Sarah Bell

Sarah Bell
An Oregon native born into a family steeped in architecture and design, Sarah has been with Hacker since 2001. Her career in marketing for the architecture industry grew out of a passion for architecture but an early realization that she does not possess enough left-brain talent to be a good architect. As Marketing Director, Sarah is a tenacious advocate for evolving the firm while honoring its origins. In her role she develops and supports the firm’s marketing strategies and facilitates business development activities. This obliges her to wear many hats – writer, planner, (arm-chair) graphic designer, researcher, coach, disciple, and mentor. Her belief in Hacker’s work, values, and people is the driving inspiration for all her business activities. Sarah has three sons, and little spare time. When she does have a little time, she loves walking, talking, and movies.

Posts by Sarah Bell

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Why Hacker Started Paying for Parental Leave

by Sarah Bell

This year, Hacker implemented a new paid parental leave policy, covering six weeks at full salary for birth mothers and about four and ½ weeks full salary for a spouse of the parent who gives birth (adoptive parents get the same). This is in addition to the flexible paid time off granted to every Hacker employee.

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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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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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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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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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Hacker’s New Director of Interior Design

by Sarah Bell

Last month we welcomed Jennifer Fowler as Hacker’s Director of Interior Design. The appointment reflects an ongoing strategic initiative to enhance our offering of integrated architectural and interior design services. We sat down with Jennie to talk about the relationship between architecture and interiors and her vision for Hacker.

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From the Vaults: Lewis & Clark Signature Project

by Sarah Bell

I recently ran across this article from SustainableBusiness.com – Which Universities Are the Greenest? – featuring Sierra Club’s annual “Cool Schools” ranking. I was surprised to see only one Pacific Northwest higher education institution on the list, but happy that Portland’s Lewis & Clark College ranked Number 5. As Lewis & Clark is one of THA’s earliest academic clients, reading this article inspired me to write about our early work there for our next From the Vaults post.

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From the Vaults: Arizona Historical Society Museum

by Sarah Bell

As THA turns 31 years-old this year, we want to honor our roots through a monthly post featuring past projects. Our first “From the Vaults” project is the Arizona Historical Society Museum, a winning entry in a national design competition that put THA Architecture (then Garfield Hacker Architects) on the map in the fall of 1985.

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No Brand is the New Brand

by Sarah Bell

Wired recently ran this article on Starbucks’ new design strategy for some of their stores. In a nutshell, Starbucks is creating stores that are designed to reflect the local culture around the store’s physical location, rather than just reflecting Starbucks. The desired result being that Starbucks should feel like your local corner coffee shop, not the generic corporate chain people perceived it as following its mega-expansion across the world. It’s a fascinating move, one that has already produced spectacular design results.*

But what does this move say about the nature of brand today?

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