Friday, December 31, 2010

Sunspaces in the Land of Fog and Moss

Passive solar heating illustration.Image via Wikipedia

For its first meeting of 2011, the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild is pleased to host building scientist Alexandra Rempel, Ph.D., M.Arch., of Solarc Architecture and Engineering. Her presentation is entitled "Sunspaces in the Land of Fog and Moss: Thermal and Architectural Investigations of Passive Solar Heating in Northern Climates.” The free lecture will take place at BRING's Planet Improvement Center, 4446 Franklin Boulevard, Glenwood on January 5, 2011, beginning at 7 PM.

Alex will pose the question of whether passive solar heating can be worthwhile in a cool, wet, overcast climate. In 1981, researchers at the International Solar Energy Society showed that as latitude increases, the need for heat rises more rapidly than the solar resource diminishes. They concluded that passive solar heating is actually more valuable at higher latitudes than lower ones, even in rainy climates. Ironically, our regional building culture largely overlooks passive solar heating, even as months of cloudy skies compel people to design for optimal daylighting.

Alex's discussion will set the stage for a combined mathematical modeling and field study, beginning in January, which has the goal of understanding sunspace characteristics in Eugene's climate. Those who attend the presentation are encouraged to share their experiences and opinions.

The SW Oregon (Eugene) Chapter of the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild has provided hundreds of free public events on the subject of sustainable design. Past topics have included passive solar design, cellular concrete, and earthen buildings. The Guild provides open-source educational tools to the construction industry and the general public in order to encourage building practices that dramatically reduce carbon emissions, are self-sustaining, contribute to local economies, and create optimal conditions for human health and community. If you’re not already a member and are interested in networking, sharing, and learning with others sustainable builders, visit http://ecobuilding.org/membership and join the Guild.
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Friday, December 24, 2010

December AIA-SWO Chapter Meeting Recap

Ho, ho, ho!!! Holiday cheer in abundance at OPUS VII during the December 2010 AIA-Southwestern Oregon chapter meeting. (my photo)

This year’s AIA-SWO Holiday Party took place at OPUS VII, previously the site of the 2010 AIA-Southwestern Oregon People’s Choice Awards display and awards presentation. The space provided a perfectly jolly backdrop during this season of generosity and good will. The holidays are all about being with family; in this case it was over sixty members of the AIA-SWO family that gathered to enjoy the cheerful festivities. We shared the gift of each other’s company, good food, and good design, courtesy of OPUS VII’s proprietor, Kaz Oveissi.

The purpose of OPUS VII is to recognize, reward, and showcase mastery in art, architecture, and design. It is a space built to introduce the community to the creative world and win the hearts and minds of every guest. Kaz’s hope is that visitors will be surprised by what they see at OPUS VII, and leave with a sense of possibility. He envisions OPUS VII bringing to Eugene the power of authentic and creative ideas.

Featured during the AIA-SWO Holiday Party was OPUS VII’s display about the work and process of Ziba, the Portland-based design and innovation consultancy. Ziba is renowned for its cutting-edge design of many inventive products, environments, and interactive experiences. The OPUS VII display lays bare the creative process Ziba uses to design products for companies such as Microsoft, Sirius, Umpqua Bank, KitchenAid, and Memorex. The many parallels between the design processes employed by Ziba and those used by architects are very much in evidence. If you haven’t already done so, you owe yourself a visit to OPUS VII to see the Ziba show before the end of its run on December 31.

On deck at OPUS VII is GO, DESIGN, GO!, an exhibit that will explore cutting-edge design in the transportation industry. This immersive, dynamic, and multimedia-focused installation will showcase nine local and regional experts dedicated to innovation in transportation technology. Kaz describes GO, DESIGN, GO! as a hands-on, interactive exhibit that will continue OPUS VII’s commitment to showcase beautiful design that makes an impact on our everyday life. The new exhibit will open Friday, January 7, 2011 and continue through the end of February.

OPUS VII holds great promise as a vessel for mutually beneficial and productive cross-fertilization between art, architecture, and design. Kudos to Kaz Oveissi for bringing creative people of all stripes together, injecting design energy into downtown Eugene, and producing museum-style exhibits that appeal to a broad audience.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *


Our December program sponsor was Summit Bank. Summit Bank is a Eugene-based enterprise dedicated to meeting the banking needs of small businesses and professionals in our community. Led by CEO & President Anne Marie Mehlum, its management team knows that small businesses like AIA-SWO member firms are the bedrock of our local economy. Summit Bank wants to help AIA-SWO members succeed and offers a full range of personal and commercial banking services at the best rates and lowest costs.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

December marks my last month as past-president for AIA-Southwestern Oregon and as a delegate to the AIA-Oregon Board of Directors. I originally started SW Oregon Architect as a forum for the discussion of items that might be of interest to chapter members when I joined the AIA-SWO Board of Directors in 2008. Even though I no longer will be a member of the chapter board, I’ll carry on blogging about AIA-SWO activities. I will also continue commenting about architecture in general. My hope is that AIA-SWO members will stick with SW Oregon Architect for many years to come. If you haven’t already done so, bookmark SW Oregon Architect or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Happy Holidays everyone! And my best wishes to all of you for 2011!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

University of Oregon Faculty Position

University of Oregon logo.Image via Wikipedia
TENURE-TRACK FACULTY POSITION
Associate or Assistant Professor in Architecture
University of Oregon










The University of Oregon Department of Architecture seeks an innovative colleague to teach design studios and design communication courses. It wants to add an educator with expertise in integrating traditional and emerging digital media into the design process, from initial concept generation to final building presentation. The appointee will be expected to pursue a well-defined research agenda in an area such as architectural representation, digital fabrication, building information modeling or other computational methods. Previous teaching and professional experience in architecture or a specialty related to design communication are desirable. Candidates should hold an appropriate advanced degree and demonstrate the potential for achievement in both teaching and research.

The University of Oregon Department of Architecture is a national leader in sustainable design. It would especially welcome applicants whose design media approaches could enhance sustainability education and research and their relationship to other areas of our program. This appointment will begin in September 2011.

The Department of Architecture also has these distinguished visiting positions open:

Frederick Charles Baker Chair in Architectural Design. The Baker Chair is an endowed chair with a special focus on the study of light and lighting as a phenomenon in architectural design.

