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Frank Dufay

Today's Willamette Week reports that Holst will be building in Chinatown "a 4 story, 32-unit, mixed-use condominium project" developer Randy Rapaport says is "gonna be sick."

I guess I'm unfamiliar with this kind of architectural nomenclature.

portland student in nyc

I think Holst, along with works partnership, skylab, and others are the beginning something of a rennaisance for contemporary portland buildings. Holst is also supposedly responsible for part of the new AIA space. What can we start to do spatially now? Materials are a large part of Portland's architectural heritage with the cast iron glory days of the late 19th century and the northwest style's use of wood. How can we now step up and begin to creeate new uniquely urban spaces versus maximized FAR's and zoning envelopes?

ws

"12½ includes an interior courtyard for automobiles...". I'm not sure how this will affect tenant livability, but it should be an asset for neighborhood aesthetics and livability.

"Sick"? Rappaport must be some kind of dude. Must be pretty confident, or desperate, or clueless, to try so hard to be hip, by using that kind of contrary pop jargon. His use of that word in a hip context to describe his own work could come to haunt him, down the road.

Clifford Heaberlin

While walking around San Diego, I once wandered (trespassed?) through a very pleasant interior automobile courtyard. It was that of the Merrimac by Smith and Others. See the link below, the "rear (north) photo" was taken from within the courtyard.

http://housingprototypes.org/project?File_No=USA007

anr

I don't see 'gonna be sick' as desperate or clueless. Considering that I’ve read several articles touting his skateboarding, Flaming Lips following ways I'd say its just his personality. I appreciate that about Portland, we don’t have to grow up and be stodgy – we can grow up and be professionals with tattoos and skateboards.

Frank Dufay

we can grow up and be professionals with tattoos and skateboards.

Sure...no problem with tattos or skateboards. But when he says he's designed a "spaceship" for your neighborhood, you gotta worry. "Sick"...is that the new "cool," or, in this context, something bad and nasty?

m conroy

I think "sick" perfectly captures Rappaports' personality.

ws

I think the exterior visual concept of 12 and a half; overlapping opposed rectangles, is interesting and tolerable, but not particularly beautiful. Some people will like them. They appear clumpy to me. With a little more ingenious use of this designs' rectangular concept, the building could have had a more assymetrical, flowing quality.

Those renderings, devoid of accompanying trees or landscaping, do not present the design favorably, but even with them, I'm inclined to think it veers away from being very uplifting in a homey sense.

Still, it is a modern effort, and attempts to break away from condo monotony. A group of them together in a neighborhood could help to better enhance what aesthetic potential they have.

Re; Mr. Rappa-port...
One thing's for sure, if Rappaport doesn't hit the mark dead center with soul inspiring, community supporting designs, there may be some people he didn't intend, agreeing with his descriptive use of the word "sick" in regards to his buildings, but in a more widely familiar usage of the word.

On the upside, Rappaport's assumed hip-ness might sell some condos to rappers and rap fans. Wonder what else he'll pull out of his hat with this schtick. Maybe for his next picture in the WW, he'll decide to display a flashy new grill.

Truth

Why has this turned into a commentary about Randy Rapaport?
I believe Brian's intentions were to discuss the merits of the 12.5 project. Try to stay on subject. I don't think Randy's involved in this project at all.

Brian Libby

I think this Randy-bashing is really out of place. He's a developer with some different interests culturally than most, be it skateboards or The Flaming Lips. And he's perhaps more interested in modern architecture in its purest sense than some other Portlanders may be. But I see none of this as reasons for hostility. In fact, all these things are what make him interesting to me. Moreover, he's a very nice guy. I don't want this post or these comments to be a referrendum on Randy, and I regret that my comments here in his defense may stir it up even more. But I felt compelled to say that the Randy bashing isn't fair, especially when it gets personal. If you disagree with some of his attitudes as they related to building projects, that's fine. But just because he has a youthful sense of style, culture and vocabulary is not reason for hostility.

ws

The following excerpt is from Brian's article above:"The Clinton Condominiums, already under construction, are shaping up as a very worthy sequel...". Isn't that Rappaport's project?

