The Society for Experiential Design (SEGD) honored a collaboration of 7 design teams for Revolution in the Landscape: Re-experience the Halprin Fountains, a two-hour long 2014 Design Week Portland event. The 2016 Merit Award in the public installations category was presented at the 2016 SEGD Conference in Seattle. The designers, led by SEGD Portland Chapter, created temporary installations along the Portland Open Space Sequence, designed by Lawrence Halprin and built between 1966 and 1970.“Sometimes we forget what we have until someone shines a light on it. More of this kind of collaboration, please!” Juror comment
Project collaborators include: Mayer/Reed, Portland State University Graphic Design Department, Sticky Co, PNCA Animation Arts, Second Story, Stefan Lesueur, and Gamut Arts & Third Angle New Music. In total, 11 Honor Awards and 28 Merit Awards were chosen from among 371 submissions of experiential graphic design projects from around the world.
On display now at the Center for Architecture in Portland, Oregon, is an inspiring view into the design processes of Snøhetta, the internationally renowned design firm partnering with Mayer/Reed on the Willamette Falls Riverwalk and the James Beard Public Market.
With an emphasis on studio culture and design philosophy, Snøhetta: People, Process, Projects, is Snohetta’s first full-scale exhibit in the U.S. on view through June 30, 2016, with a public reception on First Thursday, June 2nd from 5:30-9:00 pm.
Imagine the future Central Eastside Industrial District (CEID) as a very different place than it is today. While preserving it as primarily an employment-driven sector of the city, envision a place that’s more active and better connected to the river as it once was before construction of the I-5 freeway. Imagine a place where people walk down locally connected streets through the commercial, industrial, neighborhood areas to the river.
I’m not a transportation planner; I am coming at this idea wholly from an urban design and land-use perspective. This much is clear to me: it may be feasible to expand and unlock the potential of the CEID with more development parcels by replacing the interstate freeway with a local, on-grade high-capacity street. Only then can we re-establish surface streets that will enable greater local connectivity and eliminate the spaghetti of ramps and undeveloped land in our central city.
East-west surface streets connect to this new on-grade boulevard. Morrison and Hawthorne Bridges’ viaducts come to grade after they fly over the boulevard and railroad, similar to Portland’s Lovejoy ramp at the foot of the Broadway Bridge. This vision recaptures land for both expanded riverfront park and approximately 24 blocks of private development. Mixed-use development blocks adjacent to the bridges yield potential for a more active commercial waterfront; more generous open space pairs well with the Esplanade. Perhaps northbound traffic could be accommodated on the lower deck of the Marquam Bridge with southbound traffic on a new lower deck if it can be designed to meet marine clearances set by the Tilikum Crossing.
And the Marquam’s existing upper deck? Retrofit it as an incredible linear park called, “Portland’s Higher Line Trail!”
When Mayer/Reed was designing the Eastbank Esplanade before its opening in 2001, people asked whether the project was really worth doing until the freeway was removed. I would respond by saying that we as a city would never demand alternatives to I-5 until we provided this important public access to the river. Only then would people truly understand the value of our waterfront.
Fifteen years later, I feel it’s finally time to put more thought into transportation and land use alternatives for the future. Let’s seriously consider multi-modal transportation links along with more blocks in the CEID for growth, job creation, and connectivity to the river.
Two Case Studies:
Harbor Drive / Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Portland, OR
In the 1970s, Portland became known as a visionary city by replacing Harbor Drive freeway with Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park and Naito Parkway. In fact, this move has been frequently cited as a milestone in urban planning. Meanwhile, the 1960s era I-5 cut off the CEID, complicated bridge connections and made local access more difficult. Over time, the CEID became disconnected and seemed to lose its soul.
The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA
A large earthquake allowed San Francisco to re-imagine the freeway rimming its frontage on the bay. When all the debris was cleared and infrastructure put into place, an entirely new waterfront emerged. Now the on-grade Embarcadero provides multi-modal transportation links and a character-defining, pedestrian-friendly street that features historic buildings, parks and an active waterfront.
Daimler Trucks North America celebrated the April 19th opening of its innovative new US headquarters on Swan Island in North Portland. As the landscape architects and visual communications designers for the project, we enjoyed touring the completed campus that takes advantage of the riverfront site and numerous flexible, social spaces.The sophisticated site design reflects the industrial setting through concrete and stainless steel elements in the plazas and entryways surrounding the building. A generous terrace and lawn gives way to a restored riverbank. A new segment of Willamette Greenway Trail features a large river overlook built on the foundation of a prior structure. Campus stormwater is managed through a variety of methods including an ecoroof and a south terrace water feature that directs rainwater from the building’s roof to treatment swales. Mayer/Reed’s interior and exterior signage design includes a massive identity monument in mirror-surface stainless steel inspired by Daimler’s state-of-the art vehicle engineering and design.Over the next few weeks, employees once located in internally-focused offices away from the Willamette River, will move into their new glassy spaces with views of the downtown skyline. The new headquarters, targeted to be LEED platinum, ushers in an era of contemporary company culture where employees are encouraged to collaborate across disciplines in a cutting edge, sustainable environment.