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History Revealed in Laredo, Texas

by Jackie Santa Lucia

In the middle of digging footings for the new Vehicle Processing Building at the U.S. Port of Entry in Laredo, Texas, we discovered an underground sandstone brick structure. While it’s unclear what exactly the structure was,  an 8’ wide by at least 20’ deep opening has relics of terracotta piping, indicating it was used for water collection. Though the structure was for utilitarian purposes, the craft of the brick is magnificent.

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A Saturday with Lou

by Scott Barton-Smith

Nearly half of the Hacker team caravanned north to attend the final day of the Bellevue Arts Museum’s retrospective Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture on April 30th. Although the exhibit includes video interviews of notable architects enthusing Kahn’s work, we had a more interactive guide. Our firm founder Thom Hacker gave us a personalized tour of the exhibit, which includes several projects on which Thom collaborated with his mentor “Lou.” The exhibit features many models and drawings prepared by Kahn’s office spanning projects from the Esherick House to more well know works like The Salk Institute, The Kimbell Art Museum, and the National Assembly Building in Dhaka. The exhibit even includes a full scale reproduction of the famous window seat designed for the Fisher house. Much of this material has not seen the light of day since Kahn’s death and it is remarkable that the large yet delicate cardboard, clay, and wood models survived.

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University of Wyoming Visual Arts Facility Wins COTE Award

by Nic Smith

Hacker is a proud recipient of a 2016 AIA COTE Top Ten Green Projects award for University of Wyoming’s Visual Arts Facility (VAF), a pioneering LEED Platinum facility that has shaped a new approach to health, safety, and sustainability in arts education. The 80,000-SF building consolidates the University’s fine arts program from its scattered locations, establishing a central component of the campus’s new arts district. It also marks a turning point in the campus’s thinking about environmental responsibility. Read more

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From the Vaults: High Desert Museum

by Sarah Bell

When the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Central Oregon’s New Home had its dedication last year, I drove to Bend for the day with my two youngest boys, who were both under 5 years old. I arrived several hours before the dedication with both boys needing to expend energy built up over the 3-hour car ride. Not having planned on it, I took them to the High Desert Museum – not because I wanted to show them a Hacker building, but because I knew it would wear them out.

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Designing for Design Schools: What type of collaboration space works?

by Becca Cavell

We’re excited to be working right now with UC Davis on the renovation of the north wing of Cruess Hall – a rather industrial 1950s building that will house screening rooms, labs, and maker spaces for the Cinema & Digital Media and Industrial Design programs. Some of these spaces will be quite industrial themselves, and seem a fitting use for the currently vacant building.  As we begin to look for case studies to inform our work, our client shared this video from Stanford’s D-School, showing 10 days in the life of the D’s central collaboration space. It’s time-lapse, and takes just four minutes to view – and it demonstrates how a very utilitarian space can be the beating heart of an institution if you plan it right, furnish it right, and relax a bit.

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Denny Hall Finally Gets Its Due

by Stephanie Shradar

At the University of Washington, Denny Hall has been awaiting revitalization for nearly a decade. During that time, Hacker has been working on and off again to get UW the final product. The project has gone through funding stalls and starts; the design firm has gone through two name changes; and the building has patiently awaited its new core.

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Hacker is Carbon Neutral

by Sarah Post-Holmberg

Hacker was founded on the idea that architecture should be in service to community. For over three decades the firm has designed enduring spaces that inspire people to contribute to positive cultural change. This guiding vision extends beyond humanity to encompass the natural world and the diversity of species it supports. Over the years, Hacker has developed an aesthetic for buildings that interact dynamically with their surroundings and make humble use of the earth’s resources. Through research, conference engagement, and continuing education, we continue to refine our design process, detailing, and material choices to reflect our priority of preserving the well-being of all life systems on our planet.

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Building Community: PCC Cascade’s New Student Union

by Nick Hodges

As higher-education institutions rapidly adapt their curricula and campuses to accommodate new models of learning, the line between places for studying and socializing, learning and leisure time has become blurred, to say the least. We’ve written about how that transition has prompted big changes in the conception and design of libraries, but it’s also led colleges and universities to reconsider the traditional role of the student union.

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THA Architecture is now Hacker

by Sarah Bell

Today we announce a new firm name, which both honors the legacy of our founder, Thomas Hacker, and marks a new chapter for the firm.

In the words of Becca Cavell, our managing principal: “Hacker is moving in exciting new directions, but at the same time we remain deeply rooted in Thom’s founding vision of creating beautiful spaces that enrich the world – spaces that are authentic expressions of their purpose and place.”

We are excited about the future, and are so pleased to say:

We are Hacker.

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From the Vaults: OHSU’s BICC

by Sarah Bell

Of all the potential projects that I could write about for these “From the Vaults” blog posts, Oregon Health & Sciences University’s Biomedical Information Communications Center (BICC, for short) is the one I’ve been most intimidated by. Mostly because it is one of my all-time favorite projects, in addition to being the first large education project completed by the firm (the building opened in 1991). It’s not a stretch to say that winning the commission in 1987 and subsequent completion of the building was seminal in the formation of THA. The firm was just 4 years old, and the 81,000 sf building’s wide acclaim put the firm on the map, led directly to another large project at OHSU (the School of Nursing), and laid the track for nearly 40 higher education buildings completed since the BICC’s opening.

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