AIA Portland Design Awards 2007
by Brian Libby
Portland, Oregon, has traditionally kept a low architectural style profile compared to other West Coast cities of the United States, such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle, with their array of landmarks by star architects.
But this river city is becoming a hot commodity. Numerous publications have christened Portland as America's greenest city. There are more LEED-registered building projects in Portland than any other city in the country.
And Oregon's long history of environmental activism and progressive planning has attracted over the last several years a wave of artists, shoe designers, indie rock bands, chefs, and other young creatives. It's helped invigorate an architectural community that in the past seemed more given to mediocrity.
With this backdrop, the Portland chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) handed out its annual design awards in October 2007 to a transforming local architectural community and culture. The jury comprised three respected West Coast architects: Phoenix's Wendell Burnette, San Francisco's Anne Fougeron, and Bing Thom of Vancouver, British Columbia.
The jury's top prize, called the honor award, was given to two disparate projects: a small vacation home near majestic Mount Hood, designed by sole practitioner Paul McKean, and an opulent big-budget sports medicine facility for the University of Oregon, from Portland's largest architecture firm, Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects (ZGF).
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