Pietro Belluschi Distinguished Visiting Professor in Architectural Design. Belluschi professors are prominent architects and architectural educators who will bring true distinction and unique opportunities to the University of Oregon.

Margo Grant Walsh Professorship in Interior Architecture. This professorship supports a prominent visiting designer, architect, or educator to teach, lecture, and counsel future generations of design students.

Julie Neupert Stott Visiting Professor in Interior Architectural Design. This professorship supports an internationally recognized scholar and/or professional in the field of interior architecture to teach and lecture design students.

For more information, see: http://architecture.uoregon.edu/about/employment
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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Electronic Plan Review


The City of Springfield (Oregon) Development Services Division is in the process of developing a system for electronic plan review.

Submitting electronic permit documents for review and approval by the City of Springfield could offer significant benefits for all parties involved. These benefits include the potential for greater efficiency, accuracy, and clarity. In addition, a complete history of the plan review process could be readily archived. The City is committed to supporting and developing this process, and looks forward to collaborating with the local design community to make it the best it can be.

Plans would need to be submitted to the City in a pdf format. Many CAD programs have the option of saving the drawing as a pdf file. Submitted in this format, reviewers can add comments and notes without changing the underlying drawing. An added benefit is that electronic submission of plans could save customers hundreds of dollars in printing costs, not to mention more than a few trees.

Many other municipalities across the country have already adopted electronic plan review. For example, Bend, OR and Mercer Island, WA have implemented such systems.

The City of Springfield is currently defining the policies and procedures for this process, and would like to have a mailing list or other means to keep the design community informed of developments. It plans on comparing the electronic and traditional permit application processes by conducting parallel reviews of simple single-family dwelling or small commercial projects.

If you’re interested in offering your views about the prospect of electronic plan review at the City of Springfield, contact Chris Carpenter at the City of Springfield. The City would welcome your input regarding communications and process development. Chris’ contact information is below:

Chris Carpenter
Plans Examiner
Springfield Community Services
225 Fifth Street
Springfield, Oregon 97477
(541) 744.4153
(541) 726.3676 Fax
ccarpenter@ci.springfield.or.us
http://www.ci.springfield.or.us/

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Facilities Vision for A&AA

The University of Oregon’s School of Architecture & Allied Arts (A&AA) is presently spread across 13 to 15 campus buildings, but its physical heart has always been Lawrence Hall. The consensus of school administrators and faculty is that Lawrence has ceased to meet the growing needs of the school. Accordingly, the University plans to develop a new home for A&AA. As an alumnus of the school, I am very interested in all aspects of its long-term future and its prospects for retaining the high national regard it currently enjoys.

I was aware that the University sought to retain an innovative and broad-thinking team to facilitate discussions about A&AA’s future. After all, I had seen the Request for Proposals issued last August. However, I had not paid attention as the selection process unfolded. I did not know who the University selected to shape a “bold and precise vision to guide the development of new facilities for A&AA.”

So, I was intrigued this last week when I happened to read an online Oregon Daily Emerald article about the A&AA visioning process. The article reported that the University had selected a team of design and engineering companies headed by design firm Bruce Mau Design (BMD) of Toronto and Chicago. Joining BMD is Los Angeles-based architecture laboratory Yazdani Studio, as well as the international engineering firm Arup.

It’s important to emphasize that the University has not charged the BMD team to design the proposed new facility. Instead, the goal is to describe the design principles and vision that will inform whoever is eventually entrusted with the design of a new home for A&AA.

A&AA encompasses a unique and diverse range of disciplines, including art, architecture, landscape architecture, art history, product design, arts administration, historic preservation, and planning, public policy & management. The school encourages diverse approaches to teaching, research, and service. These attributes were among those that attracted me to the University of Oregon when I considered where to pursue my education in architecture.

A&AA’s diversity and broad scope finds a parallel in the association of Bruce Mau Design, Yazdani Studio, and Arup. The University’s selection is evidence of its commitment to enlisting an “innovative and broad-thinking team,” one that is replete with impressive credentials: 

"Visionaries use design to effect positive change in the world."
Bruce Mau
  • Bruce Mau Design is a design studio centered on purpose and optimism. Since 1985, BMD has evolved from a graphic design studio to a leader in breakthrough design thinking, applying design methodologies to a wide range of business and cultural organizations with challenges in need of creative solutions. Creators of Massive Change, the internationally acclaimed traveling exhibition, book, website, and interview series, BMD is an interdisciplinary studio made up of artists, architects, graphic designers, filmmakers, brand strategists, biologists, publishers, curators, and technologists.
    The Price Center, UC San Diego, by Yazdani Studio 
  • The Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design is a laboratory for exploration and excellence in architecture. Established upon the reputation and leadership of award-winning designer Mehrdad Yazdani, the Yazdani Studio integrates the best attributes of a design studio with the resources and reach of an international practice. From its primary office in Los Angeles, the Yazdani Studio combines the talents of a diverse team of architects, designers, and 3-D artists, technical specialists, and other creative thinkers who share a commitment to pushing the boundaries of design, from refining concepts of sustainability to the application of new technologies and urban initiatives.  
  • An Arup project: The Watercube, Beijing (photo by Ben McMillan)
  • Arup is renowned for its technical innovation, creativity, and collaboration with many of the world’s greatest architects. Arup’s team of engineers, designers, and consulting professionals work in integrated design groups within which sustainability is an integral focus. Arup’s knowledge of issues surrounding sustainable design enables it to advise clients and collaborators about the opportunities to develop green solutions appropriate to each project.
Some might question why the A&AA visioning project’s selection committee felt compelled to choose a team comprised of designers and thinkers with no apparent ties to Eugene or the University of Oregon. Is this another case of indifferent, albeit tremendously qualified, “carpet baggers” swooping in to take work away from deserving local firms? I don’t think so. In this instance, an outsider’s perspective may be most appropriate. BMD, Yazdani Studio, and Arup arrive with no preconceptions about the School of Architecture & Allied Arts, which is precisely as it should be.

Bruce Mau wrote an Incomplete Manifesto in 1998, an articulation of statements exemplifying his beliefs, strategies, and motivations. One of his admonitions is to “be careful to take risks.” With its choice of consultants, the University has taken Bruce Mau’s words to heart.

The BMD team has been on working on the project since October. It orchestrated one of its on-site workshops this past Friday, December 3. The visioning process timeline is relatively brief, so we should see the results very soon. In the meantime, check out the A&AA’s informational blog about the project at http://aaablogs.uoregon.edu/aaavisioning.

