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Brian, I think you should go by the project. Honestly, I don't think it's nearly as nice as you give it credit for being. The detailing and the materials seem cheap, not inexpensive, just poorly conceived.
There is another project the same developer/architect team completed this summer, by the Nike store, between MLK and 7th, I think it's on Russell. it's a smaller project, with the same exterior materials. I attended the AIA housing tour that allowed folks to walk through the project, just before completion. I was very disappointed, with the material choices, the spaces and the details.
In my opinion, architecture is and should be about experience of spaces not pictures or renderings.


Obviously that's a fair point, and I will try to check the projects out in person as soon as I crawl out from my current avalanche of paying work. :)


the intent is there, the projects lack architectural maturity and rigor. They look like student projects.


Since I first saw it here on this blog some time back, I still really like what I think I can see from the illistration, that the Shizen condominiums will be. This building has balance and a human friendly scale. It looks so inviting. The multi-pane windows, ground floor wrap-around terrace, and top floor setback with its own terrace all work together to help accomplish this.

How nice it would be if more architects invested creative energy into modern design that sought to accomplished these same things.

Even though they're not condos, the fire stations by Emmons Architects and Hennebery Eddy, featured on this blog back in September, seemed to have some of that sensibility.


If only the structures were as nicely executed as the renderings.

I strolled though both the Wygant Lofts and the Mado House project near the Nike store (as a consumer)... In both projects (one substantially higher priced than the other) any gestures toward materials quality were undermined by what seemed like poor fabrication in nearly every detail. The poetics and descriptive attitude of the Mado mktg pkg implied a level of design and fabrication consideration that was simply not there. The Wygant Lofts felt, well, just plain cheap (and the circular stairs puzzling).

On the other hand, we also chanced upon the Alameda house recently: it's lovely (and 1.4M).

Standing in the courtyard of the Mado we wondered if they'd run out of money after making the materials order, but now knowing that Sakura did the Alameda house as well, I wonder if they haven't yet mastered translating their concepts (and mono-palette of materials) into mid-range builds.


Regarding the Wygant Lofts. While zipping by them on our commute, I found myself somewhat appreciating their design but puzzled by the materials. For instance, the major exterior show panels are merely plywood panels with a shiny finish, if I'm not mistaken; facing west and south for lots of sun and rain. I give them two years before the start really looking like crap.

To you architects and developers... why not revamp more of our older housing? Look at the two-house complex on N. Albina between Killingsworth and Ainsworth. There now stands several lovely and modernized 'green' rental units instead of two demolished turn of the century homes in the landfill.

My favorite new condos are the ones near Jefferson HS.... you know, the ones with the rainwater catchments and glass overhead windows that convert the living area into 'indoor/outdoor'. Very nice.

m conroy

i think the shizen condominiums are very compelling.


The Sakura Group is CHEAP!CHEAP!CHEAP! They are poor quality, cutting corners to cut cost. But still charge a high price tag. They rob people and are renting out and building units unfit and not up to code.

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