Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Eugene Solar & Green Building Tour

Sunday, October 4 - 11:00AM to 4:00 PM

The City of Eugene and the Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB) will host an extensive solar and green building tour in Eugene on Sunday, October 4 from 11AM to 4 PM as part of the world's largest grassroots solar event. The Solar & Green Building Tour offers participants the opportunity to tour eight sites spanning from Crescent Village in North Eugene to Crescent Ridge in the South Hills. The tour will highlight how solar energy, energy efficiency and other sustainable approaches can reduce monthly utility bills and help tackle climate change. It will showcase a variety of building types, technologies and local firms. Two projects are LEED Platinum certified, the highest rating by the U.S. Green Building Council, and several are Earth Advantage certified. The tour will include new construction, residential remodels, a "mother-in-law cottage" infill unit, mixed-use, and affordable projects.

Eugene's green building and solar tour is part of the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) National Solar Tour where over 150,000 people in 3,000 communities will participate in open house tours of solar powered and energy efficient homes (http://www.nationalsolartour.org/). Attendees will be able to explore green buildings first hand and talk directly with the builders, solar contractors and homeowners. Lane Community College (LCC) will also introduce its new solar/electric vehicle charging station project.

The tour will begin at 11:00 AM at EWEB, 500 East 4th Avenue, with a kick-off presentation by Mayor Kitty Piercy. Self-guided tours will include eight sites in areas throughout the city. To minimize driving times, participants will choose from a 'north loop' or 'south loop' each having four different buildings. A biking tour of 3 central sites is another option.

A reception at La Perla Pizzeria, 1313 Pearl Street, will be held at the end of the tour, around 4 PM.

To participate, please register at SolarTour@eweb.org. $5 suggested donation per party.

For more information contact Jenna Garmon at Jenna.R.Garmon@ci.eugene.or.us or 541-682-5541.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

September AIA-SWO Chapter Meeting Recap

2009 People's Choice Winner: East Blair Housing Co-op, by Willard C. Dixon, Architect (photo from Will Dixon's website)

The September 2009 AIA-SWO chapter meeting presented the results of our People’s Choice and Colleague’s Choice awards programs. In addition, we unveiled our 2010 AIA Northwest & Pacific Region Conference logo and promotional video. If you weren’t at the meeting, you missed a great event. Over 40 members and guests were on hand to celebrate the value of design in our community and herald AIA-SWO’s production of next year’s Region Conference.

2010 AIA Northwest & Pacific Region Conference
As I’ve mentioned previously, our chapter is the host for next year’s AIA Northwest & Pacific Region conference in Eugene, scheduled for October 13-16, 2010. This will be a huge undertaking. It will be our time to showcase the genius and brilliance of our cozy and undeniably quirky corner of Oregon. It’s our opportunity to rally around the idea that design truly matters in our lives. I have no doubt that we’re up to the task. Our goal is nothing less than an inspired and fantastic festival of forward thinking that attendees will talk about long after they have returned to their homes in Seattle, Honolulu, Tokyo, Boise, or Fairbanks.

We’re well on our way to achieving our goal of a first-rate conference. Exhibit A is our new 2010 logo, designed by the members of the AIA-SWO Emerging Professionals Group. The logo is an abstract representation of our conference slogan – An Emerald Vision – and a mnemonic device to remember the “triple bottom line” (Environment, Economy, Equity) that underscores the spectrum of values and criteria we are applying to our conference programming.

video

Exhibit B is our 2010 promotional video, which premiered at the 2009 Region conference in Anchorage. Kudos to Paul Dustrud and Don Kahle for succinctly capturing the essential thrust of what we’re proposing in a tightly produced and entertaining package. We may not be Honolulu, or Anchorage, or Tokyo, but when architects from around the Northwest & Pacific Region come to Oregon they’ll find that fun is an everyday affair in Eugene!

People’s Choice Awards
The AIA-SWO People’s Choice Awards is our annual public outreach event held at the Eugene Celebration. The purpose is to present the recent work of architects and landscape architects, and to encourage the public to critically engage the built environment. The emphasis is not on winning but on sharing and honoring all the work undertaken to make buildings and landscapes important and meaningful in our daily lives. Here is the list of the winners, who will also be featured in the Friday, October 9, 2009 edition of the Eugene Register-Guard. Congratulations to this year's People's Choice selections!

MULT-FAMILY HOUSING
Willard C. Dixon, AIA
East Blair Housing Co-Op
Client: East Blair Housing Co-Op

RESIDENTIAL
Nir Pearlson, AIA
Reinhart Gray Residence
Client: Catherine Reinhart & Scott Gray

UNBUILT
Chuck Bailey Architect AIA LLC
Fun in the Sun
Client: Walter & Sandy Racette

RESIDENTIAL LANDSCAPE
Stangeland & Assoc. Inc.
Three R’s Make a Wright: Restore, Recycle, Revitalize
Client: Rob Steiner

COMMERCIAL LANDSCAPE
Cameron McCarthy Gilbert & Scheibe Landscape Architects LLP
Slocum Center
Client: McKay Investment Company

INTERIORS
Mahlum Architects with Robertson/Sherwood/Architects pc
Thurston Elementary School
Client: Springfield Public Schools

COMMERCIAL
Nir Pearlson, AIA
Duvall Law Building
Client: Hugh Duvall

PUBLIC/INSTITUTIONAL
PIVOT Architecture
Eugene State Office Building
Client: State of Oregon Legislative Administration


2009 Colleagues' Choice Winner: Indigo Place, by 2fORM Architecture

Colleague's Choice Results
The “Colleague’s Choice” vote is an ancillary event to the People’s Choice program and meant to be a fun way for our AIA-SWO and ASLA members to weigh in on the question of which of their peers’ projects were most worthy of recognition.

MULT-FAMILY HOUSING (3 way tie)
Rowell Brokaw Architects PC
Crescent Village West

PIVOT Architecture
Prairie View Affordable Housing

2fORM Architecture
Indigo Place

RESIDENTIAL
Arbor South Architecture, PC
The SAGE

UNBUILT
Chuck Bailey Architect AIA LLC
Fun in the Sun

RESIDENTIAL LANDSCAPE
Stangeland & Assoc. Inc.
Three R’s Make a Wright: Restore, Recycle, Revitalize

COMMERCIAL LANDSCAPE
Dougherty Landscape Architects (DLA Inc.)
Cal Young Middle School Courtyards

INTERIORS
Mahlum Architects with Robertson/Sherwood/Architects PC
Thurston Elementary School

COMMERCIAL
TBG Architects & Planners Inc.
The Ten Coburg

PUBLIC/INSTITUTIONAL
PIVOT Architecture
Eugene State Office Building

People’s Choice Exhibit Schedule
The boards of the winning 2009 entries will be on display at the Midtown Arts Center (1590 Willamette Street in Eugene) through the month of October (and probably into 2010). If you haven’t already seen the boards, don’t miss the Oregon Day of Culture reception on Thursday, October 8 from 5:00 to 6:30 pm at the MAC when the entire community is invited to celebrate Eugene's vibrant cultural scene and meet local arts organizations. I’ll post more about the Day of Culture as the event nears.

Register-Guard Special Insert
As mentioned above, look for the special Register-Guard insert inside the Friday, October 9 edition of the paper. Also, you will be able to find an expanded, full-color online version of the insert at the Register-Guard’s web site at http://www.registerguard.com/ immediately after the publication date.

Raffle Prize Winners
The winners of the People’s Choice and Colleague’s Choice raffle prize drawings will be identified in the Register-Guard insert (actually, we’ll contact the winners directly just before the insert in published). Once again, The Farmers’ Union Marketplace (The Green Store and Down to Earth Home & Garden) is our raffle prize sponsor. Please extend our appreciation of the Marketplace’s generous support of AIA-SWO by patronizing both The Green Store and Down to Earth!