The visioning process will figure out which parts of the school should be merged into a new space and which need to stay where they are. Deliverables for the project will include a clearly articulated design brief to guide future development and an inspirational vision document/presentation designed to be shared with stakeholders.

The one-hundredth anniversary of the School of Architecture & Allied Arts occurs in 2014. Many within the A&AA community hope to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new home for the School during that year. Ideally, the new facility will be designed upon principles and aligned with a vision that will be valid for one hundred more years to come.
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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It’s time for (beer):30!


Design|Spring, is starting a new tradition: a semi-annual social gathering for up-and-coming design, engineering, and construction professionals. The group’s hope is to open up lines of communication, foster networking, and simply help emerging professionals know one another better. Even if you don’t care for beer, they still hope to see you!
  • Date/Time: Thursday, December 2 at 5:30 PM
  • Location: The Bridge – 444 E. 3rd Street – right next to the Ferry Street Bridge (the former Peabody’s)

Design|Spring is a group of peers dedicated to fostering continued professional development amongst its membership. It serves as a bridge between the completion of professional education and full membership and participation with the various design and construction-related organizations (such as AIA, ASLA, ASID, and CSI). The group also functions as an interdisciplinary forum for the exchange of ideas and experiences among all emerging design professionals in Eugene.

Design|Spring’s first meeting of 2011 will occur on January 12. Look for more information to come. And stay in touch by connecting with Design|Spring on Facebook.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Influences: William Kleinsasser

An earlier blog entry of mine, “Genealogy of Influence,” promised a series of posts about the architects and theorists who influenced my architectural world view. This is the fourth post in the series.

William “Bill” Kleinsasser was the professor who most lastingly shaped my beliefs about architecture during my studies at the University of Oregon in the early 1980s.(1) He was a complex man, deeply committed to that which he believed in, and joyous in his teaching. At the same time, he was dismayed by what he regarded as the willful conceptualizing and pretense of much of the architecture that he saw receive critical acclaim. He disagreed vehemently with his colleagues in the Department of Architecture if their beliefs jeopardized the wholeness of the curricula he championed. He was an advocate for architecture that is truly meaningful and evocative.

Throughout his decades-long tenure at Oregon, Bill taught students to understand the essential concerns of architecture; not just to design competent and clever buildings, which may be ingenious or stylish, but richly appropriate surroundings for people that measure up to the best we can imagine and hope for. Architects, he argued, should focus upon making beautiful places that invite people to be beautiful. He emphasized making places that are so clear, so rich, and so right that they genuinely symbolize our most strongly felt concerns about architecture. He urged us to work long and hard to develop ideas to levels that were extraordinary.

A focus of Bill’s teaching, and a touchstone for his vision of designing places for people, was experiencing architecture through the actions of ordinary living. His class Experiential Considerations in Architecture was a revelation for me. Bill spoke of how good places – large or small, public or private, inside or outside – provide settings that are precise, generous, lucid, liberating, and alive. The course’s theory base remains today the foundation of a required class in the UO Department of Architecture.

Bill’s career in architecture followed military service in Korea and graduate studies at Princeton University, where he would cross paths with Charles Moore, Donlyn Lyndon, William Turnbull, and Hugh Hardy. Influential there as a visiting lecturer was Louis Kahn, for whom he would later work briefly. Bill and his wife Ann also spent time in Switzerland where he worked for a firm. They eventually returned stateside and Bill began teaching at Oregon.(2)

Bill’s approach to teaching was personal, reflective, and constantly evolving. A case in point was his writing: his textbook Synthesis was self-published and available for purchase by students at the UO bookstore. He updated Synthesis many times; I believe its final iteration was the ninth edition. With each revision, Bill revealed an ever more comprehensive theory base for architecture. And yet he was never satisfied: Synthesis could always be better, more deliberately concise, more focused. It should come as no surprise that Bill often quoted from The Elements of Style, William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White’s seminal little book on written composition. Brevity is a virtue that Bill admired. The Elements of Style conveyed many lessons that he found applicable to the making of memorable places, such as how the vague and general could be transformed into the vivid and particular, or how the approach to style is by way of plainness, simplicity, orderliness, and sincerity.

With Synthesis, Bill outlined a methodology that by the book’s fifth edition grew to include eight objectives that can be studied and developed, responded to in our projects, returned to again and again as a theory base, and changed when necessary. The objectives are:
  • To support purposes and activities
  • To establish longevity
  • To respond to place
  • To maintain historical continuity
  • To integrate construction
  • To integrate services and environmental control
  • To achieve clarity
  • To establish vitality
Additionally, Bill divided the act of design-synthesis into two parts:
  • Determining an appropriate organizational structure; that is, to determine a basic theme or direction that appropriately orders all parts. If this structure is to be comprehensive, it must be based upon all of the objectives.
  • Developing the structure; that is, to actually establish the opportunities and qualities called for by the project.
Bill believed it is essential to realize that appropriate organizational structure cannot be determined by acts of personal expression alone. As a synthesis of many factors, it becomes clear slowly and after great effort on the part of the designer. Emerging first as a feeling, it must be tested and developed. Once determined as the correct organizing principle, it may be followed and reinforced. If used well, it will lead to an appropriate, unified, and eloquent real place.

Another focus of Bill’s career in academia was his study of the idiosyncratic work of Henry Chapman Mercer. During my studies under Bill, I considered Fonthill, the Mercer Museum, and Mercer’s Tileworks to be ugly and unworthy of his extensive attention. Since that time, I have come to understand what Bill appreciated about these curious buildings. He recognized Mercer’s deep, instinctive understanding of and feeling for the place in which the structures are located. The qualities of the cast-in-place concrete buildings seemed just right in the haunting serenity and mystery of the Bucks County, PA countryside. They reinforce, dramatize, and celebrate their joined physical context. Bill’s book on Henry Mercer, A Splendid Torch, is in final preparation for publication. I hope to obtain a copy as soon as it is available.

Fonthill, by Henry Chapman Mercer (photo by KForce from Wikipedia)

Bill passed away this past September 22 at the age of eighty-one after a battle with esophageal cancer. I was unaware that he had died; I only found out after reading the most recent issue of the School of Architecture and Allied Arts Review. I regret not visiting with him before his illness took him from us. I had sought out his guidance upon my return to Eugene in 1988, but had spoken with him rarely since then. He truly was a great teacher. I will forever be indebted to Bill Kleinsasser for opening my eyes to architecture’s potential to help us understand what we are a part of, where we have been, where we might go, and who and what we are.

