Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Octagon

Eugene mayor Kitty Piercy (left) officially opens the Octagon (all photos by me).

Another incredibly pleasant autumn evening this past Friday provided a perfect backdrop to showcase the Octagon, Eugene’s new center for architecture. Located at 92 East Broadway in the heart of downtown, the Octagon is now home base for both AIA-Southwestern Oregon and Architects Building Community (ABC). 

As a featured stop on October’s First Friday ArtWalk, the event attracted a large audience. Eugene mayor Kitty Piercy officially took the wraps off of the Octagon. Others who commemorated the occasion with brief addresses included 2012 Eugene Slug Queen Sadie Slimy Stitches, AIA-SWO president Kurt Albrecht, and ABC director Michael Fifield

2012 AIA-SWO president Kurt Albrecht, AIA cuts the first pieces of the octagon-shaped cake commemorating AIA-SWO's first sixty years as a chapter.

Everybody on hand appeared to thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to mingle with members of the AIA-SWO community, view the display of the 2012 People’s Choice Award winners, taste some outstanding wine or craft beer, and indulge in the octagon-shaped birthday cake celebrating AIA-SWO’s sixtieth birthday. It was a great time and a perfect debut for the Octagon. 

As I mentioned in my previous post, the Octagon’s name is a play upon the space’s unique shape as well as the namesake Octagon in Washington, DC—chosen by the American Institute of Architects as its headquarters in 1899 and now a National Historic Treasure. The providential coincidence of geometry and institutional allusion endow the modest structure with a measure of significance that AIA-SWO and ABC will make the most of. 

Travis Sheridan, Assoc. AIA and Will Dixon, AIA.

Huge credit for not only the success of the unveiling but also recognizing the potential of transforming the vacant space into the Octagon goes to AIA-SWO president-elect Will Dixon, AIA. He, along with his colleague Travis Sheridan, Assoc. AIA, did the heavy lifting when it came to setting up the People’s Choice display, securing sponsors and donations for the party, and generally ensuring the event’s success. Thanks Will and Travis! 

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Thank you to the following generous companies for providing goods and services for the Octagon opening and AIA-SWO 60th birthday celebration: 

"Folk-Grass" performers Damiana provided the evening's entertainment.

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With its tall glass walls, the Octagon will be a wonderful means to exhibit the work of architects and support ABC’s mission "to support public education, community outreach, and well-informed public involvement in planning design excellence for our communities and public spaces." In addition to exhibits programmed by ABC, the windows can also be rented by members of AIA-SWO and the broader community for the purpose of displays dedicated to design and architecture.

The Octagon is also available for anyone to use as a meeting space. With parking conveniently located immediately south in the Overpark, it’s perfect for downtown gatherings of 6-15 people. AIA-SWO has established a very reasonable rate chart for use in three-hour slots or by the day. Check out for more information about both meeting and public display opportunities.

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