Do you remember what it was like to be a senior in high school and thinking, “What on earth am I going to do for a career?” I remember that question. I also remember the people who helped me find my way to the answer.
For the past six years I’ve had the privilege of helping steer students toward their answer through the ACE Mentor Program. Thanks to the 57 volunteer mentors from 22 local firms, 102 high school students are exploring their futures in architecture, construction and engineering. The students are getting a taste of professional life and career skills by meeting for 12 sessions at offices around Portland. They are learning about the daily life of these professionals and what’s involved in the design and construction of a building. As a practical application, the students have been working as a team to design their own building, which they presented to their peers and parents at ZIBA on May 21 and 23.
As ACE draws to a close for this year and the students make their final presentations, it will be rewarding to see the accomplishments of their teamwork in such a short amount of time. I’m thankful for the numerous mentors that invested in these lives and feel a deep satisfaction in knowing that the future is a little clearer for many of these students.
I remember it like it was yesterday. The four of us flew out the front door of the house, down to the park and straight into the creek—drawn to its rocky bed like bees to honey. I was not sure if we were going to find any crawdads, but we had found seven (a record!) just the day before. The creek offered us a new adventure every time: climbing over the rocks, prodding the mud with sticks, and turning over small logs—we explored everything. As we worked on the very serious business of finding crawdads, frogs and super-long worms, the playground behind us, interestingly enough remained conspicuously silent. That sluggish concrete slide hadn’t seen action in months, but for good reason; the creek was an entire world unto itself.
This is how many of us grew up and we wouldn’t have it any other way. The power of nature in our parks has not been lost on me. So when Chehalem Park and Recreation District said they were interested in nature play at one of their new parks, I was all ears. We visited the site, which is a spectacular 1.75 acre hillside of seasonal springs and oak savanna with scenic views of the Yamhill Valley in Newberg, Oregon. The next thing I knew we were knee-deep in the design of Schaad Park.
Fast-forward to the May 16th grand opening and you will see me proudly standing in front of “my” park. It’s a park of opportunity and discovery. It has a little bit of everything: sand, mud, water, forest, logs, natural boulders and a 30 foot long stainless steel slide built into the slope that I guarantee will see plenty of action—by kids and adults. Most importantly however, it has a neighborhood full of families who have been waiting in the wings until now. So, from one crawdad hunter to another—it’s all yours!
Schaad Park Opening
Thursday, May 16th
Eagle St, Newberg, OR 97132
Directions: drive past Chehalem Glenn Golf Course and turn left into The Greens, turn right at Hook Drive, and left onto Eagle Street
On April 10th I had the privilege to participate in a one-day symposium on Opportunities and Challenges in Artful Rainwater Design hosted by Penn State’s Landscape Architecture department. Experts from across the country who practice in this specialized area of design came together for eleven sequential “TED talk style” presentations. My presentation, “Rivers and Rain Gardens” discussed a chronology of our firm’s stormwater projects from early work in the mid-1980s with bioswales and detention ponds, to recently completed work at Bud Clark Commons and a terraced rain garden beneath the Darlene Hooley Pedestrian Bridge over I-5 in South Waterfront.
After seeing the presentations of others and conversing with my colleagues in a subsequent Professionals Round Table, I came away feeling appreciative that we who practice in the Northwest have been able to make significant contributions to the “state of the art” and science of green infrastructure. I also felt convinced that we, as landscape architects, need to strongly advocate for the design of stormwater systems as an integral part of our practices, no matter where the project is located or what discipline is leading the team. We are uniquely trained to consider all of the multiple benefits of green infrastructure, from its ecological functions, educational value, economics and aesthetics.
It was 2002 when we launched our first website. Trends in web design have come and gone over the past 11 years, but our site has remained, mostly, in its original design. Technology changes prompted the redesign, but after some serious introspection, we decided it was time for a big change and not a face-lift. The strategy then was to stay away from distracting bells and whistles and focus on a clear presentation of our studio, services and portfolio.
Our new website was created in collaboration with Brewhouse, who masterfully programmed the site to be responsive whether your portal is the desktop, tablet or smartphone. The minimalist aesthetic and navigation of our new website stays true to our approach to design—clean, efficient, and strategic.
The process of redesigning the website gave us the opportunity to look over 35 years of work as a summary of who we are as designers, our values, and the ways in which our community has grown. It became a process of asking, “who do we strive to be?” —and confirming that our work embodies these ideals.
There is a lot of depth, so please explore and tell us what you think. Check back for regular updates to the NEWS section, or subscribe for updates in the sidebar.