(1) In addition to Experiential Considerations in Architecture, I enrolled in two design studios with Bill: one during my third year in architecture, and then my terminal project studio in the B.Arch program.

(2) Bill was an outstanding high school and college football player. He went to Princeton on an academic scholarship but received All-America mention while playing football on a Princeton Tigers team ranked in the nation’s top 10.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

November AIA-SWO Chapter Meeting Recap

Don Stastny, FAIA

While technically not the last chapter event on the 2010 AIA-Southwestern Oregon calendar (that being our annual holiday party on December 15), the November AIA-SWO meeting served as a fitting culmination of the year’s focus on design excellence. Throughout his tenure as 2010 chapter president, Michael Fifield promoted the role of good design in our built environment. The November meeting was no exception: Michael invited key advocates for the Design Excellence|Oregon initiative to describe that program’s potential to raise the bar for architecture throughout our state.

Design excellence in the built environment benefits every Oregonian. We value our quality of life, plan for orderly development of land at the interface of rural and urban areas, and enact laws to protect our natural environment. Underlying Design Excellence|Oregon is the belief that design excellence is a basic right for all of us who are fortunate to live here.

Of course, these are statements of principles and values with which few would disagree. What are the specific plans for realizing the goals of the initiative?

AIA Oregon and The Center for Architecture (CFA) in Portland propose Design Excellence|Oregon as a methodology for ensuring that the best design talent possible is matched with client groups and their projects. Although it’s easiest to picture its widespread application at all levels of public sector design services procurement, the persons behind the program also believe it may find acceptance among private clients.

The principal author of Design Excellence|Oregon is Don Stastny, FAIA. Don is recognized as one of the nation’s preeminent design competition advisors. In 1980, he directed the seminal competition for Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square, creating a process that would be published in the AIA Guidebook for Architectural Competitions. He later wrote the Government Services Administration’s Design Excellence Guide—Creating a Legacy, and contributed significantly to development of the federal Design Excellence Program (of which the Wayne L. Morse Federal Courthouse here in Eugene is a shining example). He has advanced design competition processes such that they protect the participants from exploitation and create opportunities for emerging talent.

Pioneer Courthouse Square, Portland (photo from http://www.pioneercourthousesquare.org/)

Don presented our audience with an outline for the Design Excellence|Oregon program. On hand to assist Don were:
  • Stan Chessir, AIA – President, AIA Oregon
  • Chris Eberle, AIA – VP of Legislative Affairs, AIA Oregon
  • Steve Thomson, AIA – Co-chair, Oregon Design Conference
The goals of the Design Excellence|Oregon Initiative include:
  • Creating a statewide culture of design excellence in which citizens equate the quality of the built environment with quality of life and require the standard of environmental design in their communities to be commensurate with the extraordinary qualities of Oregon’s natural environment.
  • Creating a statewide program to enable design excellence that engages public and private resources in all Oregon communities and is accessible to the State, municipalities, counties, agencies, and the private sector.
  • Establishing a statewide model of a design excellence program that can respond to, and reflect, the unique cultures of communities throughout America.
The program suggests two different selection process formats, one involving two stages and the other three. The two-stage process would involve portfolio evaluations and A/E team interviews. The three-stage process adds a juried design vision competition (selected participants would be compensated). Both formats would be structured to result in the selection of the design firm and its lead designer, not the design.

The success of Design Excellence|Oregon is predicated upon a commitment to these processes and the consistent application of a high level of professionalism to ensure fairness and integrity. The draft program guidebook outlines the various steps that participating sponsors would be obliged to follow. These include appointment of an A/E Evaluation Board, and (in the instance of a three-stage process) hiring of a Professional Competition Advisor and selection of an independent jury of private-sector design professionals.

The Center for Architecture would furnish assistance to program sponsors by selecting and training Private-Sector Peers. During the procurement process, the Peers would confer with and advise the sponsor regarding proper execution of the Design Excellence|Oregon process. As highly respected professionals, the Peers’ advice and insights would be invaluable to those responsible for administering and designing the project. The CFA would provide a modest honorarium plus travel and per diem expenses to the Peers for each project.

Ultimately, Design Excellence|Oregon is about ensuring that the best and brightest of our profession are given equal opportunity to contribute to the excellence of Oregon’s built environment. It’s too often been the case that firms with the most substantial marketing resources and largest portfolios end up as the recipients of the significant design commissions, rather than those with the best approach to solving a given problem. The Design Excellence|Oregon process is intended to “level the playing field” by placing greater emphasis upon such factors as design philosophy, understanding of design issues associated with the proposed project, and commitment of the lead designer.

Some have their reservations about Design Excellence|Oregon. Several questions arose during the course of the 2010 AIA Northwest & Pacific Region Conference, hosted by AIA-SWO here in Eugene last month. What would prevent Design Excellence|Oregon from becoming hostage to a cabal of self-appointed tastemakers? Won’t the program burden sponsors with layers of bureaucracy on top of the already onerous challenges that confront building projects? Isn’t design excellence expensive?

Don had ready answers to these questions and more. Design Excellence|Oregon isn’t about iconic architecture. It’s about the quality of life Oregonians can look forward to in the future. Design Excellence|Oregon will be community-centric. One size will not fit all. What works for Portland will not necessarily be applicable in Medford, or La Grande, or Eugene. The program will not be totally driven by metrics; there will be allowances for the un-measurable, for ingenuity, and for true creativity. Yes, there may be added expenses, but thoughtless design is exponentially more costly.

Chris Eberle pointed out that most of us tend to be legislatively reactive. Design Excellence|Oregon presents the architectural community with a chance to be proactive. All AIA Oregon members can advocate on behalf of the program when it is rolled out, encouraging its adoption at the state, county, and municipal levels, as well as by other institutional client groups and associations. All Oregonians will benefit if Design Excellence|Oregon is as widely implemented as it should be.

Don has already assembled an impressive roster of champions, alliances, and resources in support of Design Excellence|Oregon. The list includes the Architecture Foundation of Oregon, Oregon National Guard, Housing Authority of Portland, Energy Trust of Oregon, ASLA Oregon, APA Oregon, Metro, Tri-Met, Solar Energy Industries Association of Oregon, Portland State University, and the University of Oregon.

