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Perhaps I too am simply "arrogant" and "dismissive," but I don't understand why any offense was taken at Charles Rose's description about Portland's LEED buildings. It seems to me that he was making a factual statement: energy efficiency is easier to achieve in Portland than it is in other cities that have harsher climates. If Rose's "chuckles" about Portland are interpreted to be an implied criticism of a certain smugness on the part of Portland's architectural community concerning its achievements in enery efficiency, it might be worthwhile to consider whether such criticism is valid.

In a similar vein, I found Rose's comments about Cloepfil and the "high modernist approach" much more interesting than whatever Rose's "marketing guru" might propagate. If Rose believes that Cloepfil's work is "boring," should he not state that for the record, even if Cloepfil is the best-known architect currently working in Portland? And in the event that Rose were to say something negative about Belluschi, what would be problematic with such a statement? His status as a favorite son in Portland shouldn't exempt him from critical (or even casual) evaluation.


I think what Brian was trying to say was the substance of Rose's comments may have been fair, but the attitude wasn't.


After reading the interview, I have to agree with Brian's assessment.

My initial reaction was that Rose's words were laced with derision and condescension.... It was the *way* he said it not what he said that gave me this impression.

Furthermore, only the foolish would publicly and openly comment on the work of others in such a way. Rose's publicist, as Brian noted, was almost certainly alarmed by Rose's comments.


An architect with an ego is not news. I think people are overly sensitive to the east coast smug-tude around here. It's easy enough to pull out a euotrash air and browbeat that kind of short sightedness at its own game.

Sure, Rose is shortsighted but that's ok as long as he does good work.... maybe it's all those those old Frank Lloyd Wright and Mike Wallce interviews but I think its ok when very different types of aesthetiticians throw jabs. They are specialists and their polarities act as a way to differentiate on another, a way of owning and refining the disparite views. It all come from passion and I can forgive if the architecture lets me forget.


I think this is an excellent take on it by DoubleJ. Truth be told, after an extra day has gone by since I wrote this, the comments seem less of a big deal in the grand scheme of things. And I definitely admit to being sensitive about east coast condescension. I grew up in Oregon and went to college in New York. I met straight-A students who wondered if we had electricity. So when I read someone saying, 'We chuckle about Portland,' it touches a nerve.


"But if I were Rose's marketing guru, I'd be lying on the floor in a fetal position right now."

Thank you for the laugh! I agree it was a bit dismissive both of LEEDS and our favored son, Brad Cloepfil.

I found it a little more disturbing though that he was dropping names (Kanye West!) and felt so comfortable farming out his design work.

As for sensitivity to any comments from places east, I once called in to report a cow on the freeway in The Dalles and had the officer - after finding out I was from Portland - ask me if I knew for sure it was a cow.


Frank Dufay

I met straight-A students (in NY) who wondered if we had electricity.

I can relate. I was living in NYC when, in 1972, decided to move to Eugene. Wondered if it would have sidewalks. I mean: "Eugene?"

Of course lots of places in Portland, and even the fancy-pants parts, still don't have sidewalks.


Fuck being civil - I'd slap this guy with a big, wet trout upside the head anyday. I certainly wouldn't feel bad about not pulling punches with assholes; and I particularly find it interesting how he distances himself - an architect - from designing. While its one thing to criticize building minamilist boxes today, he's also a jackass. Kudos to Mr. Rose for revealing his personality.


I admire Rose for his honesty and speaking what is on his mind and his experience with "modern" architecture. Frankly, it was refreshing to hear another opinion on Cloepfil's work since most of the local lovefest with the media and Brad is often over-the-top. The puff pieces that I read on Allied Works seem to be more caught up with the fact that his is Starchitect than his actual work.


I admire Rose for his honesty and his work. I respect that he's doing great work of his own but would still work with another designer because he has "something to learn." I think if we drop our own egos we've got something to learn from him as well. And kudos to Brian for being able to revisit an opinion as he did!


bill needs to go to an anger management class or langauage etiqute seminar

Modern Maven

When I moved to Portland seven years ago, a lot of Ducks and alums I worked with had no idea where my school was- and it was one of the top 3 architecture schools in the midwest. They had no idea even where the state it was located in the contiguous 48. My point is the 'backwoods yokel' stereotype can cut both ways.

Many of the architecture grads I worked with had never left Oregon and had never been to Chicago- they really had no idea about the great works of Sullivan, Burnham and Root, et al, that existed or the significance behind them and I found that completely criminal.

That being said, an ego on an architect is nothing new. And he's right to a certain extent, LEED is easier in Oregon, not only due to the climate, but the closeness to nature and ideas of conservation that many Oregonians were brought up with. At the same time, it is much easier in a climate like Boston or NYC to acheive a lot of the energy credits for LEED than it is in a temperate climate like Portland.

Modern Maven

When I moved to Portland seven years ago, a lot of Ducks and alums I worked with had no idea where my school was- and it was one of the top 3 architecture schools in the midwest.

That should have said "top three schools in the country..." not just the midwest.


Check out Kanye's place. Seems a bit cold to call home.



LEED ain't all about energy, materials play a large part as well. Are there not locally-sourced materials or recycled ones available in the largest US market - the NE?!

Modern Maven

Uh, Jill, no kidding. But the last time I checked, more points were available for energy than for choosing local materials. That's my point.

james o'hara

The reason that Portland has successful leed projects is that the clients are inspired and willing to take chances.
East coast clients and architects from Miami to Boston are uptight and tied to the market place . If this changes it is not because anyone was brave but because the polls determined it was safe to go in the water.

Finish Tag

Seriously, Modern Maven?
You corrected your post to make it read even MORE arrogant and defensive than it already did?

Wow, impressive.

dave levine

Charles Rose does have a huge ego and a big mouth. He's a very sharp well spoken guy so he clearly knew what he was doing - he's rather irreverent.

Having met the man, I'd best label him a "pompous ass", albeit a very intelligent one. Anyway, the real problem for Portland is that Rose could give a shit about anyone but his own legacy. He is too cheap or too short-staffed to produce good working drawings (his construction documents are lousy) so already difficult buildings become nearly impossible to build. This will screw the unlucky contractor and maybe the College when it has to pay change orders. In fact, the contractor who built his much publicized Arts Center in Putney, VT said it would never work with him again.

All in all, his statement just reinforces the fact that all he cares about is himself.

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