Sunday, March 2, 2008

February Chapter Meeting Recap

One of the useful things I can do with this blog is to report about each of our monthly AIA-SWO chapter meeting programs. For February 2008, the meeting took place at the Downtown Initiative for the Visual Arts (DIVA) Center, which hosted an exhibit of the extra-curricular artistic work of our fellow AIA-SWO members. The theme of “Architects as Artists” also applied to the exhibit of projects by Portland architect Robert Oshatz, AIA. Mr. Oshatz was on hand to present his design philosophy.

Oshatz views each new project as a unique problem to be solved for his client. While he approaches every project in what he regards as a traditional and consistent way, he does not adhere to a particular architectural theory or style. He utilizes basic principles of design composition as a touchstone for his projects as they evolve from program to reality. The development of the plan is paramount for him, while the section brings the plan to life. Regardless, his designs have an obvious affinity with the work of such architectural mavericks as Bruce Goff or Bart Prince in that the work of all three is the byproduct of open-ended discovery and experimentation that is ultimately very personal. Oshatz worked and studied under Lloyd Wright (son of Frank Lloyd Wright), and I suspect that he could not help but be influenced by the Wrightian philosophy of an organic architecture even though he prefers to eschew architectural theory.

I found Robert Oshatz to be modest, unaffected and genial. I find his design work imaginative, refreshing and a reminder that architecture should be a continually creative pursuit. Thanks to Robert for taking the time to visit with us and kudos to Jean Duffett, AIA for organizing the evening’s program for our chapter.

“Architecture is a synthesis of logic and emotion. When carried to its logical conclusion, a traditional design approach produces very imaginative structures. It is only a question of how much of an artist we architects choose to be.” Robert Oshatz, AIA

No comments: