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Brad

The topic of park space is a very interesting aspect of the urban landscape that doesn't get touched on enough. I think it is good to see private development of park space in this project as well as the park built by the church closer to the 405.

Both of these parks are extensions of underground parking garages. The main focus is more parking in the downtown core but the addition of public space in the form of parks is good for the city.

Frank Dufay

It reminds me of some of the arguing done in the comments section of this site whenever the topic is modern buildings in historic neighborhoods.

Are you being ironic, Brian?

Olin is part of the team proposing to build 16 skyscrapers on 22 acres in Brooklyn --the Atlantic yards-- facing enormous neighborhood opposition from those philistine neighborhood oppositionists in Brooklyn. (My daughter happens to live there, as did I when she was conceived.) Who the heck needs brownstones?

Mike

Frank Dufay - are you being obtuse?

Are you suggesting that Mr. Olin is somehow evil and not worthy of commenting on our fine city because his firm is part of a team on a project the majority of Portlanders have never heard of? As a Landscape Architect I can tell you that Laurie Olin is an extremely well respected designer who has contributed to countless environments internationally that millions of people experience every day. He’s also a very approachable and nice man.

Should we all stop whatever it is we are doing and wait for your all-knowing input before proceeding with whatever it is we are planning? Do you have a litmus test for everyone else to pass before being able to contribute to this dialogue? Are you God?

For arguments sake, let’s say that the development you mention in Brooklyn is being conceived with little regard to the greater community good. And furthermore, let’s say that it WILL get constructed. Would you prefer that Laurie Olin’s firm not be a part of that? Maybe the developers should hire a less expensive and less talented firm to do all the site design. That way, your daughter and her neighbors will most likely have a much less thought-out and pleasant landscape to experience. Will that be satisfactory to you, sir?

As designers sometimes we work on projects that don’t fully meet our own standards of right and wrong because we know we can have a positive influence on them. Technically we do not live in a socialist society. You don’t get to have a say in everything. Sometimes shit gets built. That’s the reality of the world. Should we, as designers, turn our backs on these projects, or should we do everything we can to make them the best possible environments for the general populace?

As for the reason that Mr. Olin is here in the first place, kudos to the design team to a great start on the designs for Ankeny Park, O’Bryant Square and Park Block Five. I am very anxious and excited to seeing how the designs develop.

Michael O’Brien
viridian environmental design, llc

larch

Please, are the local landscape firms so pathetic that we have to keep on hiring out of town landscape architects to design all of the city spaces. You know things are bad when all the large firms feel the need to bring in out of town talent.

Brian

I disagree. I think we're better for the competition from outside designers, at least when they're of the caliber we've enjoyed over the years from Halprin to Walker and so on. Certainly we want local firms to get meaningful work here, too, but I see that happening with firms like Walker Macy, Greenworks, Murase, etc.

ADH

"Another nice thing to read in the Olin interview was the reminder of just how revered some of Portland's landscape architecture is amongst an international audience of designers and design enthusiasts."

To point, for an Urban Regeneration project I'm working on in Wakefield, England the local Landscape Architect provided to the design team examples of successful public areas throught the world - including a nice photo of Pioneer Courthouse Square.

Frank Dufay

Are you suggesting that Mr. Olin is somehow evil and not worthy of commenting on our fine city because his firm is part of a team on a project the majority of Portlanders have never heard of?

Actually...I believe most Portlanders have heard of Forecourt Fountain? Another example where an existing neighborhood was literally obliterated...bulldozed and replaced with "modern architecture." That this drives Mr. Olin's aesthetic, and provides his inspiration, suggests a certain filter through which he views how old neigborhoods interact with the new. So when he comments on that topic, I use my own filter to listen to what he says.

Maybe the developers should hire a less expensive and less talented firm to do all the site design. That way, your daughter and her neighbors will most likely have a much less thought-out and pleasant landscape to experience. Will that be satisfactory to you, sir?

My daughter and her neighbors --and their neighborhood-- will be gone. Like the old Italian neighborhood of the South Auditorium Urban Renewal Area.

As designers sometimes we work on projects that don’t fully meet our own standards of right and wrong because we know we can have a positive influence on them... Sometimes shit gets built. That’s the reality of the world. Should we, as designers, turn our backs on these projects.

Nah...build "shit" if the pay's good. Just don't design shit and tell me its beautiful. Or that completely destroying existing neighborhoods is the way to "integrate" the old and new.

People gotta work, and put food on the table, I understand that. I mean, hell, someone had to design Auschwitz, right? It's just design work...let's make it the best it can be.

But I, too --to pick up on another theme-- don't understand why some folks don't seem to think we have the necessary talent in Portland to do the job. "Buy local" means more than just produce. I think we're fantastically talented people here, and maybe even people who have a better sense of what Portlanders need in a park design?

Truth

Did Frank just compare an Urban Renewal Area to the wholesale slaughter of millions of Jews...

Wow, I guess your daughter should move back before they throw her into the incinerators.

Mike

Wow. To bring up Auschwitz in the context of this discussion crosses so many lines, that all I can say is that I, for one, am done with you, Frank.

On another note: The design team includes Carol Mayer-Reed, Tad Savinar and ZGF. All local, all very talented in their own right.

Michael O’Brien

Frank Dufay

To bring up Auschwitz in the context of this discussion crosses so many lines, that all I can say is that I, for one, am done with you, Frank.

Fight straw men all you want.

We either take responsibility for what we do, or we don't.

To "bring up Auswchwitz" is, actually, in some circles, never OK, because it forces us to address the "banality of evil." Or does someone want to argue that there were no architects, no carpenters, no plumbers, and, in fact, nobody responsible for it's creation?

All of us have a stake --and a responsibility-- in and for our future. You accept that responsibility, or you don't. Each of us looks at the mirror in the morning. It's interesting to me that people focus on the sidebar Auschwitz comment, rather than the local reality that we destoyed a local Italian working class neighborhood.

Build shit -- or destoy neighborhoods-- well, whatever...just don't be tellin' me you're doing something other than what you are.

Regardless, I still say we have the talent in Portland to design our own friggin' parks.

george

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law

m. conroy

Wow. Someone actually cited Godwin's Law.

I actually feel that everyone has valid points and have the right to voice them. I like the quote, "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it". -- George Santayana. I think that's a great one to meditate on if you want to argue on how to build a better and stronger community.

Frank Dufay

"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it". -- George Santayana

Oh, oh...Godwin's Law II says you can't ever refer to Santayana or you risk really really killing a discussion.

As though we had something to actually learn from history...what a concept!

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