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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THA Field Trip!

by Daniel Childs

Last week, our entire office got to step away from our desks, hop on a bus, and take an all-day field trip to see some of THA’s finished projects. We were fortunate to have most of our Principals on board, including THA’s founding principal, Thom Hacker (and his wife, Margaret). Without email, Revit, or ringing phones, it was nice to spend time with co-workers outside of our project teams and daily office rituals.

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Reflections on a Practicum at THA

by Higinio Turrubiates

Beyond the classroom.

As part of my final year at the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture, I had the opportunity to pursue work as a practicum student for six months before I graduate in May. That I was able to pursue this opportunity with any firm in the country was extremely daunting and I didn’t know where to start. Initially, I thought I would take this opportunity to work in Chicago or on the East Coast, but quickly my research changed my mind. As I began to notice that different regions of the country have certain architectural styles and that I was drawn to the projects found in the West and Northwest, I decided to focus there, and ended up at THA. Read more


From the Vaults: Columbia Gorge Discovery Center

by Sarah Bell

I recently came across this Oregonian article, and was immediately brought back to 1997 on the opening day for this museum and interpretive center located in The Dalles, Oregon. I’ll get to the building in a moment, but first let’s just consider that its location – on a bluff in the Columbia River Gorge – is nothing short of transcendent. The power of this place, and the 10,000-year history of the Columbia Basin, is all felt on this site. And almost 20 years after my first experience at this place, I can still feel the emotion of opening day of the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Wasco County Historical Museum.

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Meet Wyoming Artist, Shelby Shadwell

by Nic Smith

While it was recorded back in January of 2012, about the time we were wrapping up the University of Wyoming’s new Visual Arts Facility, I have only recently discovered an interview with Shelby Shadwell on the Studio Break podcast. Studio Break is an interview-format show, with the intent to continue the types of discussions artists have in studio about what they’re creating and how they are creating – to illuminate how visual artists maintain a studio practice.

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GSA Laredo - Valley Hydrology Graphic Sketch (Medium)

A Smattering of Sketches | Round 2

by Audrey Alverson

From sketchbook notes to napkin-style drawings to playing with color, it all happens. Please enjoy a peek into our sketchbook.

And if you missed the last round of sketches we posted, take a look.

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Raku Firing at the Kiln Yard

by Alex Zelaya

A few weeks ago, Portland Community College celebrated the opening of their new kiln yard designed by THA. The ceramics faculty, PCC staff, Pacificmark Construction, and members of the community gathered together at the newly minted arts facility.

The Kiln Yard project marks an exciting step forward for the college’s Visual Arts Program. The new structure, which is located directly adjacent to the ceramic studios, provides a covered shelter that unites the kilns and workspaces that were previously scattered amongst an open gravel yard. Students now have access to all new kilns, including a wood-fired and a soda gas kiln which will be built by students, as well as a Bailey downdraft kiln and an Olympic Raku kiln.

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From the Vaults: Beaverton City Library

by Sarah Bell

I recently worked on a presentation that included a case-study of the Beaverton City Library, the City of Beaverton’s main library designed by THA and completed in 2000. While crafting the story, I struggled to come up with words to properly articulate the experience of walking into the library’s expansive second floor reading room.

Inspiring? Uplifting? Awakening? The words all felt trite.

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