Rappaport's work and involvement will either stand on its own merits or it won't, regardless of comments supporting or criticising him. In the affectation of his personal style, where his choice to be a colorful guy enters into the professional realm, that also becomes a legitimate subject for commentary related to his work.

Anybody choosing to do work that is controversial in the public realm, is subject to the opinion of the public. You gotta have a thick skin and believe in what you do, or get out. And you better have a sense of humor. Rappaport must have some of that or he'd have been long gone by now.

Rappaport has received a few playful jabs, incidental to Brian's article. I'd hardly call them hostile or bashing. I don't waste my time or anyone else's on that crap. Let Rappaport take care of himself. I believe he's up to the task.

And now, for sure, let's talk some more about 12 and a half and related projects.

Randy Rapaport

I think it would be most appropriate for people to judge my work based on completed projects.

My only completed project to date is the Belmont Street Lofts in Southeast Portland.

Dwell Magazine will be featuring this project in its next issue. I hope you enjoy it. I am delighted that this article will not only feature my work a a developer, but Portland as place where intelligent, modern architecture is possible.

And my new projects, in a creative partnership with Holst Architecture, are "gonna be sick."


Randy Rapaport

jim

sick is good

you tell em

edr

I see Randy as sort of a patron of the arts... he is raising the bar for urban housing in a market where developers are making a killing cranking out mundane condos. As a profession, we'd all be in better shape if there were more developers in the mix as passionate about innovative design.

Randy, do your thang!!

Frank Dufay

"Sick" is out, outre, old news...

"Screwed" is the new "sick"..as in let the neighbors provide the parking spaces, the delivery trucks with no place to unload; take every tax break you can...and run with the most expensive condos you can get away with, while you push the envelope on sick, hip, spaceship architecture...

Far out...

nathan

Frank and others:

When was the last time you got out? The 50s?

Your thinly veiled generational attacks are indicative of a teenager. But I'm guessing you're not so young.

Why don't u keep the conversation on topic so the rest of us don't have to listen to your personal attacks.

ws

The idea of the lead article is to offer news and ideas about something new and exciting in the world of architecture and urban planning, and to encorage barrier free discussion about it. This is good.

Good, innovative ideas arising from modern architecture and other schools of architecture, pure, as well as practical, are what this city needs. It isn't constructive to stay in the same old repetitive groove just because it's safe and comfortable.

Nevertheless, innovative ideas in modern architectural design do not justify every neighborhood dismissive tactic a developer or other individuals in planning or government find convenient to employ in order to realize such designs.

Increasingly as we proceed into the future, anybody wanting to build will, more than ever before, have to actively consider the interests and concerns of people living in the areas they wish to build. Developers, regardless of how breathtakingly modern their designs may be, that elect to not do this will increasingly find themselves carefully scrutinized and challenged by such people.

I already said my bit about 12 and a half. For some reason, nobody else seems to want to talk about the strengths, weaknesses, or considerations neccessary to the realization of this design. Why is that?

The article reads as though the building actually is up. Has anybody actually gone by to see it?

nathan

"I already said my bit about 12 and a half. For some reason, nobody else seems to want to talk about the strengths, weaknesses, or considerations neccessary to the realization of this design. Why is that?"

Probably because the conversation has been dominated by personal attacks rather than constructive discussion.

I don't know too much about the project...but my first impulse is to commend any developer that is willing to create nice-looking, modern, medium density housing.

In particular, the courtyard/parking area seems to be a great idea for Portland...I'd love to see more medium density condominiums with similar parking, especially because it eliminates a need for expensive underground parking and does not add more demand for street parking. And of course the courtyard is a space for parties, events, kids etc.

If the comparison to the Lair is accurate, this will be a fantastic project. The Lair is an *amazing* building...I'd love to see developers copying the Lair model.

Yowza

Fuck yea, Randy!

