ASLA Oregon has announced its 2016 Honor Awards winners and we are thrilled to be recognized with the Outstanding Firm Award for major contributions to the profession. The awards, which celebrate the spirit of the landscape architecture profession in Oregon, honor people and organizations for their service, design excellence, community leadership and stewardship. We look forward to celebrating with our friends and colleagues during Oregon ASLA’s Annual Soiree on Friday, November 4, 2016.
A dozen years after completion, the Rain Garden at the Oregon Convention Center continues to draw national and international interest for its pioneering approach to stormwater management. As the lead designer, I recently led a tour of the site for a group of landscape architects from Beijing, China where designing visible, green infrastructure is in its infancy.
The independent practitioners and academics from the School of Architecture and Design of Beijing Jiaotong University were studying successful examples of integrated stormwater landscapes in Portland, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
They were particularly impressed with the long term success and lessons learned from The Rain Garden, a series of vegetated basins that collects and treats stormwater from over 5.5 acres of roof area from the OCC expansion. It was essentially a large scale experiment at the time of its design and installation.As we gathered among the chiseled basalt boulders in the spillways, the group took copious notes and photos and challenged me with questions: “How did you determine the size and depth of the basins? Where does the water drain to? What type of stone was used and where did it come from? Would you do it the same way if you were designing it now?”
I found myself drawn into their excitement for a project that I have come to take for granted among many prolific, sustainable stormwater projects in the Pacific Northwest. Nowadays, as rain gardens have become a character-defining feature of Portland, it’s heartening to recall that this bold, demonstration project did, in fact, help inspire a movement that is now acknowledged and emulated worldwide.The tour was organized by Hong Wu, Assistant Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture at Pennsylvania State University and Xiaojie Tian, Principal of LA Road Study Exchange Program and sponsored by the Landscape Architecture Frontiers Magazine of China.
Our latest studio artwall installation is on display at Mayer/Reed. In its eighth year, the artwall is a rotating, collaborative display of staff submissions focused on a theme.
Michael Reed, Mayer/Reed’s founding principal, was named SEGD Fellow during a June 11 event at the 2016 SEGD Conference in Seattle. Michael accepted the award with a presentation about his career path entitled, “Object, Symbol, Message: A Journey of Discovery & Search for Meaning.”
The SEGD Fellow award recognizes a designer for promoting the highest values in experiential graphic design and significantly contributing to the direction and growth of the field. Michael joins the ranks of just 37 others, including Massimo Vignelli, Lance Wyman, Wayne Hunt, Sue Gould, David Gibson, Donald Meeker and Henry Beer.
In a follow-up SEGD article celebrating Michael’s career, he reflects on his legacy, “I have always wanted to design beautiful things, but learned that for this activity to be meaningful it had to move beyond arbitrariness. A client doesn’t ask you to design a beautiful thing. They ask you to solve a problem. They trust you to design something of beauty. Maybe my legacy is instilling in our staff that, if you are given this privilege and trust, you have the obligation to do the right thing. You have to do things that contribute and add value.”