AIA Oregon and The Center for Architecture also have a focused set of activities planned for 2011 that are intended to promote the culture of design excellence. One goal is to capitalize upon the 100th anniversary of the chartering of AIA-Oregon, by introducing the definitive “toolkit” for Design Excellence|Oregon. Other proposed initiatives for 2011 include establishing the Private Sector Peer Program, engaging the Mayors’ Institutes on City Design, introducing design excellence curricula at Portland State University and the University of Oregon, and assembling an oral history of 100 years of Oregon architecture for the library at The Center for Architecture.

It’s Don’s opinion that only in Oregon could we introduce a program like this. What makes Oregon unique is the passion its residents have for their home state. The outdoors is an integral part of most Oregonian's lives. We have a deserved reputation for being on the vanguard of sustainable design. Our predominantly progressive political leanings offer less resistance to the introduction of paradigm-shifting initiatives (an example being the 1971 Oregon Bottle Bill, the first such container legislation passed in the United States).

It’s also a truism that no one in the country is better suited to produce an initiative like Design Excellence|Oregon than Don Stastny.

The Oregon Design Conference’s esteemed maharishi Bob Hastings, FAIA, once said the following of Don:

“He’s an architect and urban designer who seeks out opportunities to bring all people into the design process. The mark of his greatness is when his students, clients, colleagues and stakeholders become active participants and leaders for design excellence.”

With Don at the helm, I know that Design Excellence|Oregon will be a success.

*  *  *  *  *  *

Paul Dustrud, AIA-SWO President-Elect, has chosen to devote his presidency in 2011 to further the discussion of design excellence. The momentum generated for design excellence within our chapter by the 2010 Oregon Design Conference and the 2010 AIA Northwest &Pacific Region Conference will thus continue through next year and no doubt for many years to come.
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Monday, November 15, 2010

Talks, Tours, and Tables

AIA members and associates engaged in spirited discussions during "round table" sessions at the 2010 AIA Northwest & Pacific Region Conference this past October in Eugene (photo by Erik Bishoff)

This will be my final post about last month’s 2010 AIA Northwest & Pacific Region Conference. This one spotlights the wonderful photography of Erik Bishoff, Associate AIA, and Janet Jansen Knoblach. The conference was hosted by AIA-Southwestern Oregon, October 13-16, 2010 in Eugene.

We dubbed the 2010 AIA Northwest & Pacific Region Conference “An Emerald Vision.” Why? Because we wanted to look forward, to a near future for architecture and society that is holistic and integrated, a time when being green is a given.

The conference examined the prospects for an architecture that is truly sustainable, amid the realities of climate change, dwindling resources, and the rapid transformation of current professional practice paradigms. Through three fundamental tenets – equity, economy, and environment – An Emerald Vision explored how design excellence, the future, and genius loci coalesce and inform contemporary architectural practice.

The 2010 Conference Trade Expo featured over 50 vendors displaying an impressive range of building products and services (photo by Erik Bishoff)

Donlyn Lyndon, FAIA, spoke about the importance of place-making (photo by Erik Bishoff)

Corvallis City Council member Dan Brown, Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy, and HUD Senior Advisor for Sustainable Housing & Communities Shelley Poticha pondered Placemaking & Parochialism: The Conundrum of Mid-Sized Communities (photo by Erik Bishoff)

The Silva Concert Hall stage at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts was filled by a lunchtime audience for the Placemaking & Parochialism panel discussion (photo by Erik Bishoff)

The conference schedule almost always had a distinguished speaker giving a lecture (talks), an intriguing panel hosting a roundtable discussion (tables), or an excursion to explore a noteworthy example of architecture (tours).

UO faculty member Nico Larco, AIA defined urbanism as a social condition rather than as a geographic phenomenon (photo by Erik Bishoff)

Former GSA Chief Architect Ed Feiner, FAIA, recounted the history of the federal Design Excellence program (photo by Janet Jansen Knoblach)

The University of Oregon's new Matthew Knight Arena, one of several outstanding projects toured by attendees of  the 2010 AIA Northwest & Pacific Region Conference (photo by Erik Bishoff)

I participated as a panelist for the Design Excellence/Oregon 1: Defining Excellence session (photo by Erik Bishoff)

Audience members enjoy the discussion during the closing plenary session (photo by Janet Jansen Knoblach)

We viewed the power of good design from the vantage of the widest possible context. We considered transportation, civic leadership, land-use planning, even the effect of natural disasters on place-making. We heard from architects and deep thinkers. It was a design conference.

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Reflections on an Emerald Vision

Don Kahle (photo by Erik Bishoff)

One more post about last month’s 2010 AIA Northwest & Pacific Region Conference. This one is guest-authored by AIA-Southwestern Oregon Executive Director Don Kahle, whose writing inspired my previous blog post entitled “Ambition.” An address to the AIA-SWO membership, Don’s “Reflections on an Emerald Vision” is a testament to the broad-ranging dialogue stirred by the 2010 Conference.

I am most grateful that I came away from our region conference with a few big ideas for myself. I’ve pondered them for the past few weeks and they have grown and fed one another since. I thought it might be useful to share.

Alan Durning started his talk with a series of “highly improbable” outcomes from seemingly small events. He identified one as the beginning of abolitionism, a hundred years before the end of slavery. Another marked the start of what became the women’s suffrage movement in America. He could have added the civil rights movement, which happened — miraculously — in our lifetimes.

He suggested that these movements began with the articulation of a moral imperative — a cause that was so self-evident that the chaos to the system reached an inevitable conclusion, that people should not be considered property, or that women deserve what men have. I read recently that America’s 1788 presidential election in America had only 39,000 voters — even though there were approximately 4 million people living in America at the time.

That got me thinking that maybe there’s only one moral imperative, only one self-evident truth that’s powerful enough to shape a society and maybe a world. How does the Declaration of Independence put it? “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights ….” What if “equal rights” is the only moral imperative?

Can’t then stewardship of the planet and whatever is “beyond green” be understood as equal rights for future generations? Isn’t it really that simple? We’ve learned that people are equal, even if they aren’t land owners, even if they are of a different race or gender. Maybe the next step is for us to consider the rights of the unborn!

