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I feel your pain Brian. I imagine that the reason that the downtown stores are as nice as they are is due to design review guidelines. The Pearl district store is not too bad either. It is all about control with these big corporate deals and the management thinks they know what good design is. Safeway is no alone by any means. Just look around and you will see many corporate stores that all look like suburban tumors in our urban landscape. As architects, we need to work harder to motivate these companies to strive to make better buildings. Not any easy task.
I would also like to see Apple have a more prominent retail face downtown as well. However, having seen the leaked design drawing, I am very concerned. Why the suburban approach in this very urban location? I can't believe they can get this through design review. If they do, it is because they have strong armed the city. For a company that is all about design, it is a shame that they are proposing such a singularity for downtown Portland. Do we need to beg? I will beg... Apple, please do better than this!
I am sure that there are folks who will roll their eyes at the mention of an EcoDistrict, but any project that wants to implement sustainable design is good in my book. This will be intimidating to some developers, but the savvy ones will know that a premium can easily be put on green development that will attract big business. The reality is that all districts school be EcoDistricts, but we need to do what we can. It will be interesting to see how this works out.
It is interesting to see what real estate students are dreaming up. I kept looking for a mention of the design team that came up with the designs for these proposals but did not see anything. Did the students do the design work and illustrations themselves? While it is hard to completely understand the concept from a 3D aerial, the design/concept seems to lack vision. This looks like a suburban business park proposal and not an urban infill idea. Why not engage the architecture school at PSU in this project? (Maybe they did, don't know). I find, as architects, we are kept out of the financial design for developments. Too often the developer keeps their pro-forma to themselves and does not give the architect the insight of the financial end of things. Usually, we are told that the project is over budget, without knowing what the real cost model is. I think that it would be beneficial to the developer to include the architect in the financial end of the process.
I will tell you that unless a serious financial investment is made, an accurate historic replica is not possible. It does not pencil out for any developer to make this kind of investment. I will tell you that creating a Disneyland like simulation is not a proper way to make a city.
I am all for preserving and adapting historic buildings and neighborhoods. I think that maintaining a proper scale, material palette and sensitivity to the historic context is a good thing. I am absolutely against the overt replication of a historic style. We do not have the ability, at least without significant expense, to properly recreate these wonderful old buildings. Most of the attempts at simulation that I have seen are poor at best. Cities need layers. New buildings should be sensitive in scale and materials and should help delineate the sense of history. I think the Hacker design fits well in these respects. It is contemporary yet blends well with the context.
This is a handsome project. I have pointed the building out to friends and they are usually very surprised that this is a facility that will support homeless folks. Great job to the design team. My hope is that this facility along with the medical building a few blocks away will help give some relief to the desperate people around town. It is too bad that we can't help people before they get to the state that I see all too often around downtown. Places like this will possibly give them some hope of a better life. The lack of affordable housing, medical and mental health insurance and education is absurd in this country. Nobody should have to suffer like this. Homelessness is often equated with laziness, which is a fallacy. Ok, that is the sad part, but I do appreciate this project for it's compassionate and hopeful reality.
The exterior is intriguing. The interior rendering is unfortunate as it has an awkward, fractured feel to it and I don't think that it portrays the sense of light very well. The lack of guardrails on the stairs is disconcerting. Anyway, best of luck to Allied Works.
I'm still confused. What is the status of the project? Did someone make a decision to restore the building? Is there room for a developer to fly in and make it a water park? I think that the building should be kept as is and used for events. It has been shown that this is an architectural landmark for Portland, love it or hate it. Improve the land around it, get good events, people will come.
Wes, Actually, we do need to worry about buildings like this. Like I said earlier, there is a whole generation of buildings that will need attention. If they are public buildings, the historic relevance will need to be addressed. If they are private buildings we will need to weight the value of keeping them as is, modifying or demolishing them. It will be interesting...
And so it begins... There are a whole generation of buildings like this. They do have a "simple grandness", but the desire to make this kind of architectural statement resulted in hard, cold, closed and austere buildings. Any public building of this vintage (over 50 years old) will need be required to have a historic review. My fear is that preservationists will be too dogmatic with respect to these oppressive structures. I feel and need to preserve some of the better examples of this style but leaving the potential for modifying the majority to make them more inviting and useable. Other than architects and preservationists, there will be few champions for these brutal buildings as they stand. The massive nature of these buildings will lends itself to natural ventilation because of their thermal mass. If we can open them up more then they could have a new, healthy life. They are big and use a lot of material and it would be foolish to not use the existing structures. So, to sum up...Save the "good" examples and reuse and open the rest. Great photos from Mr. Ginn as usual. The photo documentation is a great asset for the design community.
