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I went to this talk last night. It was clear that the architects being "interviewed" are very talented and capable of achieving a high level of discourse about their profession and their work. This is exactly the type of event that Portland needs to energize its design scene and get the community participating in a dialogue about the future of design in Portland. Unfortunately, the evening was very poorly executed. The layout of DWR was ill suited for the lecture format, seating was uncomfortable and disorganized so that it was impossible to see the presenters from most places in the room, the microphones may have made it more, rather than less difficult to hear the speakers. Beyond these issues was the whole format of the evening, or that is to say, lack of format. It appeared that the host had not spent much time preparing the slides or his questions. It was a shame to have these amazing designers attempting to engage in real issues and to seriously talk about their work while being interrupted and editorialized mid-sentence. So in conclusion, I hope that this series continues to support Portland's design community while striving to be a real first class event worthy of the architects that it is showcasing.


Thanks a lot, Gloria!

Seriously, though: We will take all of your comments into consideration. Let me address a few now.

I actually was very familiar with all of the slides and most of the projects. In the case of a few of them, such as the church design Jeff Kovel showed, I hadn't.

If I interrupted and editorialized, like you said, I'm sorry -- kind of. In many cases the architects were talking about projects that I wanted to make sure everyone knew about, or wanted to be able to put into context. It's easy for those of us following local architecture closely to assume everyone knows these things already, but I wanted to, at certain points, pause to let the audience have some context about what the architect was referring to.

The layout Design Within Reach relating to the audience and sight lines to the speakers is out of my jurisdiction. But it's a little funny for me to imagine you'd prefer a folding chair to, say, a thousand dollar sofa. That said, I realize the layout for an inverview session is kind of funny. We mistakenly thought, apparently, that people would find this to be a casual environment that didn't try to be the standard lecture-hall feel.

As for your point about my not being prepared, I think you're half-right. I didn't prepare an official list of questions to read off. I talked with the three architects in advance about how I wanted to go into their backgrounds a little but, then take a look at some images of their work and finally, time permitting, ask them some more stuff about Portland and design in general. The slides portion, as so often happens with these events, took too long, so I had to drop some of my other planned questions. And those questions were very detailed and thought out, Gloria!!!

If any of you have constructive criticisms about the Designs on Portland series, I/we absolutely want to hear it. At the same time, this was only the second event in the series, so we're still working out how to best present things. Additionally, we've felt a commitment to keeping the conversations casual and unrehearsed. That decision the interviewees supported, and it's something I won't apologize for.

But again, overall, thanks Gloria for the mostly very valid and helpful insights.


I was there last night and have a different take. Being completely new to the architecture scene (and needing to bone up on it very quickly for my latest gig), I really appreciated your pauses for context. At the very least, it was the hospitable thing to do. Public speakers do have a responsibility to play the good host and not make assumptions about the audience.

Regarding the presentation itself, I'm sure people came with different expectations. What are the "real issues"? What is "serious talk"? I'm not trying to make light of those comments, just saying it's subjective and in order to manage expectations, that needs to be quantified for the presenters and the moderator. And that's something that can be informed through input from participants and attendees. Maybe DWA can do an online survey to its database.

From a slide presentation standpoint -- has anyone ever tried to get highly creative (and busy) people to provide organized content on deadline? In light of those circumstances, I would deem last night a rousing success.

It was clear to me that you knew your topic and interview subjects (and they you) well enough to take the fireside chat approach.

I just want to underscore the context that this was FREE (with food and wine to boot), still in its inaugural stages in a generously donated space, put together by volunteers to benefit this community. I think it's the start of something exciting and I look forward to more of it.


I too attended this event and I'm with Gloria on some of her points: the issues of disorganization and editorializing.
It's up to Brian to ensure that the discussion goes smoothly. If that means he needs to assembly the slides from images provided by the architects (eh-hem) or have the architects provide the images in show format, so be it. Having the slides ready to pop does nothing to undermine the "casual and unrehearsed" nature of the setting and proceedings. The notion that slide show prep would be overly taxing or beyond the pale is silly. Wpa and Skylab know their way around power point. Drag, drop, shuffle. The architects would agree, I'm sure.

Now, as moderator, Brian does need to find his place. His editorializing was too much. True, Brian must have his eye on a complete conversation, back-story and all. But I submit that this is best done by prompting the architects to fill in those back stories themselves.

As for setting, audibility, and visibility; i found the setting very comfortable. Brian is right to have fostered such a colloquial atmosphere and I applaud him for it. I think Mr. microphone's failing was user error. Bill, Carrie, please remember to swallow the mic. I'm sure they'll do better next time.

All in all it was a great night and I'm as thoroughly impressed with these people as I am with their work.


I have some additional feelings about this. But perhaps now would be a good time to step back and not "editorialize" any further.


Feelings, eh? So, would you say that's passive-aggressive or sarcastic? Just razzin' ya Brian.

I was there and I think it came off great. Super, in fact. Well done, Brian. Great job Jeff, Bill, and Carrie.


Good cheap venues are tough to come by. Too small, fire traps, or poorly situated for fireside chats with visual aids. PSU's architecture dept is in the midst of remodel, UO Portland has new spaces, PNCA has a large space. An online catalog of spaces seems in order.

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