Alan Durning (photo by Erik Bishoff)

This is of course not new. The Great Law of the Iroquois is to consider the impact on the next seven generations, but it’s not an easy concept for Western minds. As Groucho Marx once quipped, “What have future generations ever done for us?” Exactly. If we can’t see it, it can’t be real.

Durning quoted Wendell Berry, challenging the idea that ours is a materialistic society. Far from it, the farmer-poet insists! If we were materialists, we would take care of things. We are symbolists, so the make-model-color of the car we drive speaks volumes about who we understand ourselves to be. That’s not materialism! It’s the opposite.

Tom Bowerman showed a graph during his talk about the Happiness Index. It turns out (building on the argument that we’re not materialistic in the truest sense) that wealth doesn’t make people happier. What does seem to correlate strongly to happiness is distribution of wealth. In nations where everybody has roughly the same wealth, happiness was higher. This was equally true in poor Latin American countries or rich Scandinavian countries.

This is an important discovery, because Bowerman’s research shows that consumption habits may be easier to change than conservation habits. It’s also heartening because people seem more willing to change than governments. When people are happier, they can be less susceptible to the lure that they will be happier if they consume more.

Tom Bowerman (photo by Erik Bishoff)

Bowerman and I have started exploring whether the same dynamic that shapes happiness might also turn up in “job satisfaction.” If people are satisfied at their work, could they be more easily persuaded to curb their consumption and become materialists in the literal (and Iroquois) sense?

Even more exciting, could employers have a direct impact on their employees’ lives and choices by dividing the salaries at the company more evenly? It’s very possible that a fair and transparent salary distribution would bring better results for the planet than all the recycled paper and car pooling a company can devise.

Wouldn’t it be exciting to see that the impacts are that direct for the planet and the unborn generations, and so completely within our control? Healthy work environments might be the best expression of what’s “beyond green.”

But when you look at it closely, you see that environmental threats are only one of the perils we face as a planet. Hunger and war for starters, but a hundred others as well. If we solve global warming, we’re gonna crash and burn a different way, and maybe just as soon.

That makes me believe now that we’re shaking the wrong end of the rattle. We know what’s going to be necessary to avert a climate disaster — collaboration, inclusiveness, equality, far-sightedness. These are all values that architects practice every day. But those values will also be necessary to solve the other quandaries we face as a species.

I now believe that your profession — your discipline — is what will bring us beyond green. That’s really exciting to me.

==

Don Kahle

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ambition

Lunch on the Silva Concert Hall stage, Hult Center for the Performing Arts, Friday, October 15, 2010, AIA Northwest & Pacific Region Conference (photo by Erik Bishoff)

Here is another post about last month’s 2010 AIA Northwest & Pacific Region Conference. My goal is to memorialize the event before it recedes too quickly from memory. The conference was hosted by AIA-Southwestern Oregon.

AIA-SWO Executive Director Don Kahle is well known in Eugene for the weekly column he writes for The Register-Guard newspaper. I look forward to reading what Don has to say each Friday, because I can rely upon his quirky mind to serve up a satisfying quota of quips, queries, and querulous quibbles in a characteristically offbeat take on the quotidian.

Don’s November 5, 2011 column was no exception. In it he reflected upon the parallels between our mutual home city, Eugene, and our hometown football team, the currently number one-ranked University of Oregon Ducks. There are lessons, he wrote, for all of us in the Ducks’ success. Specifically, it was head coach Chip Kelly’s “Win the Day” philosophy that appealed to Don.

That philosophy has heightened the players’ focus. Excellence and a top ranking are the rewards; the daily exertion in their pursuit a source of joy. The players are confident. Kelly has his team believing in itself, both on and off the field. The Ducks’ display of fearless ambition is inspiring.

Why, Don mused, can we Eugeneans not push toward excellence and shake ourselves of complacency? Why can’t we adopt a resolve similar to that of our beloved Ducks? Why not believe in ourselves and possibilities? Is it wrong to be ambitious?

Ambition drove AIA-Southwestern Oregon to produce the best possible 2010 AIA Northwest & Pacific Region Conference. Much of the credit goes to 2010 Conference co-chair Jody Heady, AIA, who steadfastly made the case that Eugene has as much to offer and delight conference attendees as any other host site in the Northwest & Pacific Region. Rather than dwell upon perceived limitations, Jody coached us up to believe that 2010 was Eugene’s time to shine.

AIA-SWO previously hosted the Northwest & Pacific Region Conference in resort settings, such as Sunriver in Central Oregon, rather than in Eugene. There were those that doubted (me included) that Eugene would be considered an attractive destination. However, Jody rightly argued that Eugene’s distinctive attributes – its middling size, well-established culture of respect for the environment, and being the home to the University of Oregon, among others – would set our conference apart. As Chip Kelly does with his players, Jody challenged us to raise our game.

The results speak for themselves. The 2010 Conference and its theme – “An Emerald Vision” – resonated with the AIA members, associates, students, and others who attended. The program was design-focused, discussion-rich, and deep. Our roster of speakers, panelists, and design awards jurors was superb, reading like a who’s who of authorities on design excellence, place-making, and paradigm-shifting changes affecting architecture.(1)

There were 262 registrants, many more than the previous AIA Northwest & Pacific Region conferences hosted by AIA-SWO at those resort locations. More than one attendee remarked glowingly about how enjoyable the experience in Eugene proved to be. The conference was a fiscal success, with dozens of trade show vendors and sponsors providing generous financial support.

The lessons for those of us who helped organize the 2010 AIA Northwest & Pacific Region Conference are clear: We can be ambitious and choose to pursue lofty goals. We can work effectively toward those goals as a team. We can win each day’s battle and ultimately achieve great things. Our successful experience with the conference is evidence that Eugene can hold its own and play on the same field with Portland, or Seattle, or wherever.(2)

As I've stated previously, I was awed by the efforts of my organizing committee colleagues and the contributions they made to the unequivocal success of the Region Conference. It’s easy to doubt and predict failure. After witnessing the organizing committee’s and volunteers’ labors first hand I’ll never question again our ability to rise to the occasion. I am convinced that we have the talent and will to do anything we want to.

This college football season has been a magical one (so far) for the Oregon Ducks, and yet I can’t help but think that it’s a harbinger of many more to come. Success breeds success. Don Kahle asked if we in Eugene can become possessed of the same fearless ambition displayed by the talented team of destiny we’ve cheered on to gridiron glory this fall. AIA-SWO’s experience with the 2010 AIA Northwest & Pacific Region Conference is proof for me that Eugene’s design community can grasp the brass ring, push toward excellence, and win the day. We can provide the design leadership Eugene needs at this important time in its history. All it takes is the drive and determination – the ambition – and a common goal to better our city’s built environment.

