[Editor’s Note: This post was written by Edward Gunts and James Russiello.]
The Portland Building, once considered for demolition, will be spared from the wrecking ball and renovated, according to its architect. Michael Graves, the building’s architect, said in late November that city officials have decided to renovate it for continued use as municipal offices and have asked him to serve on a committee that will coordinate the redesign effort. AN spoke to Graves at a symposium organized by the Architectural League of New York.
“It’s going to be saved,” Graves said. “They told me… They said they are saving the building and not only that but we want you to sit on a committee for the redesign.” Graves added that a time frame for the work has not been set but “I would imagine in the next year we’ll do something.” Dana Haynes, communications director for Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, confirmed that the Portland Building is not under threat of demolition and will continue to house city employees. He said Portland’s annual capital budget process will begin in January and city officials likely will begin to look at what resources the city might have to address flaws with the building at that time. Haynes said he was not aware that Graves had been asked to serve on a commission to help oversee work on the building, but he said he thought that made sense.
San Francisco’s deputy mayor for transportation—who played an integral role in getting the city to tear down the Embarcadero Freeway after the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake—passed away on July 30th. He was 68. After the earthquake struck the city, Wright convinced former San Francisco mayor, Art Agnos, to help lead the effort to remove the highway and replace it—not with another highway, but instead with a boulevard at street level.
The AIA’s Committee on the Environment (COTE) has announced the winners of its annual sustainability awards program. Now in its 18th year, the COTE awards celebrate green architecture, design, and technology. According to a press release, the winning projects must “make a positive contribution to their communities, improve comfort for building occupants and reduce environmental impacts.”
Each of the ten winners will be officially honored at the AIA’s National Convention and Design Exhibition in Chicago later this year, but, in the meantime, here’s a closer look at the 10 winners.
Apex: Tip Toland
Portland Art Museum
1219 SW Park Avenue
Through May 11
Washington-based artist Tip Toland creates larger than life figures with painfully accurate details that highlight her subjects’ imperfections: wrinkles, sunspots, and other blemishes. Toland’s work has always dealt with figurative subject matter, though her approach has ranged from the surreal to the super-real. This exhibition focuses on the plight of albino children in Africa, many of whom face a never-ending nightmare of bigoted, superstitious persecution at the hand of the communities into which they are born. Deeply rooted in psychology, Toland’s carefully crafted portraits seek to disturb viewers, teasing out their deepest human sympathies only to clobber them with the cudgel of political subtext. The artist has said that her work “softens our hearts to what we are afraid of.” Unflinching in the face of terrible realities, it is certainly provocative.
Los Angeles isn’t the only city exploring freeway caps. In effort to bring more green space to the west side of the City of Roses, the Portland chapter of the American Institute of Architects is hosting a competition, STITCH. They are calling designers to submit their ideas for capping a portion of I-405 between downtown and the city’s Goose Hollow neighborhood.
The Architecture and Legacy of Pietro Belluschi
Oregon Historical Society
1200 Southwest Park Avenue
Through September 9
Shortly after migrating from Italy in 1922 and graduating from Cornell, Pietro Belluschi began practicing architecture in Portland with A. E. Doyle. He would quickly become one of the most important architects in America, first building churches, homes, and office buildings in Oregon and later throughout the country. Belluschi’s early work in Oregon contributed to the style of Pacific Northwest Regionalism, reflecting the influence of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Arts and Crafts movement as well as the nascent modernist style. In 1951, when he became dean of the School of Architecture and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Belluschi continued to innovate in the field of modernism by collaborating with firms on buildings around the country. For the first time, Belluschi’s contributions to architecture will be exhibited along with personal mementos from the Belluschi Family archive.
Corey Martin, co-founder of Portland-based PATH Architecture (we featured their Butler Residence in our pages a little while back) has left the five-person firm to become a principal at 45-person Portland firm THA Architecture. Martin worked at Richard Potestio and Allied Works prior to starting PATH in 2005 with partner Ben Kaiser. The firm has gone on to produce critically acclaimed projects ranging from the Park Box multi-family residence to a locker room for the University of Oregon.
Safer at night. Two design students at Carnegie Mellon University created a functional and graceful lighting system for bikers that enhances side visibility at night. The LED lights that line the wheel rims, are powered by pedaling and change colors depending on speed. Bloggers at Greater Greater Washington have posted a video of the lights in action.
Convenient Cities. What makes a city “convenient”? According to a study published by The Street, factors include walkability, public transportation, and amenity proximity. Their city ranking, using data from Walk Score, Zillow and APTA, put Boston, New York, Denver, Portland, and Chicago at the top.
Olympic Pollution. A documentary by filmmaker Faisal Abdu’Allah, Double Pendulum, examines the harmful effects of pollution on East London residents and athletes, The Guardian says. Abdu’Allah cautions that poor air quality in East London may threaten athletes’ performances in the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Designer Chocolates. PSFK reports that researchers in a joint program between the University of Exeter, the University of Brunel, and Delam, a software developer, have created a printer that turns 3D CAD designs into ready-made chocolates. An upcoming retail site will allow the public to upload original designs.