Architecture Foundation of Oregon


paper sculpture installation @ PLACE

Tonight the Architecture Foundation of Oregon (AFO), in partnership with ForWARD (Forum for Women in Architecture & Related Design), hosted an event titled "Portlandia Moments: 60 Years of Architecture, Urban Design & Looking Forward". It was a slide show summarizing the last 60 years of Portland's growth, with commentary given by architects Martha Andrews, Nancy Merryman and Susan Anderson, who is the Director of the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. The event was being hosted by PLACE landscape architects in Northwest. I am still swooning over their office, a large warehouse space with exposed wood trusses painted out white, concrete floors and beautiful industrial windows. The space is massive, hulking steel sculptural pieces and expansive site models share the space with not only the staff (of let's say 12 - not 100% sure) but with no less than three motorcycles and two hammocks. The group of 100+ people attending this event didn't even seem to require any moving of office furniture, but it really didn't feel hugely out of wack even with a full scale pink elephant painted on one of the demising walls or hundreds of square feet of air taken up by massive paper sculpture installations! Maybe the wine had me madly out of tune with reality, who knows....

The slide show was full of interesting information and, not being originally from Portland, I appreciated hearing the history of how the city was shaped and who/what influenced the development. It's easy to take for granted what great forethought in planning went into creating the green vistas we enjoy today. Photos form the 1980's show a smoggy skyline and a horrifyingly polluted Willamette river. It took 7 years to reduce the smog to acceptable levels and 40 years to clean up the river, which is now actually swimmable! We've definitely been on the forefront of sustainable design, not only with buildings but with transportation, bike path infrastructure, open green space, etc. Now the future has set it's sights for the outlying areas of Portland where parks and open spaces lack infrastructure and neighborhood connectivity appears lost, a strong push in the upcoming years will attempt to revitalize these areas and bring them up to match our past successes. I was personally very persuaded to become a member of the AFO and be part of their mission towards preservation and education, I urge you to check it out as well!