Page D1.4. 04 April 2012                     
ArchitectureWeek - Design Department
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New Northwest Architecture

Bud Clark Commons, Portland, OregonVancouver Community Library, Vancouver, WashingtonTandem Townhouses, Portland, OregonWood Block Residence, Mercer Island, WashingtonEarly Childhood Center, Gresham, OregonAnd More...

 
Early Childhood Center • Gresham, Oregon

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Mahlum designed the Early Childhood Center at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham, Oregon.
Photo: Lincoln Barbour Extra Large Image

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The programmatic elements of the Early Childhood Center are organized into a staggered series of rectangular volumes separated by circulation corridors that double as indoor play spaces.
Photo: Lincoln Barbour Extra Large Image

Before the Early Childhood Center was completed at Mt. Hood Community College in 2011, it had been three decades since a new building was constructed on the school's main campus, located in the Portland suburb of Gresham. In contrast to many of the existing dark, low, concrete modernist buildings, the new LEED Silver-targeting structure demonstrates transparency and connectivity.

The center houses Head Start and Early Head Start programs that serve almost 200 children, ranging in age from six months to five years old. It also provides daycare for kids of full-time MHCC students.

Designed by the architecture firm Mahlum of Seattle and Portland, the building is divided into four wings of daycare/ classroom spaces. An internal "street" connects these wings, forming a series of spaces used for play and quiet time. The high degree of transparency between classrooms and adjacent spaces allows continuous supervision by caregivers. Inside the classrooms, the ceilings angle downward from tall clerestory windows at the perimeter to create daylit yet intimate spaces for young children. Outside, children enjoy a playground with interactive water features.

A family welcome room with a fireplace and sofas links administrative spaces with the classroom wings and play areas. The building also contains a kitchen in which meals are prepared for 13 area Head Start programs.

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The interiors of the Early Childhood Center include window seats scaled for children.
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Early Childhood Center plan drawing.
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More Portland and Seattle AIA Awards

Three more projects received top-level awards in the AIA Portland 2011 Design Awards:

• Legacy Emanuel Medical Center Central Utility Plant, Portland, Oregon, by ZGF Architects.

J-Tea renovation, Eugene, Oregon, by Benjamin Waechter, Architect.

Digital Animation Campus, Glendale, California, by Lever Architecture.

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Benjamin Waechter designed a renovation of the J-Tea tea house in Eugene, Oregon, which now includes an exterior shading pavilion composed of diagonal metal fins.
Photo: Sally Schoolmaster Extra Large Image

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Lever Architecture designed the Digital Animation Campus in Glendale, California, a project that reused an existing warehouse building.
Photo: Courtesy Lever Architecture Extra Large Image

AIA Seattle gave top-level honors to two projects in addition to the Wood Block Residence and Vancouver Community Library:

Art Stable, Seattle, Washington, by Olson Kundig Architects, which was also recognized in the national AIA Housing Awards 2011.

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Art Stable is a seven-story condominium project designed by Olson Kundig Architects for a narrow infill lot in Seattle.
Photo: Benjamin Benschneider Extra Large Image

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The metal-and-glass clad Art Stable is designed to accommodate large works of art. On the alley side, each unit has an immense door that, together with a rooftop crane, allows for the transport of large objects.
Photo: Benjamin Benschneider Extra Large Image

LOTT Regional Services Center, Olympia, Washington by Miller Hull, which was also named one of the Top Ten Green Projects for 2011 by AIA/COTE.

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Miller Hull designed a new four-story office and education building for the LOTT Clean Water Alliance in Olympia, Washington.
Photo: Nic Lehoux Extra Large Image

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LOTT Regional Services Center floor plan sketch.
Image: Miller Hull Extra Large Image

The AIA Portland 2011 Design Awards and AIA Seattle 2011 Honor Awards were presented in October 2011.

The AIA Portland 2011 Design Awards jury included Merrill Elam, AIA, Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects, Atlanta, Georgia; Lisa Iwamoto, IwamotoScott Architecture, San Francisco, California; and Vanessa Kassabian, Snøhetta, New York, New York.

The AIA Seattle 2011 Honor Awards jury included Marlon Blackwell, FAIA, University of Arkansas and Marlon Blackwell Architect, Fayetteville, Arkansas; Martin Felsen, AIA, UrbanLab, Chicago, Illinois; and Jennifer Yoos, VJAA, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Brian Libby is a Portland, Oregon-based freelance writer who has also published in Metropolis, Architectural Record, the Christian Science Monitor, and the New York Times.   More by Brian Libby

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