Acknowledgements
I would be remiss if I did not thank the members of the People’s Choice Awards committee for generously offering their time and energies toward the success of the program. We couldn’t have done it without them:
  • Kurt Albrecht
  • Greg Brokaw
  • Paul Dustrud
  • Shawn Jenkins
  • Barbara Harris
  • Matt Koehler
  • Jesse McMillen
  • Andika Murandi
  • Jodi Sommers
  • Michael Soraci
. . . plus all the AIA-SWO and ASLA members who staffed the exhibit (thank you!)

September Program Sponsor
Thanks again to our September 2009 program sponsor, KONE, one of the world's leading elevator and escalator companies. KONE offers the best people flow experience by developing and delivering solutions that enable people to move smoothly, safely, comfortably and without waiting from one place to another. KONE also provides maintenance services for automatic building doors. The company operates some 800 service centers in around 50 countries and delivers approximately 50,000 new elevators and escalators per year. Its service base consists of approximately 650,000 elevators and escalators and more than 270,000 automatic building doors.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Coming Into Our Own

Tlingit village site, Alaska Native Heritage Center

I’ve just returned to Eugene after five days in Anchorage, Alaska, where I attended the 2009 AIA Northwest & Pacific Region Conference. The hospitality of our northern colleagues was wonderful, the weather was perfect, and the quality of the conference program offerings was uniformly excellent. Kudos to AIA Alaska president Bryce Klug, conference committee chair Mike Mense, and all of the AIA Alaska volunteers and sponsors for producing such a successful event.

Attending the conference in Alaska reminded me that AIA’s Northwest & Pacific Region is a vast territory, inclusive of components in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Hawaii, Guam/Micronesia, Hong Kong, and Japan. No other region of the Institute comes close to being as geographically and culturally diverse. This is why there is great value in convening annually as a region to strategize, exchange ideas, network, and simply enjoy each other’s company. There is so much to learn from the multitude of perspectives represented at each AIA Northwest & Pacific Region conference.

Alaska itself is a fantastically varied mosaic of cultures and landscapes. Perhaps this should not be surprising given how large the State is. A highlight of the conference program was a visit to the Alaska Native Heritage Center, located near Anchorage. There, we learned about the many distinct native Alaskan cultures: the Inupiat, Yupik, Aleut, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, Eyak, and the Northern Athabaskan. Throughout their histories, these groups each developed ways of life exquisitely adapted to the specifics of their environment. Particularly fascinating was the display of indigenous dwellings, arrayed around the scenic grounds of the Center.

Our visit to the Native Heritage Center also emphasized how you can learn about yourself by learning about others. For the many native Alaskan cultures, it is storytelling that tells everyone who you are. Loren Anderson of the Native Heritage Center described stories taught to him by his family elders. Raised on Kodiak Island and of Sugpiaq descent, Loren’s recounting of the stories he was told was both entertaining and enlightening. Loren also reminded us that the culture of each of the Alaskan native groups is multifaceted, inclusive of distinctive art, architecture, fashion, food, language, values, and traditions.

Loren Anderson, Alaska Native Heritage Center

The theme of the 2009 Northwest & Pacific Region Conference was “Coming into Our Own – The Evolution of Architectural Practice on the Last Frontier.” AIA Alaska arranged an impressive array of educational opportunities, including the Native Heritage Center tour. Because of my obligations as a member of the Region board, I wasn’t able to attend as many of the educational sessions as I would have liked.(1) Nevertheless, those that I was able to take in were thought-provoking, with relevance to architecture that extends far beyond the boundaries of the Last Frontier.

I found two sessions on the final day of the conference particularly noteworthy:

Architecture for Human Flourishing
David Greusel, FAIA, is currently a principal with Populous (formerly HOK Sport), a firm best known for designing some of the most successful of the current generation of major league ballparks(2). His entertaining, energetic presentation highlighted the importance of a “metaphysical” perspective applied to design for the built environment, because each architect’s worldview matters. Greusel used the example of Modernism to make his case: Modern architecture was an expression of the spirit of its age and was deeply rooted in the same culture that shaped its contemporary literature, philosophy, music, and art. The tenets of Modernism – empiricism, rationality, abstraction, progressivism, universality, and non-subordination – were derived from a limited worldview shaped by a remarkably direct lineage of influence, ranging from Arthur Schopenhauer to Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Marx, Virginia Woolf, Adolf Loos, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Walter Gropius.(3) It was the worldview of a select cadre of gatekeepers that consigned global Modernism to a search for universal solutions.

