Regenerative Design in Urban Land

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The August 2009 issue of Urban Land (the publication of the Urban Land Institute – ULI) featured an article on ‘Regenerative Design’ authored by GreenWorks Senior Associate Jason King, along with Ankrom Moisan Principal Scott Thayer.  The article discussed our transition from sustainability to regeneration of communities, and included projects such as Independence Station, Tanner Springs Park, and the Headwaters at Tryon Creek.

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Images copyright (ULI) – Click here to read the entire issue online (and jump to pg. 48 for the specific article).

A Hopeful Rooftop Harvest

The Multnomah County Hope Garden installed in mid-June as a GreenWorks pro-bono project with a host of other partners, continues to thrive.  On August 19th hosted a crowd to continue the harvest.  Commissioner Judy Shiprack, Sustainability Coordinator Kat West, and many others celebrated with a brief  ‘harvest’ ceremony to celebrate the donations of time, labor, and materials from a wide range of people and local businesses.

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The produce will be donated to the Oregon Food Bank to combat hunger issues in our region, and if you have surplus veggies from your garden, these can be donated to OFB through the Plant a Row for the Hungry campaign.  Over 4000 pounds of produce so far this year has been donated from local gardeners – over 50 of which came for this very productive 150 square feet of rooftop.

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commissioner shiprack addresses the crowd
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the plaque showing donations and volunteers

Russellville Commons Grand Opening

The grand opening celebration occurred last week for Phase III of the Russellville Commons.  The project is a three- to four-story assisted living facility with group care units for Alzheimer patients, built atop an underground parking garage. It is one of the first multi-family developments of Portland’s Gateway District as part of the 1996 Outer Southeast Community Plan’s densification initiative, and is located adjacent to the TriMet MAX stop at E Burnside and SE 102nd Avenue.   Speakers at the event included Metro President David Bragdon and Metro District 6 Councilor Robert Liberty

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Metro President David Bragdon

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Metro Councilor Robert Liberty

Working with MCM Architects, GreenWorks was responsible for designing streetscape improvements for Phase III, as well as an interior courtyard space that includes a memory care courtyard and a fountain feature. Significant streetscape elements include flow through planters that manage the building’s roof runoff along E Burnside and SE Ankeny Streets, and an entry plaza with special paving along and across SE 103rd Avenue extending to Phase II. The interior courtyard space includes sculptural walls that provide a variety of spaces for individuals and for group interaction, as well as a tree-covered outdoor dining area. A circular vegetated swale handles courtyard runoff and provides a central landscape feature that echoes notions of healing and tranquility.

See below for some additional images of the central courtyard stormwater feature, and the remaining portions of the courtyard, including the Alzheimer’s area, wine bar, and the exterior green streets. 

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Summer Sustainability…

GreenWorks is excited to be involved again in 2009 with the 2nd iteration of the Summer Sustainability Series program on ‘Sustainability in the Built Environment.  From the Website:  “The Summer Sustainability Series offers unique professional programs based on the ground-breaking work of Oregon’s businesses, universities, not-for-profit organizations, and policy makers.  We visit experts and practitioners in the field as they bring their experiences to life. Participants will join other thought leaders from a range of professions, pushing beyond the current thinking to find better solutions. “

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Again this year, GreenWorks Principal Jim Figurski gave an overview of the process of creating Tanner Springs Park (a collaboration between GreenWorks and Atelier Dreisietl, seen above).  And Doug Shapiro of Hoyt Street Properties gave everyone the opportunity to get a birds eye view of the park atop the penthouse of the Metropolitan Condominiums.  Not a bad perspective.

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Day 2 Featured a presentation by Jason King, Senior Associate, giving a tour of the Multnomah County Building Green Roof (in full bloom below) and the newly planted rooftop urban agriculture demonstration, the Hope Garden.

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Ecoroof Vendor Fair

GreenWorks participated in the Ecoroof Vendor Fair on Saturday, April 25th.  The Portland Ecoroof Vendors Fair provided designers, developers, homeowners and building owners, with information and technical assistance about ecoroofs. Featured ecoroof vendors will include architects, consultants, contractors, landscape architects, manufacturers, nurseries, structural engineers, suppliers, research, and non-profit and community organizations.

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The event offered GreenWorks a chance to show off some of the latest green projects, including the Encore Condominiums (LEED Silver), First+Main Office Tower (pending LEED Platinum), and Independence Station (pending LEED Platinum).

upcoming asla chapter lecture

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Two current trends that offer myriad opportunities for landscape architecture include trends towards truly integrated habitats and definitions of veg.itecture, the insertion of vegetation into architectural form. Jason King, ASLA LEED and Brett Milligan ASLA will provide an overview of both topics and provide an open forum for discussion of these important trends.

