimagining of public places. From the 1990s to the present, his work has been instrumental in transforming public art, architecture, landscape, and planning projects into successful models for urban and ecological renewal. Singer has received numerous awards, including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. Portland Art Museum, Miller Ballroom, 1219 SW Park Avenue. 6:30PM Monday, May 18. Free.
Preservation Month Fair and Capitol tour
May is National Historic Preservation Month and for Oregon communities throughout the state it's an opportunity to reflect on significant places, artifacts, and collections that help tell the stories of our past as well as to recognize contributions that individuals and organizations have made to local preservation projects. Heritage Programs, a division of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, will host the fifth annual Preservation Month Fair at the State Capitol State Park in Salem. Community organizations from around the area and several state agencies will provide information about their efforts to help preserve Oregon's history. Nineteen participating organizations will highlight the history of their institutions and their local and statewide work to preserve important sites related to Oregon's historic events, persons, and places. As part of the event, the Oregon State Capitol will offer a free 30-minute tour of the building at 12:00 and 12:30, including a 121 step climb to see the "Oregon Pioneer," which stands atop the building, and t offering a spectacular view of the city and the surrounding area. Oregon State Capitol building grounds, Court Street, Salem. 11AM Thursday, May 20. Free.
Modernism And Beyond: The Architecture Of Downtown walking tour
Downtown Portland contains an abundance of post-World War II architecture by renowned architects and firms like Pietro Belluschi, Michael Graves, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. This Architectural Heritage Center tour explores the southern portion of the central business district. You’ll learn about the controversial as well as the award winners, the architects and firms that designed them, and the issues of the times that led to such dramatic changes to our built environment and skyline. Tour meets at the Salmon Springs Fountain at SW Naito Parkway and Salmon Street. 6PM Thursday, May 21. $20 ($12 for AHC members).
Southeast Quadrant Plan hearing
Portland's Bureau of Planning and Sustainability will present a draft of and invite feedback on its SE Quadrant Plan, which proposes to preserve the existing Central Eastside industrial sanctuary while expanding the definition of industrial employment and land while activating the new station areas around the Portland-Milwaukie MAX light rail line. Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, 1900 SW Fourth Avenue, Room 2500A. 3PM Tuesday, May 26. Free.
Architects Without Borders: Vernonia Health Center
At this monthly meeting of the Architects Without Borders Oregon chapter, Joan Jasper of Scott Edwards Architecture will discuss design and fundraising for a new public health clinic in Vernonia, Oregon that replaced a building damaged in the 2007 flood. Among the challenges of this project were complicated site conditions and truly finite funding. The Vernonia Health Center, which opened in October 2014, provides immunizations, family planning, primary care and other services while housing an office of Columbia County Mental Health. AIA Center for Architecture, 403 NW 11th Avenue. 6PM Wednesday, May 27. Free.
PDX Interior Designer Spotlight
As part of this ongoing series of discussions with top Portland interior designers, yours truly will be in conversation with award winning designer James Staicoff of Staicoff Design Company, whose portfolio includes Hotel Modera in Portland, the Hotel Murano in Tacoma, Barolo Ristorante in Seattle, and numerous private residences. Ceilume Ceiling Showroom, 1225 SE Grand Avenue. 6PM Thursday, May 28. Free.
King's Hill walking tour
Many of Portland’s most notable late 19th and early 20th century architects designed homes in the hilly King's Hill, a National Register Historic District, featured on this Architectural Heritage Center tour. The neighborhood is also known for its wonderful landscape architecture, serving as a gateway to Washington Park. Tour meets at the staircase near the entrance to Washington Park on SW Park Place. 6PM Thursday, May 28. $20 ($12 for AHC members).
Build Small, Live Large: Portland’s Accessory Dwelling Unit Tour
A tour for those interested in learning more about accessory dwelling units, and a chance to meet the homeowners, builders, and designers who built them. The event features a two-day, self-guided tour of 25 ADUs, with Saturday’s tour focused on Northeast Portland neighborhoods and Sunday’s tour devoted to Southeast Portland. There will also be ADU workshops and presentations by local experts. Friday evening workshop at Alberta Abbey, 126 NE Alberta Street. 6PM Friday, May 29. Tours 10AM Saturday-Sunday, May 30-31. $30-75.
Watzek House tour
Tour Portland’s only National Historic Landmark-listed residence, the Aubrey Watzek House, the 1937 Northwest regional modernist masterpiece by architect John Yeon. As Leland Roth writes in the Oregon Encyclopedia, the Watzek House "could be described as the most important early modern residence in Oregon. When a picture of the house was published by the Museum of Modern Art in New York in Art in Our Time (1939), and again in Built in USA: 1932-1944 (1944), the design helped define Modernism in architecture in the United States and earned its twenty-six-year-old designer, John Yeon, a national reputation." Watzek House, 1061 SW Skyline Boulevard. 1PM Saturday, May 30. $30.
Pearl District walking tour
Over the last 20 years, Portland's Pearl District has been transformed from an industrial area into one of the city's premier residential and retail districts. A century ago, the area went through a similar transformation, from a working class housing area at the edge of a marsh to the city’s biggest industrial and warehousing area. Many of Portland’s best known architects of the period designed buildings for important local and national companies. Most of these buildings remain, with their exteriors intact and new uses inside. Tour meets at the southeast corner of NW 10th Avenue and Johnson Street. 11AM Sunday, May 31. $20 ($12 for AHC members).