David Greusel firmly believes that the early 20th-century Modernists’ search for universal solutions represented a flawed ethos. For architecture today, he advocates a more intuitive, generous, particular, and humanistic approach – one that leads to an architecture that is inclusive and accommodating. Such an approach eschews the nihilism of today’s elitist architecture as well as the banality of placeless commercial buildings. Architecture for human flourishing is humble, deeply local, and a reflection of the culture that produced it. Summarizing his thesis, Greusel quoted architecture critic Robert Campbell, who asserted that “every building is a billboard that shouts the values of those who created it, intended or not.” The values championed by Greusel facilitate a worldview that creates architecture supportive of human flourishing.

Toward a Blue-Green Paradigm
Currently residing in Portland, James Bowen, AIA, grew up and previously practiced in the American South. He retains a characteristically Southern expressiveness and rhythm in the recounting of his peripatetic upbringing and its influence upon his approach to architecture. In his youth, he was inspired by the writings of Buckminster Fuller and by his time with the environmentalist Amory Lovins. Bowen became deeply committed to the principles of regenerative design, and now optimistically envisions a mutually enhancing relationship between architecture and nature. He refers to this relationship as the Blue-Green Paradigm.

Bowen’s crusade is to awaken architects to the magnitude of unchecked environmental degradation. Millions of hectares of forests are destroyed and a similar area of arable land is lost to soil erosion each year. Hundreds of thousands of plant and animal species are being driven to extinction. Conversely, the burgeoning human population has already surged in 2009 by over 100 million, consuming an ever-diminishing pool of natural resources. In the face of such data(4), some might choose to be the proverbial ostrich with its head in the sand. Instead, it should be clear that a complete paradigm shift is necessary if we are to achieve the architecture/nature balance James Bowen foresees.

Bowen suggested that LEED and the 2030 Challenge have rewarded our profession with a false sense of accomplishment. Participation in these programs applies a voguish gloss of green to a design firm's portfolio; however, chasing points or carbon offsets should only be a means to an end, and not an end in itself. For Bowen, the bottom line is that we must be willing to abandon our comfortable and profligate patterns of existence; a LEED Platinum-certified big box store adrift in a sea of parking isn’t the remedy, no matter how many photovoltaic panels it may boast.

During the question/answer period that followed, architecture critic Trevor Boddy protested that Bowen’s presentation was merely a wistful and melancholic elegy for a planet in decline. What, Boddy asked, is the answer? How are we to arrive at the Blue-Green Paradigm? Bowen’s diffident response was that it was not his intent to offer a solution; rather, he merely sought to alert us to the Earth’s plight so that we might be more receptive to a necessary paradigm shift. In this respect, James Bowen hit the mark.

Yup'ik Dancers at the Region Design Awards Banquet

Our chapter was represented very well in Anchorage: Kurt Albrecht, Chuck and Gwen Bailey, Michael Fifield, Jody Heady, Don Kahle, Paul Dustrud and Toni Pimble(5), John Reynolds, and Jonathan and Molly Stafford, were all on hand. The great benefit of having a large AIA-SWO contingent in Anchorage will be the lessons we have brought back with us about conference organization and execution. These will be invaluable as we move forward with hosting the 2010 AIA Northwest & Pacific Region Conference in Eugene.


(1) Note to self: Do not schedule Region business meetings at the 2010 NW&PR conference concurrent with some of the more attractive educational sessions and tours!

(2) David Greusel was Populous' lead designer for two major league ballparks: Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros, and PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

(3) Greusel humorously used mock Facebook pages as a didactic tool for each of the historic figures he tied to the rise of Modernism.

(4) For an eye-opening look at real-time world statistics, check out
www.worldometers.info.