As usual, this is getting ridiculous. Why allow development if the city puts up such a fight? I am all for historic preservation and contextual design, but there is a point where there are just too many people giving input and wasting time and money. About the design...why just a contrived approach? Why can't we have some creative, forward looking ideas even in a historic district? As for the "canyon of shadows", that is what most of the apartment buildings in the area have to come to terms with. I feel for the historic apartments that are adjacent, but if the zoning allows for development, then unfortunately there are concessions. The other option is for the city (or developer)to buy the historic site and keep it as it is, which I assume will not pencil or someone would have done this. While I don't particularly like the design, I do appreciate the front entry and the scale of the building seems right. Stop wasting time and money and either build it or don't build it! This is why it is so hard to get anything of worth built in this town!
The renderings are pretty. At first I thought that I was looking at two different schemes, mistaking the South and the North facades as different version. I understand the south facade is doing different work than the north, but they seem too disparate. The south side seems like a suburban office building. I would like to see more of what is happening at the street level to get a better idea of the urban scale here. Part of the issue is trying to use the funky piece of land where the street car cuts through. The building will cast a big shadow to the north, which seems to go against good solar siting principles. Having worked on partnered architectural projects before, I imagine that there have been some challenges within the GBD/SERA team. This, unfortunately, is evident in the somewhat schizophrenic design. I think the design could be greatly simplified and I know there are a lot of smart, creative people on the team who can make it right. The renderings make it look somewhat finalized and I hope there is some room for improvement. There will be a lot of eyes on this one and I wish the team the best of luck.
I am seriously getting sick and tired of these kinds of projects. The architectural language is dead and it is as if there was no attempt to look at anything other than the bland "base-middle-top" b.s. that so many Portland buildings are using. This says nothing about the alternative culture that existed on the site and nothing about modern culture, just a dumbed down regurgitation of the past. With that said, I understand the complexities of working for developers and public agencies, but we have got to do better. LRS, you can do better.
How much more will the cable stayed bridge cost? Is it like 2% more? It would be a shame to condemn the bridge to a life of ugliness for a few points. Everything building project that I am working on comes down to cost and while I understand the problem, making bad design decisions now will just come back to haunt us later.
I have to admit that going through design review is a frustrating thing. As the architect, we often feel caught in the middle. It is good that they have sorted things out. The building design seems properly subdued and should fit in well. I do have a bigger problem with the services that are being offered. I am seeing many new projects that will provide either housing, food or medical services for the homeless. I hope that these places also offer a way off the street. Do they address problems of drug and alcohol addiction? Do they provide job training? How about treatment for mental illness? I feel like the problem of homelessness needs to be addressed on the national level, requiring equal attention given across all states. The more Portland is "kind" and provides these basic services, the more homeless the city will attract. I work downtown and see way too many pan handlers, walking wounded and aimless teens hanging around. It is very sad and I feel powerless to help. Mostly, I am tired of it and want someone to get these folks sorted out and made to be useful members of society. Oops, that sounds cruel, but I am frustrated by the whole mess.
It is unfortunate that the development is happening in this way. I can imagine that the apartments need a lot of work to get them properly restored and I am glad that the materials will be re-purposed. It would be nice to save them, but the cost of doing so would be too great for the return, I assume. Demolishing the Galaxy is a shame on many levels. It is an interesting prototype building that is worth saving. I hate to see the funky/cool Galaxy replaced with an ugly, uncreative, contrived suburban building as shown in the proposed elevation. Why only build a one story in an urban setting? Dumb on many levels and a waste.
Kengo Kuma is a perfect choice and the Japanese garden (and Portland) will be lucky to have him contribute. It will be great to visit the gardens again with the bonus of a well designed building. This will really freshen up the place. I am already looking forward to a visit!
I think that the design of the Knight Arena is very Nike and very TVA. It is a beautiful example of the kind of work that Bod Thompson and his team produce. Like ZGF's contributions to campus, the Knight arena is a glorious tribute to sport. I do wish that the same detail and care (and funding) could be applied to the schools academic buildings as well. I know that sports are an important part of the school and should be, but it seems to overshadow the importance of academics, especially with these new sports focus monuments. Brian, I understand your desire on the curtain wall. They cost of doing what you are imagining would double or triple the cost of the curtain wall, especially of one of this size. The Euro stile structural glass walls are super pricey and keep in mind that those columns and cross members are supporting the wind load on the skin. Building a cantilever column structure with long span roof members adds to the cost as well. We fight our battles.
I wanted to thank you for such in depth reviews of the Portland schools. Matthew Ginn certainly makes them all look good. It would be a shame to destroy Marshall. I think that the building has some interesting features that are worth preserving and if we hang on to it for another five years then it will be eligible for the historic register. I don't know that I agree that Franklin is the best example and Marshall is the worst because they both have good and bad elements.
I don't know if I would call the front insulting to the neighbors. There is an honesty about the inward focus of the home. Unfortunately, these "tract" home developments are still very focused on the automobile. I appreciate that it is not another hodgepodge of styles and like the modern approach. The raised courtyard is nice and is another indicator of the inward nature of the home. So, I dig this design, but it may be just the lesser of two evils. Until we really are able to persuade the market that we need to be focusing on community design then developers will keeps building tract homes.
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Nov 12, 2010