(1) The list included:
  • Alan Durning – Director, Sightline Institute
  • Julie Eizenberg, AIA – Koning Eizenberg Architecture
  • Ed Feiner, FAIA – Former GSA Chief Architect
  • David Lake, FAIA – Lake|Flato Architects
  • Donlyn Lyndon, FAIA – Eva Li Professor Emeritus, UC Berkeley
  • Clark Manus, FAIA – 2010 AIA First Vice President
  • Thom Mayne, FAIA – Morphosis
  • Shelley Poticha – HUD Senior Advisor for Sustainable Housing & Communities
(2) Granted, a few of the compliments we received betrayed preconceived notions. An example: “I didn’t expect an AIA conference produced in a small city like Eugene to be so sophisticated!”

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Brian D. McCarthy, ASLA - 1950-2010

Brian McCarthy (photo by Erik Bishoff)

It is with great sadness that I report the passing of Brian McCarthy, ASLA, of Cameron McCarthy Gilbert & Scheibe Landscape Architects.

Brian endured a lengthy battle with pulmonary dysfunction, which in due course necessitated a lung transplant a few years ago. The transplant was successful, and Brian was thankful for the significant improvement in the quality of his life it provided. Unfortunately, Brian suffered a series of setbacks in recent weeks, ultimately succumbing on the morning of Wednesday, November 3.

Those who knew Brian will miss his considerable professional skills, friendship, positive outlook, and hearty laugh. I and many others in the Eugene/Springfield professional community extend heartfelt condolences to Brian’s family and his colleagues at CMGS.

I had the good fortune to work with Brian on numerous projects since I joined Robertson/Sherwood/Architects in 1988. The results were unvaryingly high in quality; more important though was how effective Brian was as a design collaborator and source of inspiration.

Brian received his Bachelor¹s degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Oregon in 1977. Previous to that he majored in botany at Oregon State University and the University of Southern California. He became a registered landscape architect in Oregon in 1980.

Brian served as managing partner for Cameron, McCarthy, Gilbert & Scheibe, Landscape Architects. Prior to joining CMGS, he worked in the private sector in both Eugene and Portland, and for the public sector with the City of Portland Planning Bureau and the U.S. Forest Service.

It was only three weeks ago that Brian participated as one of our panelists at the 2010 AIA Northwest & Pacific Region Conference here in Eugene. He joined University of Oregon faculty member Nico Larco to lead a discussion on the subject of Urban Environments of Tomorrow. It was a testament to Brian’s wisdom, expertise, and vision that we sought his participation in our conference.

With an eye toward retirement, Brian recently turned over his share of firm ownership to Larry Gilbert, Matt Scheibe, Matt Koehler, and Colin McArthur. This transition was to have been marked this week by an open house at the firm’s office and the announcement of a change in firm identity from “Cameron McCarthy Gilbert & Scheibe Landscape Architects” to simply “Cameron McCarthy.” The open house event will now be postponed as the firm mourns its loss.

A memorial for Brian will take place on Sunday, November 14 at 2:00PM. The service will be held at The Shedd (868 High Street in downtown Eugene).

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Design|Spring’s November Meeting

An inviting entrance in the landscape by Stangeland and Associates, Inc.

Design|Spring invites local emerging architecture, engineering, landscape and design professionals to attend its November meeting.

The meeting, to take place on Wednesday, November 10, 2010, will feature a presentation entitled "The Process of Landscape Design—What landscape architects wish architects knew." Arica Duhrkoop-Galas, Landscape Architect with Stangeland & Associates, Inc. and Jackie Robertson, Principal with Lovinger Robertson Landscape Architects, are the speakers.

This presentation will provide emerging professionals in related fields with an inside view of landscape architecture. Arica and Jackie will explain the landscape architectural process, discuss what design professionals can do to make a job run smoother, and give pointers for things to keep in mind for future projects. Topics will include site work (spaces and soils), timeline (planning and planting), and infrastructure (landscape systems).

Please RSVP to Mariko Blessing at mblessing@robertsonsherwood.com so that Design|Spring can confirm the number of attendees.

Here are the meeting details:

Sandwiches and drinks: 5:45pm (sandwiches and drinks are available for purchase at the bar)

Presentation begins: 6:00pm

Location: Cowfish Nightclub*Gallery*Coffee Shop, 62 W Broadway, Eugene OR 97401

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Winners of the 2010 AIA Northwest & Pacific Region Design Awards

Shattuck Hall Renovation - A 2010 AIA Northwest & Pacific Region Design Award winner (photo by Charles Ingram Photography)

This is the second of several posts I will write about the recently completed 2010 American Institute of Architects Northwest & Pacific Region Conference – An Emerald Vision – held in Eugene, October 13-16.The conference was hosted by AIA-Southwestern Oregon.

I happened to notice when I checked my Site Meter tracking gadget that many recent visitors arrived at SW Oregon Architect after searching for “2010 Region Conference Award Winners.” Accordingly, this post features the press release prepared by the AIA Northwest & Pacific Region listing the results of the Region Design Awards program.

I’d like to credit the photographers for each of the images contained in this blog post. Unfortunately, in some instances I didn't have ready access to their names. I will add all the credits once I locate them.

Here’s the press release:

Quality Designs Make for Tough Competition

The AIA Northwest & Pacific Region annually holds the Region Design Awards (RDA) competition for projects, designed by AIA architects from Hong Kong to Montana, which have previously won an award. The 2010 awards were held in Eugene, OR, the evening of October 16.

This year there were over 70 entrants in the competition but only a handful received awards.

While this has always been a "best of the best" competition; 2010 is distinctive due to the level of excellence demonstrated in design submittals. The high quality of design made decisions difficult for the jury.

The 2010 jury only handed out eight awards. Four Honor Awards and four Citation awards were given; no Merit Awards were handed out. Pervasive elements in the winning designs were innovation and skilled utilization of elements that could have inhibited design.

The 2010 Honor Award Winners are:

Portland State University - Shattuck Hall Renovation
“ Conceptually strong... individual pieces ingeniously crafted with spirit and life. ”
(Charles Ingram Photography)

Bainbridge High School
“Strengthens and reinforces the campus at large as well as the community.”