(5) Toni was in Anchorage not only to accompany Paul, but also to coordinate the Eugene Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker in Anchorage this coming November. Anchorage does not have its own ballet company, so the Eugene Ballet is taking The Nutcracker on the road to share this holiday favorite.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Emerging Professionals Get-together

The AIA-SWO Emerging Professionals Group(1) will meet on Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at Davis’ Restaurant on the corner of Broadway and Olive in downtown Eugene. This will be the first official meeting of the organization. The group is comprised of emerging professionals in the local area who are either in the process of becoming professionally licensed or have recently done so. It welcomes members of all design disciplines, including architects, landscape architects, engineers, and interior designers.

The first meeting will serve as an introduction to what the Emerging Professionals Group is about and what its leadership hopes to accomplish. A few of the topics to be discussed may include the possibilities of a better name and acronym, future design collaborations and competitions, goals, mentoring possibilities, or anything else attendees feel is critical to the success of the group.

Gabriel Greiner, AIA, LEED AP, of 2fORM Architecture is the chairperson of the Emerging Professionals Group. Please RSVP Gabe at gabriel@2-form.com so that he will have an idea of the expected number of attendees for the September 29 meeting. Feel free to forward an invitation to anyone you think may be interested in joining the group.

(1) The group refers to itself as the “Eugene Emerging Professionals Group,” although I believe this suggests that it is Eugene-centric. I’m hopeful that the group will come up with a more inclusive name that better reflects the entire AIA-Southwestern Oregon constituency.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

EWEB Riverfront Master Plan Charrette

In early 2009, the Eugene Water & Electric Board selected Rowell Brokaw Architects to lead the master planning effort for its 27-acre property along Eugene's downtown riverfront. The EWEB riverfront master plan is the first step toward a restored downtown riverfront that benefits all of Eugene. According to the project criteria set by the 2004 Downtown Plan, the master plan will create a "vibrant, multi-use people place,” employ appropriate ecological setbacks and sustainable design strategies, and incorporate an educational aspect that teaches the community about our river, our city, and our history.

One important facet of the riverfront master plan process will be the Rowell Brokaw team’s gathering of public input regarding redevelopment opportunities and design alternatives. Toward this end, the firm is providing pro bono project time for the planning, coordination, and staging of a design charrette in collaboration with AIA-SWO. Our chapter is responsible for securing volunteer commitments from 12-16 architects, landscape architects, or interns to help populate six to eight tables at the charrette. Other participants will include Rowell Brokaw staff, EWEB employees, City of Eugene planners, and Community Advisory Team members.

Here are the details:

Date: Saturday, October 3, 2009

  • 8:00 AM: Site Tour, Introductions, and Morning Refreshments

  • 9:00 AM: Charrette Start (Lunch at 12:00)

  • 1:00 PM: Team Presentations

  • 2:00 PM: Adjournment

We are limiting the number of participants to ensure that each table will reflect a diversity of perspectives and talents (and not just be populated by design professionals). Our hope is that AIA-SWO members will serve as the table facilitators. As architects, we bring not only our design skills into play, but also our respect for process and our natural ability to work collaboratively with others.

Our intent is to obtain AIA approval of continuing education learning units for chapter members who take part in the workshop.

If you are interested in participating in this important charrette, please contact Rowell Brokaw’s project manager Kaarin Knudson, Associate AIA. Kaarin’s contact information is as follows:

E-mail: kaarin@rowellbrokaw.com

Phone: (541) 485-1003

In addition to the design charrette, Rowell Brokaw Architects is planning a series of community events related to the riverfront master plan. The first of these meetings will be held Wednesday, September 30, at the EWEB North Building (500 East 4th Avenue) from 6:00-8:30pm. Everyone is encouraged to join the Community Advisory Team, EWEB staff, and Rowell Brokaw Architects for a site tour and discussion of possible futures on the riverfront site. A second public event is scheduled for Tuesday, November 10 from 6:00-8:30pm at EWEB, when design options will be presented for public input. These options will be generated from the design team’s project research, the public input gathered on September 30, and the insights offered through the AIA-SWO design charrette on October 3.

