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Lamb also stressed to me that this building, and all his current work, is designed from the inside out. "I'm not the shell boy I used to be," he said.

It's curious, then, that the two images we can see are of the exterior shell. Can you please post some of this interior design?


i agree with agustin - if this building isn't about the shell, then let's see some renderings that either:

1. connect the inside and outside

2. aren't a fetishisized, context-less object


you missed a bounce, he worked at boora before sienna then boora then back to sienna. i think this building looks ALOT like the Holst work, the ribbon on the exterior is as Ann put it very much a fetish. i do not see where this building is anything but about the shell.
quote: "...simplicity of form and undulating, complex angles."
This must be a reference to the inside, because all i see is series of 90 degree turns... nothing really complex, and "simplicity" would be a compliment.
not crazy about the building, but i am interested in the prefab component - the where and how.

Kai Jones

Um? If that's going in the space I think it's going in, it's not a very good design for a south- and west-facing building. No overhangs!


it is interesting that there was an earlier post that has since been removed...censored! it spoke to the character of the designer elevated by the original post. maybe the post was too personal for this Blog?? If you are going to mention a person, a designer, by name, and speak of them in such flattering terms, then it is only fair that you post both sides. Maybe the post of others does not synch with your opinion, speaking of the person as a designer, but the character does follow them - EVEN IN THEIR PROFESSION. I guess this is your world that you have created, so you can do whatever you like. For me, it is a bit one sided to elevate a person by name, and then cherry pick out what does not compliment you own opinion. but then again, maybe it was a prank, and the post was in jest..?

Brian Libby

Crow, I'm glad you brought this up. I did remove an earlier comment, because it seemed to me like a personal attack on Jeff. I'll admit I'm not sure exactly where the line should be drawn. The subject of this blog is design, but I know there are many things that play a role in that. Feel free to email me directly if you'd like to discuss this further.


No prank. As an example, Lamb Design Studios had court judgements filed against the firm due to money that was borrowed and never paid back. There is more.


Should design skills be rewarded regardless of character? i.e. praise for athletes who hide their use of steroids?

The Portland A/E community is small and is therefore self policing. Mr Lamb's past acts have sealed his fate here. I suggest he try self promotion elsewhere, like New York or LA.


Maybe it's got gold-plated bidets inside, but the exterior in these renderings is a retro-modernist cliche. Stained knotty pine is the new pink stucco.

if there's an "undulating, complex angle" other than ninety degrees on there, i'm sure not seeing it. Take away that little piece of awning spaghetti and you've got a cube. Period.

Also, those south-facing windows will boil away all pedestrian activity when the sun's out. And flat roofs in Portland, though currently trendy, still leak.


**Simply in response to flat roofs. I don't care for flat over pitched, just incorrect assumptions that are given as fact. ***
Despite easily accessible data via the internet, many still believe that Portland presents unique environmental conditions that are somehow not conducive to flat roofs.

Roofs care about rain...1"-2"+ at a time is an issue. Portland's "misting" presents nothing exceptional. Areas such as Manhattan and Boston receive far more annual rain fall and far more episodes of downpours. Portland's low humidity also reduces concerns for ponding.
Portland also rarely presents significant freeze-thaw cycles or high winds.

If your roofs leak it is due to poor detailing or construction not that your roof is in Portland.


Regarding flat roofs: Sorry, I didn't mean to insinuate that flat roofs are a bad idea in Portland specifically. They're a bad idea on the tops of buildings. Insomuch as they're more prone to leaking. And once you've got a leak in a flat roof you'll have a hell of a time finding it. And in Portland that's a bigger problem than elsewhere because we have such a long fungus season.

But this is a steel-framed building, so it's only drywall rot, not structural rot. And it's not *my* steel-framed building, either, so why should I care about the increased maintenance costs? You want a flat roof, you go buy one, just know what you're getting into. Anyway I'm sure this roof will be lined with an amazing new wonder-membrane, which doesn't have the problems of the last fifty years of amazing new wonder-membranes which helped give flat rooves their leaky reputation.

Obviously density has to be achieved somehow, but to me this kinds of retro-modernist building looks cheap to build and expensive to own. It looks more like developers maximizing profit than architects crafting space.

But that's "at first glance." Show me more, and maybe I'll eat my words.


I wish new buildings like this would protect pedestrians from the rain more, without creating a cave-like environment, and allowing light to the sidewalk... and avoiding the dirt-on-glass awning phenomenon you see around town.

I think that would be a far more significant move in context with our environment and Portland pedestrian culture...