You give us up and coming architects with a distinct sense of innovative design and forward-looking urbanistic views some hope. Well, a lot of it, I guess. Keep it up, man!

Frank Dufay

Probably because the conversation has been dominated by personal attacks rather than constructive discussion.

Oh...so we do get to discuss what's constructed? Cool...

I've nothing against Randy, modern architecture, or even smashing the dominant paradigm (I love, for instance, the inside-out Pompideau Center in Paris).

The issue is that while it's all fine and good to "push the aesthethic envelope" (as Brian puts it) we also need to pay attention to what's being created as it relates to impacts on neighborhoods. It ain't a pretty drawing on paper, or cut-outs made of balsa...these are real buildings that have real --and significant-- impacts.

Why not have a "discussion" about proposals? I'm all for it? I just don't want to hear: "I'll build what I want, however I want, 'cause I can, and I'm a friggin' genius, and I listen to Talking Heads."

Why does providing no bicycle parking get a "fuck yea" for "forward-looking" urbanism?

nathan

Frank, I don't really understand your point.

This blog is here so that we *can* (and do) discuss Portland architecture. Are you saying that you and me should have a direct impact on a developers projects? That's ridiculous. There are all kinds of "gatekeepers" that a developer must capitulate to already, from neighborhood organizations to local government. And it is in these places where your voice can be heard.

Not every project is going to have every amenity, or please everybody.

And frankly (no pun intended), I think this building probably beats out 99% of Metro area construction hands down.

No building or project is going to be perfect. But a great developer is going to try to meet some specific goals...in this case maybe aesthetic appeal and livable indoor and outdoor spaces are highlighted.

As for this particular project, it meets several criteria that I believe to be important:

-increasing density
-creates communal space
-provides low visibility parking
-improves neighborhoods visual and architectural appeal
-contributes to the rejuvenation of the area
-employs at least a good amount of green construction

I'd love to see every new residential building in PDX with Platinum LEED, beautiful modern design, local materials, non obvious parking, low income units and multi-modal transportation amenities. But this is the real world still, and budget is going to limit a developers ability to implement all these features. So I guess I'm happy when a developer is able to make at least some of these things happen.

ws

"Are you saying that you and me should have a direct impact on a developers projects?".

Frank can answer for himself, but as for me, if I'm a resident of an established neighborhood with a resident defined charachter, then absolutely, I and other residents shold have a direct impact on that developers projects.

The idea that people would so readily allow a developer's intent to build, to trump all concerns expressed by residents, is mystifying.

I'd have to go out to where 12 and a half is, to see if it really jives with that area, but I agree with all the following provided by nathan:

increasing density
-creates communal space
-provides low visibility parking
-improves neighborhoods visual and architectural appeal
-contributes to the rejuvenation of the area
-employs at least a good amount of green construction

...so, I wouldn't contest it on those points, but had I, along with many other residents, been witness to the nature and charachter of the neighborhood prior to the arrival of this bulding, and was as a result, conscious of some potentialy detrimental issues raised by its development, I would definitely not be favorably impressed by a developer that turned a deaf ear to these concerns.

And budget issues, presented as a rationale for not accomodating all concerns, are valid, only to a point.

Frank Dufay

This blog is here so that we *can* (and do) discuss Portland architecture. Are you saying that you and me should have a direct impact on a developers projects? That's ridiculous...

I'm sorry that I wasn't clear, nathan. I was speaking from the perspective of neighborhood associations. I'm on the HAND board where Randy's Clinton is being built. And the reality is we had zero impact on this project. Randy came in, told us what he was building, and destroyed a historic site --and neighborhood icon-- while we were appealing the City's approval.

The property was spot zoned ten years earlier precisely to save the historic site.

The politics were ugly.

At any rate...I wish Randy well, and hope the building works out to be a positive addition to our neighborhood. But we're into bicyles...and Randy's not providing any parking for them. He's not providing any parking for the stores and presumptive restaurant coming in. No place for delivery trucks to park. We've legitimate concerns.