You can find additional information about the project through the project website at http://www.eugeneriverfront.com/ , or by contacting Kaarin at Rowell Brokaw Architects.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

2009 People's Choice Awards Display

The 2009 People’s Choice Awards display at this year’s Eugene Celebration was a great success. Once again, Oveissi & Co. provided a commodious and visually stimulating backdrop for thirty-five boards presenting the outstanding work of local architects, landscape architects, and designers. Despite some damp weather over the weekend, the public turnout was good, with a constant flow of visitors through the exhibit.

The results of the People’s Choice (and Colleague’s Choice) balloting will be revealed at this month’s AIA-SWO chapter meeting on Wednesday, September 23. Look for a meeting announcement soon with further details. The meeting will also be an opportunity to see all of the boards again, as our intent is to install the display at The Actors Cabaret for that evening.

The results will also appear in our annual Register-Guard insert, which will be published on Friday, October 9 (the day before our juried Design Awards banquet – if you haven’t already done so, announce your intent to enter that program immediately as the entry deadline has been extended to this Friday, September 11!).


Presently all of the boards and the borrowed easels have been moved to storage at the AIA-SWO office in the Mid-Town Arts Center at 1590 Willamette Street. Ideally, the easels would be available for use at our chapter meeting on September 23; however, do not hesitate to contact either AIA-SWO Executive Director Don Kahle at (541) 424-2424 or Paul Dustrud, AIA at (541) 338-8544 if you would like to retrieve your easels before then (Don or Paul will ensure that the door to the office is open when you go to pick them up).

Thanks to all of the AIA-SWO and ASLA volunteers who staffed the display during the Eugene Celebration. And direct a big dose of appreciation to the members of the People’s Choice Awards organizing committee: Michael Soraci, Barbara Harris, Jodi Sommers, Shawn Jenkins, Paul Dustrud, Kurt Albrecht, Matt Koehler, Andika Murandi, Jesse McMillen, Nir Pearlson, and Greg Brokaw (I hope I didn’t forget anybody). Finally, thanks to Kaz Oveissi for his hospitality, and The Green Store for being our raffle prize sponsor.

See you on September 23 at our chapter meeting for the announcement of this year’s People’s Choice Award winners!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Form Based Codes Webinar

Walnut Station illustrative plan view (image courtesy of the City of Eugene)

The City of Eugene’s Planning and Development Department invites AIA-SWO members to attend a webinar on the topic of how form-based codes can transform cities and towns. Produced by the Form-Based Codes Institute (FBCI), this 100-minute session provides an introduction to form-based codes, why they may be better suited to desired development outcomes compared to traditional land use codes, and how they are developed and used.

Specific topics to be covered in the webinar include:
  • Why use form-based codes?
  • The rise of conventional zoning and the decline of urbanism
  • How form-based codes differ from conventional zoning
  • Where form-based codes are typically used
  • The process for preparing a form-based code
  • Components of a typical form-based code
  • Legal issues of form-based codes

The webinar will be held at the City of Eugene Public Library (Bascom/Tykeson room) on September 9th from 4:00 - 6:00 pm.

Illustration of Millrace multi-use path (image courtesy of the City of Eugene)

The webinar will be of particular interest to members of AIA-SWO because the City has officially asked our chapter to evaluate the form-based code being developed for the Walnut Station Mixed Use Center.(1) The City’s goal is to define an ideal urban form for Walnut Station that reflects our community’s vision for a vibrant, mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented neighborhood. At the same time, the City recognizes that the form-based code must respect property owners’ development rights and help them realize the area’s development potential.

AIA-SWO’s plan is to conduct a design charrette that will task participants with challenging the limits of the proposed form-based code.(2) Ultimately, the goal is to build upon the work of the City’s consultants(3) and provide useful feedback as the City moves forward with rolling out the Walnut Station development plan. Look forward for more details about the Walnut Station charrette from AIA-SWO later this year or early in 2010.

For more information about the webinar, contact Lydia McKinney, the City of Eugene’s Metro and Community Planner at (541) 682-5485.


(1) The Walnut Station area along Franklin Boulevard is the epicenter of a planning initiative by the City to stimulate redevelopment as a key mixed-use center for Eugene. It is also congruent with a segment of the “Franklin Corridor” that was a focus of our chapter’s highly successful 2007 AIA150 Blueprint for America: Bridging Communities workshops.

