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I worked on this building from its beginning, through schematics, documenting it, and currently administering parts of its construction.

I'm interested in the idea that buildings should have pizzazz--particularly from the exterior. That a building should be beautiful, detailed and crafted well, seems obvious enough; but needing pizzazz? I don't find that nearly as intuitive, but am open to hearing why pizzazz is a positive or even desirable quality; not necessarily relating to this building but in general. I'm curious about other's point of view on this topic. Anybody?


"Pizzazz" was a lazy choice of word. I meant that the building doesn't seem visually extraordinary when I look at the renderings. But I don't expect every building to aspire to that. And I very much respect the fact that the look of this building is determined by its functions. It's an honest piece of architecture, and especially given its extraordinary sustainability, that's more than enough. But I still think it's fair for me to say that it's not, in the purely artistic sense, beautiful to my eyes.


I honestly find it an interesting question to think through. My post may have come across as accusatory or even defensive. I intended neither. And I think your opinion is a fair and valid one, just different from my own. My curiosity about--lets call it "noticeable" architecture--stems from my personal experiences. Seldom have my lasting experiences come from extraordinary exteriors. Examples would be Zumthors bath house in Vals, Piano's sculpture garden and museum in Dallas, Kahn's Kimball Art Museum, Barragan's own house in Mexico City--all understated from the street. Closer to home, the most attractive architecture (again, for me) resides within. I find W+K to be extraordinarily beautiful, but takes the lowest of profiles, as do the Portland Art Museum (at least it did), Hacker's Libraries, Aalto's little gem in Mt. Angel, our Central Library.


Fair enough. Good points one and all, which also reminds me that no building can really be judged until you've not only seen it in person, but also walked through it.

the crow

a building to have pizzazz even by just the spelling and look of the word - it must sizzle, it must tingle the senses. at first such an application to architecture is just asking to date it. Disco, or better yet Salsa has pizzazz, but does pizzazz address the sublime, or the quality found in a simple idea manifested in form? it is an interesting question, because it accusses that architecture has to be reverent for its own purpose. it has to stand and be seen. i don't think in the end the OHSU project will be a backdrop building, because it lacks pizzazz. a canvas is being drawn in SOWA, and there will be room for pizzazz. unfortunate that others do not have an opinion on this syntax. maybe green architecture which responds is unconfrontational, maybe that is part of the essence of sustainable architecture? the building is a machine, and in the heart beyond the renderings is an edifice which is expressive - maybe not zippy, or turned up collar architecture, but honest and simple - in the end the simple things are at times the most complex and the most difficult to create and the pizzazz is found within?


My understanding of the area was that the architecture would be "different" from other areas of the city. The problem with this building is that it fits better with the Pearl then it does with the image of what SOWA was suppose to be. Siding and Glass may end up being different then the pearl look when finished, but its basic form is still your typical Slab building. As one of the first projects to be built it is setting the standard for the area. Is the slab design the standard? Or the more elegant slim design of the John Ross and Meriwether?

the crow

it is a quasi-office building, while the meriwether and john ross are residential - giving it different interior demands. it would be nice to see more slender buildings in the area, but i still think this building, the materials and profile will make it stand apart from the tripartite concrete/brick/metal that we see in the pearl. maybe when ohsu builds a research facility we will see a little more expression with the form. research buildings across the country have a tendency to be more expensive and more about the social quality of the inside which usually finds itself in the form in the end.

the crow

keep your eye on this project - i think renderings "photo-realistic" quality may over or under-sell a building and its impact and contribution to the city. wait and see and then decide whether it requires pizzazz.

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