The building will have a huge blank wall facing facing Division. The parking for residents is beyond a locked gate...communal? This is a gated community. Randy boasts he told Holst to design him "a UFO" since there was no neighborhood context.

Anyway...I don't mean to rehash old stuff, but we, as a neighborhood, had design "issues" that got zero attention. The trending is for higher density --which our neigborhood strongly supports-- we'd just like to see it done in a collaborative way with residents who are impacted.

Randy Rapaport

Thanks for the support. I want to inform designers and artists and others interested in this body of work that my sincere intention is to take architectural expression in Portland much higher

Clinton Condominiums, now under construction and Sun Rose/ Constellation are in the works, but constuction should commence in the first quarter on 2007.

We hope you like them.

Here's to space and the stars.


Randy

Frank Dufay

The other thing is...yeah, let's really push the friggin' aesthetic envelope and introduce some really exciting architecture. So far, though --at least in the neigborhood context-- we're largely seeing tarted-up boxes maximizing every square inch of available build out in the name of "penciling out," not in the name of pushing the aesthetic envelope.

drew

As a resident of the southern end of the King neighborhood, I'd just like to say that this building is very much welcomed. I can't imagine any detrimental issues raised by siting this green, fairly attractive, and appropriately-sized building on what was recently an ugly vacant lot. All things considered, it certainly seems to "jive" with the neighborhood (it might even turn out pretty sick).

I do wish there was a retail component, but maybe someday the moribund SE and NE corners of the Knott/7th intersection can be redeveloped with mixed-use buildings that would complement 12 1/2 and the existing one-story commercial structure.

And Frank, regarding your first juvenile and off-topic post, the new Holst/Rapaport project that you reference is at E 28th and Burnside, not in Chinatown.

ben

frank, "penciling out" is what makes projects happen. you should be glad you have a developer in your hood that cares about aesthetics and quality more than he cares about profit. projects can't lose money, otherwise they don't go, but i really don't think you realize how far the clinton is going in terms of quality. 95% of the developers in this community would never dream of pouring that much money into the skin. it's that money realized into elegant architecture that is going to give back to the neighborhood that is antithetical to your "gated community" accusation. the division street facade isn't blank, it's just not something you deem acceptable with what is undoubtedly your very keen design sense. bike parking? loading zone? do you have any idea how many projects in the city don't provide these items as a typical and broadly accepted solution? small mixed use buildings don't need that much loading zone (i've even heard the city is considering revising their requirements because EVERY project this size gets appealed), and you have to pay the city money for the bike parking you don't provide...that's used for guess what? more bike parking and bike lanes in our neighborhoods. it's not getting around anything, it's simply following the same protocol as every other mixed use infill project in portland. so get off it and look for some real architectural injustices to spout off about...like bridgport village.

as far as 12 and a half goes...thank god something is going on that lot other than drug deals and xmas tree sales. design looks nice, even if done with what looks like a shoe-string budget. irvington needs some more density, especially at intersections like that one. retail would have been a great addition, but i've heard 12 and a half is live/work maybe?

Frank Dufay

"penciling out" is what makes projects happen. you should be glad you have a developer in your hood that cares about aesthetics and quality more than he cares about profit.

I have no idea what the profit margins are on this project, but Randy has bragged these will be the highest-priced condos ever built in SE Portland.

"gated community" accusation.

The gate is locked, people drive in, and don't have to set foot in the 'hood. I lived at Portland Center years ago, same deal. Absolutely deadens the life on the street.

...the division street facade isn't blank, it's just not something you deem acceptable with what is undoubtedly your very keen design sense...

So, tell us what this design is, on the blank wall contributing NOTHING to street life on Division.

The issue isn't Randy's project, anyway, the issue remains whether developers should build in a collaborative way with the neighborhoods they move in to. I hate to think that might offend some artiste's sensibilities, to hunker down with the hoi poloi, but when the delivery trucks start parking on the sidewalk --as they already do across the street, because there's completely inadequate parking-- they'll be some 'splainin' to do to the Parking Patrol.

