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UW Bothell Science Building – Revealed!

by Audrey Alverson

Check out this great time-lapse video of the scaffolding coming down from our University of Washington Bothell Science & Academic Building. The project is expected to be complete in the spring, and open for classes Fall of 2014.

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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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The Perils of “Glitz” in Information Design

by Nic Smith

Last week Edward Tufte, a professor emeritus of political science, statistics, and computer science at Yale University, visited Portland to give one of his storied courses – Presenting Data and Information. I had the opportunity to take this six-hour course, absorbing all I could from this legend of information design.

The take home message, as old as time itself: Content is key.

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The Library You Haven’t Heard About

by Audrey Alverson

An obvious first step in the process of designing any building is to first define what it is at its core: How will it be used by the people who will spend time in it? As designers of libraries, this is a question THA staff grapple with frequently. Library programs and needs are in a state of flux right now, largely due to ever-evolving technology. The old adage of a library simply being a place to check out books no longer paints the complete picture.

And yet sometimes maybe it’s worth taking a step back – perhaps way back – to the origins of an idea or place, a library in this instance. Regardless of technological changes, libraries are still about information and education – which can and do (at least in part) still come from books.

But what about the homeless population – many of whom don’t have identification and proof of address and therefore can’t use public library services? How can a library serve these people who are pushed to the margins in more ways than we often realize?

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THA and PSU Collaborate on Wind Tunnel Testing

by Miguel Hidalgo

Taking advantage of an opportunity to partner within our community, THA is collaborating with a team of Portland State University’s Architecture and Engineering students on the design of certain elements within a Land Port of Entry facility in Laredo, Texas. The student team’s goal is to investigate the impact of building mass, canopy shape and site wall height on wind direction and speed. THA’s design team and the student team worked together during the fall 2012 semester to develop site scale and building scale models for testing within the University’s wind tunnel laboratory. The results of these studies will inform the development of the project design as it proceeds from the schematic design to the design development phase.

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THA + PSU Research Collaboration Update

by Miguel Hidalgo

As a continuation of our ongoing research relationship with Portland State University, we’ve just begun another student / design team investigative session. The purpose of this collaboration is to give PSU architectural and engineering students the opportunity to engage in research on real projects that supports specific sustainability goals. On the other side, our design teams hope to gain timely and specific knowledge to enhance project design.

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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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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

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Re-imagining Portland’s Grant High School in 100 years

by Laurie Canup

What will Portland look like in 100 years? What does resiliency mean and how does it apply to Portland’s schools? What climate issues will we face in the next century?

Several of us here at THA formed a team to learn about these challenges and design solutions to address them last week, in a “Design Slam Competition” at the AIA Center for Architecture.

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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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