Part I will give a detailed account of their award-winning entry for the Metro Integrating Habitats Competition entitled Urban Ecotones: Transitional Spaces for Commerce and Culture. The proposal provides a vision for how innovative big box development design can regenerate, rather than destroy lowland hardwood forest habitat corridors within the expanding city of Portland. Using the model Nature in Neighborhoods ordinance as a guide, and Landscape Urbanism theory as a framework, the proposal is informed by time based, economic and ecological systems to provide an adaptive development model for the shift from fossil fuel dependency to a more localized economy. Particular attention is given to the thresholds at which commercial development meets natural systems. Rather than seeing these interactions as points of confrontation, they are approached as environments of unique richness—a synergy of both habitats akin to an ecotone: the transitional area between two ecosystems containing more diversity and biotic activity than singular habitats.

Part II will provide an engaging visual investigation of the recent trend of Veg.itecture and its impact on the allied professions of architecture and landscape architecture – including the representative, descriptive, and technical. This concept builds on and transcends our current implementation of simple rooftop gardens, ecoroofs, and living walls to encompass a holistic and integrated approach to design intervention that blurs the lines between landscape and architecture. Topics include a definition of the concept, including the eight common typologies of veg.itecture in action, and how this phenomenon impacts and expands the practice of landscape architecture. In addition to providing this veg.itectural primer, the presentation will include a survey of recent projects from around the world as featured on Jason King’s blog Landscape+Urbanism including the work of Ken Yeang, Jean Nouvel, Patrick Blanc, Hundertwasser, Urbanarbolismo, James Corner, Mass Studies, and many more.

There will be time at the end for a thorough discussion of both topics, offering the chance to discuss, dispute, expand, and question these exciting topics that have current and future resonance for our profession.

When: April 14, 5:30pm
Where: Group Mackenzie, 1515 SE Water Avenue, Suite 100, Portland
Cost: Free to OR-ASLA members; Non-Members: $20, Emerging Professionals (0-5 years) $10

PDH credits available.

First and Main building tops off

DJC Oregon – Monday, March 2, 2009  (By Tyler Graf)

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“A year before the First and Main building – located at the western base of the Hawthorne Bridge – is scheduled to open its doors, its developers at San Francisco-based Shorenstein Company still don’t have an anchor tenant for their 365,000-square-foot building.  But with the shell of the building constructed, and 13 of the 16 floors safe for prospective tenants to look at, project managers such as Matt Cole are taking strides to boost marketing efforts.  “We’re hopeful to announce anchor tenants soon,” said Cole, a senior vice president of Shorenstein. “It’s so hard to predict what will happen with the economy though.”

That’s a common refrain among brokers, said Ryan Pennington, a Colliers International broker unassociated with the project.  “I wouldn’t be surprised if they had something signed really soon,” Pennington said. The building had its “topping off” ceremony late last week and marked the occasion with a mass tour for brokers. There’s no “common denominator” used in attempting to attract an anchor tenant, Cole said; however, Shorenstein and its brokers continue to sell the building as the “first new office building in the Central Business District since the Fox Tower.”   Construction of Fox Tower completed in 2000.

Its status as a “first” may be appealing, but First and Main could nonetheless find itself playing catch-up to Park Avenue West, the office tower scheduled to open immediately following First and Main. That building has already secured law firm Stoel Rives to anchor it.  “I don’t see that being a disadvantage, though,” Pennington said. “For most projects in this market, securing anchor tenants has been really difficult.”  In the next 12 to 36 months, he said, there will be a lot of bigger office tenants looking for space.

Todd Sklar, development director for Shorenstein, said he expects the building to become more attractive to tenants as it takes shape, one glass panel at a time.  “Our building may have more color than some,” Sklar said, adding that as the building adds new details, such as the expanse of glass that will cover the face of the building, brokers will have an easier time envisioning its final look.  “We have a big focus on natural light,” he added.

Construction on the building has stuck to its time schedule in spite of setbacks, according to Hoffman Construction supervisors. Work halted for two weeks in December, when Portland was pummeled by snow and ice. The setback to construction came as a surprise – a costly one – but Hoffman was “able to recover the lost time,” Cole said.

Though still gutted, with puddles of water pooling on the slab concrete ground, the building’s interior brings promises of sustainable features. The lobby will feature floors made of travertine, a type of sedimentary rock used in both ancient and modern architecture. Its walls will be lined with solid fir paneling to accentuate the floor-to-ceiling windows, said Krista Bailey, a development manager for Shorenstein. For looks and practicality, the lobby will also feature a gas fireplace, Bailey said, along with art displays and Venetian plaster – a finishing technique in which plaster is applied to walls with a trowel to create a three-dimensional texture.

The fourth floor will feature an eco-roof, which will be accessible to all building tenants. Currently, it’s just a concrete roof awaiting various plants, walkways and benches. Eventually, it will be a plush, garden-like environment, Bailey said.

It’ll grow, she said, like the building.”

Veg.itecture: Landscape Middle East

Jason King,  ASLA LEED AP, Associate at GreenWorks, has authored an article for the magazine, Landscape, the First Specialised Landscape Magazine in the Middle East. The article is entitled The “The Veg.itecture of Ken Yeang” and uses the work of the legendary bioclimatic architect to address topics related to integration of landscape into buildings as an aesthetic and functional reasons. 

Check out the online version of the magazine here… and jump to pages 60-61.

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images courtesty of Landscape ME