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m conroy

where exactly will the 'b-Side 6' building be located on Burnside?


I believe somewhere in the lower Burnside area, near the arcade buildings and the Jupiter Hotel/Doug Fir.


On the SW corner lot at Burnside and 6th. I think Plaid Pantry is next door to the west.

What I want to know is: when are they going to break ground??? Go Works!

They also have a cool building designed for a lot near the east end of the Morrison bridge.


That Doug Fir thing isn't architecture, it's set-design. A stupid, unoriginal, childish riff on the regional theme. Skylab's smartass design for the new M&F building restaurant/lounge will probably be just as insulting. "Ok, it's Portland...think, people! Ok..umm, LOGS! We'll have LOGS! These are Portlanders, the lumber thing, get it?!?"
Skylab might deserve an award for self-hype, though.


I'm not crazy about the Doug Fir or the 12th and Alder buildings, but when you think about what both of those buildings are and formerly were, it puts a whole new perspective on things, making them a desperately needed breath of fresh air.

I'm kind of stretching here, but I think both of them evolved from the "googie" architectural design trend of the late 50's, early sixities. In there with modern somewhere. The former chinese restaurant that became the fir was a hole. Demolition would have been its likely fate if not for Skylab, but they turned it around into something interesting. The former 12th and Alder building wasn't much better. So what if I and some other people don't particularly like them? It's obviously marketed at least in part to a younger crowd, by a younger crowd. Some of them have been coming along for awhile now y'know.

Some of those new, slightly wacky ideas can put a little life in old blood too. I'm looking forward to the M&F lounge. It's exactly what Downtown needs.


As a proud member of the Skylab team, I have to say I am disapointed with these comments. I've worked for the large corporate office with neither the guts, nor the talent to fight for a concept (much less have one to begin with). I've worked for the "internatianally known" architect who does not posses the knowleged to construct a shed in his own back yard from 2x4's.

If you pick up any book published in the last 5 years on restaurant design, you'll find Skylab is on pace to compete with them on an international level - Doug Fir has...Sinju Sushi Restaurant is on It's way and it won't be the last one.

Intelligent design is about letting the concept be what it is, not about forcing ideas. Showing restraint and building a concept based on what a building simply wants to be is a very power skill. No detail is built on a Skylab project based on it's looks. There is always a concept behind every line.

Jerry, I'm not sure what to tell you about feeling insulted by design that response to it's region. Or, is it Skylab's designs that insults you. I can assure you we're not all sitting behing our computers in our black office building designing to upset you. I would like to be educated on what exactly is not original about Doug Fir? I mean...sure...logs, but I can't think of another restaurant anywhere open 21 hours a day, plays great music, and was built and owned by it's architect. It would be interesting to hear why you use the word "smartass". Perhaps smartass is accurate....if so, what's wrong with that? It's not stuffy or boring...and every Skylab project is deeply rooted and excecuted based on concept...does this mean "smartass"? Our projects deliver on point to this creed from our web site:

"the Skylab team works to blur the distinction between architecture and design, muddy the lines between the natural and the synthetic and parcel together the future with the past."

Did you expect something else?

It surprises me a town that prides itself in it's local "creatives" does not always embrace those who are the truly creative....only those who can compete with each other on a local level are embraced...I've found this is only the case in the architecture community. shouldn't we be supporting each other?

WS is on the mark. You don't have to "get it" to understand our urban fabric. The importance in design diversity at an urban level is hugely more important to our town than smartass design...but a little whimsy and laughter along the way doesn't hurt...


Skylab rocks - their projects are the one bright spot in an otherwise dull city (architecturally).


The Skylab 12th and Alder project was approved through a required City of Portland Type II Design Review. The City actually encouraged Jeff Kovel not to hold back after he presented a more conservative design. Thereafter, with some interesting and useful dialogue about his design intent, Jeff produced some iterations which became more refined and [ironically] contextual in a modernist sense. The review process works and context is everything and details matter. The end design is actually a really savvy response to the existing context and hopefully Brian, you will ask Jeff Kovel more about his design intent and experience with the Design Review process. Modern urban architecture works when designers take the extra time to read deeper into the urban landscape to place their work and consider urban spatial and cultural relationships that exist beyond pure object making.


Yeah, with all due respect to Jerry, I am shocked by the Skylab bashing. Between this and what Holst has had to deal with on the Kurisu and Clinton projects, it's really unfortunate to see the city's best firms bashed.


I admit my comment itself was as smartass as anything else. I wouldn't argue that Doug Fir was conceptless. Far from it. But as a Portland native, and as an older person to whom the "buzz" means little, I honestly found the concept behind your decor obvious, superficial, probably television-inspired, certainly in love with itself; and for those reasons it came across as vaguely...insulting. But I'm old and crusty and have lived here since the Fifties. If you're young and "creative" and moved here in the 90s, I suppose something that looks like Doug Fir represents exactly what Portland ought to be.


Calling yourself Old and Crusty doesn't quite negate meanspirited remarks, nor does dismissing a design as youth-oriented stand up as discourse.

Personally I love Doug Fir, both stylistically and operationally. The design is cheeky and thorough -- they absolutely nailed the details, and it's fun, dammit. So what if it's regionally self-referential? It's a nightclub, baby, it does what it should, with some smarts and sauce. Sheesh.

I may not be equally charmed by everything Skylab puts out, but surely even self-proclaimed curmudgeons can appreciate that (1) different generations are hungry for different things; and (2) introducing new ideas of architecture (or set design) into the city fabric ain't too bad a thing.

Good set design v. bland architecture? I'll take the former any Portland day (and I won't think any less of the architect).


Skylab deserves every attention they get, but I somewhat agree with jerry. Doug Fir is a good of example of ephemeral architecture (hollywood..maybe vegas). It is fitting for the project type_ a bar. It is all a matter of subjective opinion what constitute as architecture. Trendy does not mean innovative. Architecture has a bigger responsibility to our society. There is the danger of becoming like fashion industry. Someone is trying to group skylab with Holst in the same category. Their approach are entirely different and I would say Holst has been delivering timeless architecture. Holst projects have clear sense of materiality and being true to the essence of the material while Skylab seem to use material as if they are decorating the shed. But I still applaud skylab for putting pdx on the map. call it whatever you want, they sure know how to get publicize.


V. astute Raya. Holst and Skylab operate with entirely different methodology in what feels like a very different realm. It's more than likely that Holst's work will stand strong in the long haul (it's damn gorgeous now), while Doug Fir 's lifespan (and much of Skylab's repertoire) is obviously finite. But the Belmont Lofts and a nightclub are such entirely different things, with entirely diff. functions that to compare directly them is faulty at best.

Clubs and restaurants by their nature operate as spectacle. Demanding that this spectacle must also provide some monument to timelessness is rather uncharitable...

I'll leave it to the architects to argue about Real Architecture v. decoration v. hype-building (which are the real points of contention here; we hate it when people publicize themselves don't we?), in the meantime I'll be fantasizing about what Holst would do with a bar commission.



Take a look at Holst's website. They have designed several nice restaurants/bars.

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