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I think you might be misreading Mayor Potter's choice. It is in an area with little "architecture" and is a popular addition to the neighborhood. Maybe it was simply a shrewd political move. But its also entirely possible that for him it overtly embodies a sense of community pride that he preaches about and, who knows, he could honestly like the building--I do. Of course, its hard to say what Vera would have chosen this year, but 3 years ago (2002) she gave Brewery Block 1 the Mayor's Award. Block 1 has a lot of things (cooling towers for the brewery block complex, exposed structural framing, a nod to historic preservation) but its most salient and identifying aspect is Whole Foods--a grocery store.


Augustin, I'm sure the mayor honestly does like the New Seasons building. And I completely agree it seems like a symbolic move - that's precisely what I was saying. Although it's a very nice project, the fact that it makes such a perfect tie-in to Mr. Potter's community-building and "visioning" is precisely what wrangled me a bit. It didn't seem as much like an architectural decision as I would have liked it to be. But I'll be the first to admit I may be acting too puritanical about it.

The mayor is obviously free to select whichever project he feels fit for the award, and he is not bound to any particular way of reasoning when he makes that choice. And maybe I'm just too biased towards architecture with a capital 'A'. But, based on what I've seen so far in Potter's admittedly short tenure, and had confirmed in my mind with this year's Mayor's Design Award recipient, I think Vera Katz seems to have been more sophisticated in her appreciation of architecture.

Yes, as you say, Katz also chose for the award a building that included a grocery store. But as one of the Brewery Blocks, it was a much higher-density mixed-use building, which is a far more complex building program (especially when you figure in the underground parking) than -- however good it may be -- a single-story grocery store with a surface parking lot.

Besides, another year Katz chose Allied Works' 2281 Glisan building. Now that was a great choice.

Again, though, that New Seasons of Richard Brown's is terrific.

And I still think overall Tom Potter is doing a good job as mayor. I just hope he will come to think of design beyond the other, however-noble mantras he preaches of community consensus.


Wow. I am shocked and bewildered that the Holst project did not win an award. The project's sophisticated facade is amazing - especially for a project built in Portland. Who was on the jury?

Thanks for the tip on Works Partnership - I think it's particularly exciting to see a new architecture firm with what looks like a very serious interest in urbanism as well.


This year's Jury included Bruce Fowle, FAIA of NYC (I'm not sure if this will hyperlink, but his website is http://www.fxfowle.com/ ); Eddie Jones, AIA of Phoenix ( http://www.jonesstudioinc.com/ ); and Randall Stout, FAIA of Los Angeles ( http://www.stoutarc.com/ ).

From an AIA staff perspective, it's always interesting to see how much a jury's design sensibilities and social dynamics will vary from one year to the next. I've seen numerous projects leave one jury unmoved and then be resubmitted the next year and receive the highest awards (and then of course that can go both ways).

Neither here nor there, but as an inner-eastsider it was nice to see so many projects from my 'hood recognized this year...


Maybe it's just me, but I find it incredibly odd that the Portland AIA web site lists the name of the award, the name of the project, BUT NOT THE NAME OF THE ARCHITECTURE FIRM WHO DESIGNED IT! Just plain wierd.


Click on the title (it changes color when you run your cursor over it) and an info page opens that lists firm, contractor, owner, etc. I'll try and add the firm field to the main menu bar if it doesn't require dropping the point size any further.


Aahhhh. Thanks Stuart!

Jimmy G

You forgot to mention the Bear Wallows Pavillion in Bend, which won the Craftmanship Award from Bolighus Architecture.

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