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Behind the Lens: Photographing Discovery Hall

by JD Gutermuth

When done well, a photograph can tell the story of a place – and as architects, we rely on images to tell our stories, to show people what we do. The art of architectural photography lies in being able to compose the photograph in a way that captures the essence, atmosphere, and beauty of the building. This takes precision, an incredible eye for design, and loads of patience.

I recently had the opportunity to assist at an architectural shoot, and take a look behind the lens as THA’s just-completed Discovery Hall (at University of Washington Bothell) was being photographed by Lara Swimmer, a Seattle-based photographer.

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Construction Update: In a pure existential, experiential being kind of way.

by Nic Smith

As the air cools and winter approaches, our construction team – led by Kirby Nagelhout Construction Co. – is closing in on completion of the New Home for the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Central Oregon in Bend. With the building fully dried in, the exterior siding starting to fly, and stone site walls underway, a more complete picture of how the building coalesces with the site is emerging.

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Technology in Classrooms: In or Out?

by Becca Cavell

I just read this fascinating article thanks to a link that SCUP sent out to its members a few days ago. The piece, by NYU educator Clay Shirky, explains why a social media expert has banned the use of technology in his own classroom. As architects, much of our work in recent years has been trying to find effective ways to integrate technology into the classroom environment, so it is refreshing to pause for a moment and consider the relationship between effective learning and our human nature with technology. Shirky shows us that device designers and social media providers take advantage of our biological make-up to deliver “can’t ignore” messages – the sounds and visuals that emanate from our iPhones are a constant distraction from concentrated study. This probably isn’t a revelation to any of us, but when Shirky talks about the science that shows how students’ test scores diminish when they are simply within view of another person’s web browsing, we have to pay attention.

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The Great Debate of 2014: What’s next for the Portland Building?

by Audrey Alverson

When I heard Michael Graves would be in Portland to discuss the Portland Building, there was no question that I would be there. I was excited to gain perspective on this oft maligned and (most recently) hotly debated City building directly from its designer, and I knew this would be a quality production, with Randy Gragg (not one for shying away from the tough questions) as the facilitator.

After introductions, Graves started with a presentation of his body of work – immense as it is. Randy stated clearly he wanted to give some context to the audience’s perception of Graves and what he has done beyond the Portland Building. I appreciated this because knowing Randy, I assumed it was a little bit of a dig at the Portland public’s derision of Graves. Maybe we didn’t all have enough information to criticize so harshly?

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