Landscape architects at Mayer/Reed volunteered “hands on” time last week, applying elbow grease into pruning shrubs and trees of the two courtyards at Bud Clark Commons, a non-profit center providing services to the homeless. The Day Center and Men’s Shelter courtyards get intensive use everyday. While we don’t normally maintain the landscapes that we’ve designed, returning to sites after installation is time well spent to see if the spaces are being used in all the ways we anticipated.
Mayer/Reed congratulates Michael Abbate for his election to the 2013 Class of Fellows for the American Society of Landscape Architects. Mike was inducted on Monday, Nov. 18 at the annual meeting held in Boston, MA. As Director of Portland Parks and Recreation, he is an accomplished landscape architect whose work has encompassed both public and private sectors. We truly appreciate Mike’s special insights into the importance of public spaces and the value of design.
I love to ride my bike. I commute every day, I’ve raced for years (and won) and so for me and a core group at Mayer/Reed every month is Bike Commute Challenge month. That’s just how we roll. Sure, we do the official challenge, but I mainly use it as opportunity to send an unsolicited and over-the-top email about the virtues of cycling. That gentle reminder and a promise of cookies usually gets a few of the less inclined to pump up the old tires.And so out march all of the bikes with their proud owners. Some of us have carbon fiber bikes, others ride electric bikes or bikes with warn-out knobby tires. Other bikes are retro classic racers and there is one much-beloved yard sale “gem.” All the different bikes at Mayer/Reed underscore the different personalities that play through the firm in a magically cohesive way.
Cycling is also a terrific way to see our city and region. I think it is the best way actually. Each of us at Mayer/Reed takes great personal pride in our work and cycling is a wonderful way to keep tabs our projects. This isn’t just during construction mind you—we are invested for the long haul. For this reason many of us find cycling is the best way to go. That is just how we roll.
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.