I'll repeat...I wish Randy well, and I hope I'm wrong and this doesn't create the problems we've tried to anticipate as responsible neighbors.

And it's "off topic" to reference a comment in Willamette Week about Holst Archtecture...in a colume about Holst Architecture? Whatever...

bob

You know, the comments regarding a condo or apartment's parking spaces being behind a locked door is pretty stupid: most all apartments in the US may allow a few visitor parking spaces, but almost all are reserved only for the resident.

Same goes for a single family home - how many of your neighbors park in your driveway? I mean, c'mon here, let's get real... a single family dwelling's property line is just as "exclusive" to said owner as a home in a multi family dwelling.

Frank Dufay

The definition of a "gated community" is that it has a gate, and non-residents are not allowed access. Like at Portland Center, like at Riverplace --both places I've lived-- you can drive up, put in the code, the gate goes up, you get out of your car INSIDE the building, and you never set foot on the sidewalk. That's not a lot different then the surburban model where the car is parked in the attached garage, and you enter the house through the garage.

It's all about interaction in the neighborhood. I like my SE neighborhood where I have a detached garage, my one neighbor has no garage, and many folks park on the street because their garages have become storage rooms.

It's all about saying "hi" to each other. It's about seeing your neighbors and not just passing them while you're driving. Building community, not fortresses.


Frank Dufay

new Holst/Rapaport project that you reference is at E 28th and Burnside, not in Chinatown

You're right, Drew, my apologies. I saw the Chinese-American food sign, read the building will be "tinged with modern Chinese design elements" and made a bad assumption. Knowing that location now, I don't get "Chinese design elements," or how they fit in. But then I don't get "gonna be sick" either.

Clement

Aesthetics aside (it IS visually interesting), I don't think the Twelve and a Half townhouses address the street very well. The only ground level visual connection between living spaces and the street is the cut-in entry, everything else on the first level is blank wall - not good for eyes-on-the-street or for continuing Portland's tradition of street-oriented building frontages. It would seem to be a response to the negative impacts of being on a busy street, but this could have been better addressed by setting the buildings back a little more from the sidewalk (as did some of the Modernist Colab rowhouses in Sullivan's Gulch) or raising the first-floor grade a bit to achieve some sense of privacy while allowing more ground-level windows. Sure, they have upper-level windows and balconies, but this doesn't contribute as well to sidewalk-level vitality and interest. Most residential buildings along 7th are both set back behind landscaping AND raised above grade. The neighborhood pattern could have been better acknowledged, even with contemporary design.

nathan

Ws: I think you need to read my post again, because I said neighborhood organisations *are* absolutely a place where your voice can and should be heard. Neighbors generally do get a say in what gets built, thank god.


And by the way, I just don't see what's so insidious about this project. Seems better than most as I stated previously, and I can't understand why there's so much hate being dished out.


Frank Dufay

There are all kinds of "gatekeepers" that a developer must capitulate to already, from neighborhood organizations to local government...

Neighbors generally do get a say in what gets built, thank god.

Actually, nathan, neighbors don't have such a say.

We're only invited to the table if there are "adjustments" or variances to City Code...and, even then, a lot of us don't feel listened to.

I don't think there's any hate being dished out. Some decisions and actions, however, are heart-breaking, as Brian pointed out in his post on the Rosefriend's imminent destruction. In the case of detroying the Thomas House site and carriage house, and removal of the Thomas House from its historic context...all that happened without any neighborhood input. In fact, our request to have the City not issue a demolition permit --before our appeal was even heard-- was turned down flat.

m. conroy

I agree that there needs to be a change in the appeal process. Many projects get the green light before there is even citizen awareness. Even if there is an open discussion it's usually just for effect once the decision has been made. The fate of the Rosefriend is an example of a "done deal".

If this were a true democracy, everyone would have a chance to have their voice heard and feel like they have made an impact. Perhaps there could be more win/win situations. Architects and developers rather than just making an artistic statement or making things "pencil out" profitably, could also be problem solvers by listening to the needs and concerns of the citizens who live in the immediate area.

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