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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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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Staff Tour of the soon-to-be Downstream Headquarters

by Audrey Alverson

Last week, THA staff had the chance to tour one of our nearly-complete projects, and to see what some of our coworkers have been engrossed in for many months.

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Tear that Landmark down!! …or maybe…don’t?

by Becca Cavell

Peter Meijer and I recently reprised a debate on the future of Portland’s iconic Portland Building (designed by Michael Graves in 1982) as part of the Portland Design Festival. Peter and I are on the board of DoCoMoMo-Oregon and were invited to present the same topic at DoCoMoMo-US’s National Symposium in Sarasota earlier this year. The Modernism conservation group is beginning to grapple with the issue of Postmodernism and we tried to highlight some of the major issues while maintaining a fairly lighthearted approach. In Florida we only had 20 minutes to present our cases, and this time we had over an hour, and we had a lively and engaged audience who brought their own perspectives to the discussion.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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