Page N2.2 . 05 November 2003                     
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    Best of the Northwest

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    More inherently collegiate and urban than the Nike project is the award-winning Keystone Building on the Tacoma campus of the University of Washington. It performs the role of traditional wedge-shaped buildings in tight urban sites. Seattle's LMN Architects fit the 11,000-square-foot (1,020-square-meter) triangular building between a railroad track and historic buildings, where it serves not only for classrooms but as a circulation hub for the campus.

    The Keystone Building links lower and upper campus areas through stairs, ramped walkways, and an "exuberantly engineered" pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks. The jury commented: "Its vernacular reference to railroad-industrial surroundings enhances its simplicity. The bridge is a powerful stroke on a consistently strong design." Exposed structure, unusual angles, and leaning walls give the building a noninstitutional energy.

    Equally exurberant is "Outside In," an outreach facility for the street kids of Portland, Oregon, designed by Clark/Kjos Architects. "An engaging response to a bold undertaking that builds upon the memories of its roots," said the jury, "this is the essence of practice made public."

    The 31,000-square-foot (2,900-square-meter) Outside In accommodates housing, clinics, and counseling, employment, and administrative programs. The building massing is segmented to respond to its variously sized urban neighbors. The front is covered with collages and paintings created by teenagers themselves to communicate with humor that safety lies within.

    One of the design awards went to a heritage site restoration in Hong Kong. The 1930s-era Tao Fong Shan Christian Centre, in New Territories, Hong Kong was renovated by Nelson Chen Architects, Ltd. The original buildings were constructed of timber and stone masonry, covered with white-washed plaster and blue-black clay roof tiles. The same materials were applied in the restoration.

    Although the center's mission has evolved over the decades, the octagonal Christ Temple continues to serve as the architectural focal point. The architects were commended for the "restraint and discipline it took to restore and revitalize such exquisite architecture with faithfulness to tradition and craft."

    Woodcraft of the boatbuilding tradition came into play in the expansion of Astoria, Oregon's Columbia River Maritime Museum by Fletcher Farr Ayotte. An existing wave-shaped cedar shake-covered building had attracted few visitors because of its uninviting exterior. In contrast, the new addition includes a glazed entry and a vivid simulation of a coast guard rescue.

    The architects worked with a vocabulary built on maritime themes, including a wave-shaped roof on the addition to respect the existing building. Wood beams and decking that form the roofs are supported by wood columns, recalling hull framing. Outside, the wave shapes are secured from coastal winds by steel struts, a reference to masts. The inviting addition has doubled visitor traffic and brought renewed pride to the local community.

    The award-wining House of Charity, by Northwest Architectural Company, in Spokane, Washington, is a community base for homeless people. The gabled roofs, dormers, double-hung windows, and wood-simulating concrete lap siding, offer a residential image in contrast with the surrounding industrial masonry buildings.

    The complex offers meals, beds, refuge, and services to the homeless. The jury commented: "With dignity and respect for its users, this project feels like home. Its careful control of the volumes and elements complements the community."

    Discuss this article in the Architecture Forum...

    The Northwest/ Pacific Region chapter of the AIA includes the northwestern states of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana, and the Pacific areas of Hawaii, Guam, Micronesia, and Hong Kong. The jury for this award cycle included Thom Penney, FAIA, John Baker, AIA, and Gordon Price.

     

    AW

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    "Outside In" by Clark/Kjos Architects was a recipient of a 2003 honor award from the AIA Northwest/Pacific Region.
    Photo: Michael Mathers

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    Tao Fong Shan Christian Centre renovation by Nelson Chen Architects, Ltd.
    Photo: Stuart Woods

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    Columbia River Maritime Museum by Fletcher Farr Ayotte.
    Photo: Michael Mathers

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    House of Charity by Northwest Architectural Company
    Photo: Larry Conboy, Conboy Photography

     

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