On the anniversary of the last Cascadia earthquake and tsunami 315 years ago, OPB has done an excellent series of stories called “Unprepared: Will We Be Ready for the Megaquake?” As the articles points out, a large Cascadia earthquake and tsunami can occur anytime, and it reviews how prepared we are and compares it to the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. They also have a nice little app called “What’s My Risk“. You can put in your address to see where critical buildings are located nearby and what their risk of collapse are. At the bottom of the page, you can find out if your local school has been retrofitted. The information was available online, but the app shows it in an interactive and friendly way, making this information more transparent. This is an exciting development.
It … Read More »
On Tuesday, February 17th, Oregon’s design professional community will be coming together to meet with the Oregon Legislature. Typically these types of events are a chance for design professionals to talk to legislators about professional concerns. This year is a bit different. The design community is focussing on the passage of the Oregon Resilience Task Force (ORTF) recommendations. These recommendations range from establishing a Resilience Policy Advisor to the Governor, land uses changes related to tsunami’s, additional revenue for seismic upgrades for transportation, the schools, essential facilities, seismic resilience research, and seismic assessments of Oregon’s energy infrastructure. The ORTF recommendations were requested by the Legislature as a first step to to implementing the Oregon Resilience Plan (ORP), a fifty year plan to prepare Oregon for a Cascadia earthquake and tsunami.
Also unusual, is the extent of the collaboration of the design professional community. The professional associations of … Read More »
It has been a while since I posted, but it has been a significant year for preparing for a Cascadia earthquake and tsunami. The Oregon Resilience Task Force finished their work in September and made their recommendations to the Governor and Legislature. Heading up their recommendations is the establishment of a Resilience Policy Advisor post in the Governor’s office, which was the primary recommendation of the Oregon Resilience Plan. The Task Force made their initial presentation of their recommendations to the Joint Veterans and Emergency Preparedness Committee, so the legislative process begins.
The Task Force also recommended $100 million for Seismic Upgrade Grants, which was trumped by Senator Courtney (a long time supporter of such grants) who is calling for a $200 million investment. In any case, the program should see a significant increase in funding.
The American Institute of Architects of … Read More »
San Francisco has approved micro-apartments, following in the footsteps of New York, Vancouver and elsewhere. These type of units first showed up in Japan and their appearance here in the US seeks to meet the same challenge, of providing more affordable housing in expensive urban areas.
The photo above (from the linked article in Wired) is actually for a unit in San Francisco that is 65 sf bigger than what the City just approved, so we are talking small.
In many ways the question is whether single people would prefer to have their own very small units rather than share rooms in houses or apartments. If they do, then this will free up these other units for families and presumably lower the rents for these units.
One would hope that the amount of design going into these units is high so that you … Read More »
A collaboration of Pacific Power, Energy Trust of Oregon, and Clatsop Community College, has produced an excellent booklet on the energy efficiency for historic commercial buildings. The students and faculty of the College’s Historic Preservation Program provided the information for the booklet which showcases projects throughout the state. The Guide is available to view online or to download and is a valuable tool for historic commercial property owners, tenants and communities seeking to improve energy efficiency and preserve the historic qualities of these buildings.
The 2013 Residential Architect Design Awards was given to Bud Clark Commons, a project located near Union Station. The architects for the project were Holst Architecture and they have done a remarkable job.
The quote from the award: “It combines sustainable aspects, social agendas, and aesthetic issues,” said one juror. “They had a very complicated series of things to solve and combine in a very successful project. If I didn’t know it was an SRO, I’d still think it was an amazing building.”
I quite agree. Very nice to see social housing done this well and getting the recognition it deserves.
DOGAMI has just released an amazing series of tsunami maps for the entire Oregon coast. They include the latest tsunami evacuation maps that show the inundation area of the largest tsunami generated from a distant event (in this case a tsunami generated by a subduction zone earthquake generated in Alaska), and a worst case Cascadia earthquake and tsunami. This latest generation tsunami inundation mapping started with the Cannon Beach map, shifted down to southern Oregon and is now completed for the coast and mouth of the Columbia River. These maps build on the previous generation maps and, by incorporating the best current science and modeling, can help prevent the significant loss of life such as experienced in Tohoku. The proviso is that Oregon and the coastal communities must maintain effective tsunami evacuation planning and education.
The other set of maps in … Read More »
First Michael Green, an architect from Vancouver BC, published the Case for Tall Wood Buildings that argued that tall wood buildings are feasible and have substantial economic and environmental benefits. Now SOM has taken up the challenge with the Timber Tower Research Project, which debuts a prototypical tower with a concrete jointed timber frame system. It will be interesting to see framing carpenters working on tall buildings instead of steel workers. For the Pacific Northwest, it opens up a chapter of using our local wood resources for building 20-30 story buildings. So far no local takers on using this technology, as it appears that talks for using this new building technology are in Canada and Austria. Seems to me that Portland has a potentially large stake in this structural type. Why not create an iconic building using this system here?
MCM, along with Bergerson Windows, were responsible for the restoration of the Astoria Train Depot windows and doors (along with a little help from the Clatsop Community College Historic Preservation Program). MCM does a good job of documenting and then publishing the before and after conditions. Check out their efforts on the Barbey Maritime Center. The general contractor for the project was Bremik Construction.
There is a fascinating article, Starchitect Trio: The Men Behind Germany’s Building Debacles, in Spiegel’s Online International site where the German journal interviews three “star architects” working on projects in Germany. Each of them, Christoph Ingenhoven, Meinhard von Gerkan and Pierre de Meuron are working on major projects in Germany that experienced huge cost overruns. The article is actually a group interview of the three architects by Spiegel and they go into quite a bit detail about the projects: the Stuttgart 21 Train station by Ingenhoven, the Berlin Branderburg International Airport by Gerkan, and the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall by de Meuron. In a situation that is quite different than the architect’s role in the US, these architects also serve as the general contractor so there responsibilities for the costs are much more direct than for US architects.
The costs of the … Read More »