Vancouver Convention Center West
“A difficult building type on a remarkable site that maintains strong physical and visual ties with Vancouver Harbor ”

Portland Mall Revitalization
“A subtle, masterful handling of all the elements while addressing several modes of transportation with texture and craft.”

2010 Citation Award Winners are:

Vanke Shenzhen Head Office
“A sophisticated insertion of circulation and volume to unify three existing floors and modernize an office building ”

Olympia Mills Commerce Center
“A skillful repurposing of a grain storage facility into a variety of flexible spaces.”
(photo by Stephen A. Miller)

bSIDE6
“A market driven solution on a tight budget that still manages to reinterpret an urban form in a completely new way. ”
(photo by Stephen A. Miller) 

Earth House
“ A magical creation”
(photo by Wooseop Hwang)

The awards event itself was well attended with over 200 attendees. Jurors easily held the audience attention with their comments and both participants and attendees were fortunate to have an exceptional combination of jurors. The three jury members were: Julie Eizenberg, Founding Principal of Koning Eizenberg Architecture; David Lake, FAIA; Lake|Flato Architects; and Donlyn Lyndon, FAIA, Eva Li Professor of Architecture and Urban Design, Emeritus UC Berkeley.



Sunday, October 17, 2010

Walk Score

Click image to enlarge.

This is the first of several posts I will write about the recently completed 2010 American Institute of Architects Northwest & Pacific Region Conference – An Emerald Vision – held in Eugene, October 13-16.The conference was hosted by AIA-Southwestern Oregon. As a member of the conference steering committee, I was awed by the efforts of my committee colleagues and the contributions they made to the unequivocal success of the event.

Do you know your Walk Score? Prior to the start of the 2010 AIA Northwest & Pacific Region Conference I was unaware of my mine. I know I wasn’t alone among the 260-plus conference attendees in this regard.

Walk Score and More” was the name of the first session on the last day of the Region Conference. It was intended to be one of the “Tables” events, a panel discussion involving several of our speakers.(1) Unfortunately, only Alan Durning, Executive Director of the Sightline Institute was available to participate.(2) He is an outstanding and highly entertaining speaker, so the fact that the “panel” was minus two thirds of its roster did not detract from an interactive discussion with the audience. Alan was ably accompanied by AIA-SWO’s own executive director Don Kahle, himself no slouch when it comes to being a provocateur or engaging an audience.

The website walkscore.com allows anyone in America to measure the walkability of his or her neighborhood, using Google maps and other sources to determine how easily a resident or office worker might be able to dash over to get a sandwich or a book without driving their car.

Walk Score is a number between 0 and 100:
  • 90–100 is a Walker's Paradise — Daily errands do not require a car.
  • 70–89 is considered Very Walkable — Most errands can be accomplished on foot.
  • 50–69 is Somewhat Walkable — Some amenities are within walking distance.
  • 25–49 is Car-Dependent — A few amenities are within walking distance.
  • 0–24 is Totally Car-Dependent — Almost all errands require a car.
The idea behind the site and the company, Walk Score, which was launched in July 2007, is to promote walkable neighbourhoods as "one of the simplest and most effective solutions to halt climate change, improve our health and strengthen our communities." Walk Score’s vision is for every property listing to read: "Beds: 3 Baths: 2 Walk Score: 84." The company wants walkability and transportation costs to be a key part of choosing where to live.

Economists and realtors are just now learning how to use new tools like this to shape behavior or to measure the likelihood that behaviors will change. For example, it’s becoming clear that properties with a high Walk Score retain their value better than those with a low score.

The creators of Walk Score (3) were directly inspired by Alan Durning, particularly by the blog he wrote during his year of living “car-lessly.”

My conference name badge with my Walk Score.

One of the more inspired moves made by the conference steering committee was to provide everyone in attendance with his or her Walk Score. It did this by placing the number on each person’s name badge. The intention was to get people talking – and it worked. Attendees compared their respective Walk Scores, even before they completely understood what they meant. The numbers “broke the ice” between those who did not know one another, serving as a point of immediate commonality for those otherwise with little in common aside from a shared love for architecture.(4)

My home’s Walk Score is 65, classified as “Somewhat Walkable.” My office, located downtown, boasts a Walk Score of 98, placing it in the midst of a “Walker’s Paradise.” A surprising number of conference attendees could likewise boast high Walk Scores. This was no doubt because many listed their office addresses when they registered for the conference. Architects – being urban life-loving creatures – tend to locate their practices in the vibrant, interesting, and walkable neighborhoods.

Conversely, the Walk Score of many of our fellow Americans is an indication of how car-dependent our society has become. As architects – as leaders in the shaping of our built environment – we must encourage our clients whenever we can to appreciate the suprising benefits of walkable communities to our health, our finances, and our communities. This means offering guidance in the selection of sites and acting as advocates for compact growth.

One of the unintended benefits of Walk Score may be to serve as an adjunct to the LEED rating system by providing a means to further validate a project’s sustainability. I’ve seen too many LEED-certified projects hailed for their “green” design that are only accessible by automobile. How sustainable is that? By factoring into the equation a project’s proximity to the core of a walkable community, we may come closer to certification of true sustainability.

In his earlier address on Friday evening in the Soreng Theater at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts, Alan Durning challenged our gathering to not rest until the rest of the world conforms to the principles of sustainability we espouse. He asserted that we’re on the cusp of an era of a new materialism – a simpler, less expensive, yet richer and greener future.

Alan enlisted all of us in his crusade for the development of compact, pedestrian-friendly communities. He has deputized us. It’s time to walk the walk.

(1) We fashioned the conference schedule to almost always have a distinguished speaker giving a lecture, an intriguing panel hosting a roundtable discussion, or a respected colleague leading a tour. “Talks, Tables, and Tours” became a useful mnemonic for understanding the organization of our conference.

(2) Joe Cortright, president and principal economist for Impresa, and Shelley Poticha, senior advisor for sustainable housing and communities to the Obama administration, were intended to be the other two panelists. They, along with Alan Durning, are members of Walk Score’s board of advisors.

(3) Walk Score is a division of Front Seat, a civic software company.

(4) Conference attendees reflected the vastness and incredible diversity of the Northwest & Pacific Region, which encompasses Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, Hawaii, Japan, Hong Kong, Guam, and Micronesia.

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