519

To Go or Not to Go?

by Sarah Bell

The “Go/No Go” decision at an architecture, engineering or construction firm is arguably one of the most important and challenging marketing decisions a company faces. For the uninitiated, “Go/No Go” decisions simply refer to a firm’s decision to go after a project or not. It can happen as early as when one first hears about a project (even if it is years off), or it most typically happens when the Request for Qualifications or Proposals hits the street. Some firms have an incredibly rigorous process, answering dozens of questions, and assigning points to them that equate to a “Go” or “No Go” answer. On the opposite side of the spectrum, firm leaders loosely debate the proposed project and make their decision based on what their “gut” tells them. Either extremes can be flawed – one might be too rigid, not allowing for nuances or variance, while the other relies more on emotion than logic. So how does a firm implement and execute an effective “Go/No Go” process?

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502

Open your windows and let that fresh air in!

by Laurie Canup

For projects located in moderate climates that are striving to meet aggressive energy reduction goals, natural ventilation is a must. But implementing natural ventilation will introduce potentially humid air to interior spaces, which can be problematic. At Scripps Institute of Oceanography’s new MESOM laboratory project, offices and workspaces utilize operable windows to meet their primary ventilation requirements, leaving only the internally located laboratories requiring mechanical ventilation. To facilitate cross ventilation, we organized the building into a narrow bar and provided ample operable windows and large doors which open onto exterior work areas. The scientists at MESOM often work between their exterior work yard and their interior labs to prepare scientific instruments which go out to sea. Large open doors facilitate their workflow and allow breezes into the building.

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488

National Issues for an Evolving Architecture Profession

by Stefee Knudsen

Through my involvement as President-Elect of the Portland chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), I had the opportunity to attend the annual Grassroots Leadership Conference in March, and attended several presentations on the changing climate for the architecture profession.

The AIA was founded in 1857 – a very different time than the fast, complex, technology-driven and interconnected world of today. Who could have imagined how drastically the world would change in the next 150 years? The AIA’s original mission has remained the same:  to “promote the scientific and practical perfection of its members” and “elevate the standing of the profession.” However, the changing needs of the profession, our practice, and our challenges necessitate some profound changes to our professional association, if it is to remain relevant and valuable to its members.

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470

PCC’s Academic Building Exceeds 2030 Target

by Nick Hodges

As sustainable initiatives and energy efficiency become more the norm than the exception – often design drivers even in budget-constrained public projects – sustainable solutions must respond to the need for simplicity and cost-effectiveness. Portland Community College’s and THA’s commitment to affordable sustainability is demonstrated in the new 45,000 square foot three-story academic building at the Cascade Campus in North Portland. Recently completed modeling projects the new facility, which includes classrooms, faculty workspace, informal student learning spaces, a child development center and space for programs whose mission is promoting educational opportunities, will be 73% more energy efficient than the national average for this type of building.

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450

Today’s Library: Flexibility Required

by Laura Klinger

Library services are changing quickly. Advances in technology are affecting the ways people want to connect to information and culture. The shift of emphasis to online resources over hardcopies, the growth of mobile technologies and changing models of studying and learning are pushing libraries to provide a memorable patron experience. In order to stay relevant, libraries must embrace technology, be future thinking and excite and inspire their visitors.

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429

30 million Uzbeks can’t be wrong

by Jonah Cohen

As part of my participation on the Advisory Board of First Stop Portland, I am occasionally asked to meet with visitors or public officials who have come to Portland to learn from our experience. First Stop Portland is run through Portland State University and their mission “To Connect Global Leaders with Local Innovators” translates into well-run densely packed tours.

Recently I had the great experience of meeting with three TV journalists from Tashkent, Uzbekistan who were visiting Portland to document stories on “ecological advances in the US.” Uzbekistan lies at the heart of the Central Asia — one of only two doubly-landlocked countries in the world (the other is Liechtenstein) and a gateway to Iran and Afghanistan. Uzbekistan also happens to be one of the most environmentally degraded countries in the world. Decades of questionable Soviet policies in pursuit of greater cotton production have resulted in a catastrophic situation. The Aral Sea used to be the fourth-largest inland sea on Earth but has now shrunk to less than 50% of its former area.

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403

Civic Design: A Special Reward + Award

by Audrey Alverson

The feeling of accomplishment that comes from designing successful civic projects is deeply related to the impact the work can make for public agencies and users. And even though designing civic buildings can present special challenges – funding constraints, public involvement and outreach – the work is often extremely rewarding. With a history steeped in creating public buildings and spaces, we at THA have deep respect for the public institutions that see benefit in investing in quality design for their projects – and in turn, we value our opportunities to work with them.

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375

Talking in Code

by Becca Cavell

Sometimes professionals seem to go out of their way to talk in code – and architects are no exception. During presentations to lay-people we’ll often sprinkle our discussions with words like “fenestration” and “masonry cladding” when simpler terms such as “window” and “brick wall” will do just fine. It’s not intellectual superiority that causes this speech defect….it’s simply that sometimes we know an awful lot about certain subjects and forget that not everyone is privy to the same jargon. Sometimes we just need to get the right perspective on the context of a conversation – taking time to do this can profoundly influence the outcome of any given meeting and it’s well worth the effort. I’m going to use a few examples to illustrate ways we can simplify our language and better engage our clients:

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360

Women in Architecture: Go west, young woman!

by Laurie Canup

Denise Scott Brown, one of my early heroines and a successful woman-architect, has recently been the subject of a flurry of discussion in the architectural community. A group of female students from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design has petitioned to have Scott Brown’s name retroactively added to the 1991 Pritzker Prize awarded to her long-time design partner (and husband). As co-founder of her firm, Scott Brown has been a lead designer, collaborator, and writer for several decades and as such offered women inspiration as she was able to overcome the hurdles that so many of us faced. In this interview with ARCHITECT magazine, she talks about her experience as a woman in a male dominated field, and what it has meant for her to also be the “architect’s wife.”

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339

What to Expect When You Are Expected Back to Work

by Sarah Bell

As the U.S. is one of three countries in the World to not have paid parental leave, and the mandated 12 weeks off is only for companies over 50 people, it is remarkably common for moms to return to work while their new baby is still very young. According to studies, 80% of women who were working while pregnant return to work, and the average maternity leave is less than 10 weeks. Looking beyond these statistics, returning to work following your maternity leave can be heartbreaking for many, and create a high level of anxiety.

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