(2) This charrette was originally scheduled to occur in November of this year. It is now more likely to take place in February 2010.

(3) Urbsworks and SERA Architects, both of Portland, have been working with the City on Phase One (visioning) and Phase Two (implementation), respectively, to develop the Walnut Station Mixed Use Center development plan. Phase Two concludes with the preparation of the draft plan.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

President’s Message – September 2009

AIA-SWO Emerging Professionals Group - 2010 Region Conference logo charrette

One of the more satisfying aspects of being AIA-SWO president this year has been the opportunity to witness the increased enthusiasm and participation of emerging professionals within our chapter. Our board is fostering a climate where emerging professionals are rewarded for contributing to chapter activities that pursue the broader goals of the AIA. We want our younger members and associates to find empowerment and inspiration through participation within our chapter structure.

Our AIA-SWO Associate Director, Mariko Blessing, is doing a tremendous job of engaging and energizing our younger members. In response to her leadership, the chapter has undertaken a number of initiatives. These include:
  • Establishing the AIA-SWO Emerging Professionals Group
  • Conducting the 2010 Region Conference logo design charrette
  • Applying for an AIA College of Fellows Emerging Professional Component Grant
  • Applying for an AIA Northwest & Pacific Region Leadership Grant
  • Purchasing LEED accreditation exam study tools
  • Conducting a survey of Associate members and other interns about AIA-SWO chapter activities

Mariko has found eager support from her fellow emerging professionals, notably a core group that has assisted with one or more of the initiatives listed above.

Speaking of young leadership, I’m pleased to announce that Shawn Jenkins of PIVOT Architecture is the AIA-SWO nominee for the AIA Northwest & Pacific Region Associate Director (RAD). Shawn is yet another one of our associate members who is stepping forward to assume a leadership role. His service as the 2010-2011 RAD will further strengthen our chapter’s ties to the Region, which links the various components (chapters and state organizations) with the schools of architecture and the Institute at the national level.

Our newest members want the AIA to look and feel different, reflecting the changes in our profession. Many of them view the Institute as stodgy and stuck in its ways – an old boys club. We’re trying our best to change that perception. Our chapter is doing its part to align the AIA with the realities of the new millennium. At the same time, we want our emerging professionals to value the heritage and history of the organization. The involvement of today’s emerging professionals will build upon the Institute’s past achievements while bolstering its strength and commitment to a better built environment. Ultimately, our goal is to help our younger members assume the mantle of professional leadership. They are the future of the AIA.

September Chapter Meeting
Our September chapter meeting will reveal the results of this year’s People’s Choice Awards program. Be on hand as the People’s Choice winners are announced; additionally, the recipients of the Colleague’s Choice Awards will also be recognized. The 2009 People’s Choice Boards will be arrayed around the room to provide a visual smorgasbord for your enjoyment before and during dinner.

The September meeting will also feature a recap of the 2009 Northwest & Pacific Region Conference in Anchorage, Alaska from those who will have attended (the event occurs September 16-19). Our chapter is hosting the 2010 Region Conference here in Eugene, so we hope to learn much from the Alaska experience. We’re already making preparations for 2010, which include producing a promotional video, a conference theme, and a logo. We’ll unveil all of these and more about our plans for 2010 as part of this month’s program.

Mark your calendars: the meeting will take place on Wednesday, September 23, 2009 at The Actors Cabaret in downtown Eugene; the social hour begins at 5:30. You will soon receive a separate e-mail with RSVP information.

September Program Sponsor
Our September AIA-SWO program sponsor is KONE, one of the world's leading elevator and escalator companies. KONE offers the best people flow experience by developing and delivering solutions that enable people to move smoothly, safely, comfortably and without waiting from one place to another. KONE also provides maintenance services for automatic building doors. The company operates some 800 service centers in around 50 countries and delivers approximately 50,000 new elevators and escalators per year. Its service base consists of approximately 650,000 elevators and escalators and more than 270,000 automatic building doors.

Randy Nishimura, AIA
2009 President, AIA-Southwestern Oregon