This is a project that is about cheap to build yet still costly to own and skin...the shell for sure. The developer is trying to build 'the cheapest' product in town yet the costs are still up there.

The idea is to build virtually the same product around town and there is virtually no concern for 'fit' with the context. It is no accident that the rendering is floating on white space with not site context.

Ted Washington

I think this building looks beautiful. I think it's unfair to complain about this building not having enough context simply because the rendering is against a white background. And I don't mind a building like this being built inexpensively if it looks attractive. Lamb seems to have had some issues with clients/others in the past, but he can clearly design something better looking than a lot of the other architects/firms in town. Is that beauty skin deep? I don't know - and neither do you, since we haven't seen what the inside looks like. But since 99% of us will only see the exterior anyway after it's built, I'd rather it be attractive than be stuck with more mediocrity like I've seen with so many other new architecture.


If buildings are just decorative -- if the main concern is the exterior -- then mediocrity is in the eye of the beholder. If we judge buildings on pure aesthetic appeal to passers-by, without considering their practicality as shelter and tools, then sure, anything goes, as long as it pleases the neighborhood association.

I do have a problem with inexpensive buildings, even attractive ones, when the savings are attained by pushing costs into the future, and the building is built to be sold immediately to a community of innocents. Such rip-offs are remarkably common in the condo trade, so I'm skewed to be suspicious of such buildings, and of the architects who front for such unscrupulous developers.

But for us to judge the beauty, or the structural integrity, of a nonexistent future building based on a 3D rendering is a pretty sketchy undertaking. All these opinions are swinging on some pretty slender evidence, my own included.

Whatever you find beautiful in this rendering, I don't get it. But I hope it comes through in the actual building. I think 3D modeling is particularly flattering to rectiliniar buildings like this, but in real life they seem to develop a certain brutality. I've seen fifty-year-old versions of the same thing in California, and they look slummy when they fall out of repair.


Brian, it is best not to censor except in the most extreme cases. Have faith in your readers that we can look past the noise.


To its credit Sienna is trying to battle its way back to the forefront of design in Stumptown after taking quite a few public lumps in the past years on behalf of Mr. Lamb. However it is still truly amazing that Sienna hangs all of their collective talent on "one" Mr. Lamb center-of-the-design-god-universe. Guys, there are others with a bit more architectural sensitivity, suave, and marketability out there that would be easier to manage. Don't put all your eggs in one basket.


You are joking right? "not a shell boy"? its pure ego in that shell, there is not one connection with that project between the inside and the out and neither is particually well done. Detailing? That is not a new headline everyone has been saying that for yesrs about his... or I mean, "Sienna's" work. "Sienna hangs all of their collective talent on "one" Mr. Lamb center-of-the-design-god-universe", now there is a realistic quote. Wake up and smell the coffee. Those attitudes are exactly about how Sienna runs a company and are right on tagret. The trust in that ego will crash that company in then end. All of the northwest sees it coming but the owners of the firm are blind to it. I agree, dont put your eggs in the Lamb basket. But its too late for that advice I reckon.

Eric Cantona

there was a relatively funny joke around the architecture community ten or so years ago about sienna. it was said that they had a very particular shade of blue tarp in their construction specifications for when the building got wrapped to fix all the leaks their poor detailing created a year or so after the building was constructed.

could actually be true, given the amount of their projects that ended up in that condition.

sienna's reputation in this town is about as low as you can get. jeff lamb's a real piece of work, and fits in quite well with gary reddick's business ethos. does anyone here recall mr. reddick's hostile takeover of JKS? lovely man, he is.


Take a walk past the Sienna office on the corner of sixth & stark and look inside the large plate glass windows. It appears the place has been stripped to the bone. Folding tents in the middle of the night, the office has been cannibalized before creditors can get wise and the landlord locks the doors.

It took more than a decade (much longer than anyone expected), but Reddick's abysmal leadership and incomprehensible management skills have finally succeeded in driving a firm with great potential into the ground. Ask anybody who has ever worked at Sienna and you will be told that the vainglorious Mr. Lamb is complicit in the slow, painful demise of a once promising firm.

Look for Reddick and Lamb starting a new scam,er,design firm, on a shoe string in temporary quarters inside the previously mentioned (and mostly empty) H45 condo on 45th and Hawthorne. Any fool that still believes in the patent medicine sold by this pair needs to have his or her head examined. Perhaps that is why they must go further and further from Portland to find new, unsuspecting clients? Is China far enough?

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