Portland bridges

Dec 29, 2008 by Hiromi Ogawa

Every Portland bridge is unique and beautiful in their own way.  The Morrison Bridge, which is located near our office, is a metal grate draw bridge and is transparent when vertical.  You can see the sky through the bridge: a lightness that defies this heavy structure, connecting two sides of the riverbank.

Morrison Bridge

Topics: Inspiration

Top 7 list for designing your perfect home

Oct 29, 2008 by Hiromi Ogawa

This is an outline to a talk I have given in the past.  I think it's important for everyone to be well-informed, so I hope you find this list to be useful when approaching your next wonderfully dreamy idea.

Living the Dream: an insider’s guide to designing and building your perfect home.

1.    Philosophy.  Most importantly, you’re trying to make your surroundings into a reflection of who you are.  Consider forming a “mission statement” of sorts, aside from the wish list, which explains who you are, what you enjoy, and how you want that to be reflected in your environment.

2.    Wishlist.  Here’s where you list everything you’ve ever wanted to do, even if you don’t think it applies to design or to your immediate future.  The more comprehensive the list, the better the design.

  • a.     Scope of work – divide the list between needs and wants
  • b.    Budget – include a 15% buffer for contingency
  • c.    Schedule – when do you want to start or finish construction?

3.    Your team.  Mainly, you need an architect and a contractor.  If you have a particular architect or contractor in mind, have them help you find the other.  You want to make sure that everyone on your team works well together.

4.    Logistics – your architect can help you determine the parameters for your project.

  • a.    Property information
  • b.    Planning code
  • c.    Building code

5.    Design.  This is the fun part.  It’s also very intense.  Your architect will help you navigate through each phase of design, while keeping everything on schedule and on budget.  The goal is to get exactly what you want!

6.    Execution.  Your architect and contractor will be working with you through all phases.

  • a.    Design
  • b.    Building permit(s)
  • c.    Bidding/negotiation
  • d.    Construction

7.    Maintenance.  With a new environment comes a commitment to a new lifestyle.
It’s a long process of design and construction, so make sure you have fun during the process.  With the right support (this includes your architect, contractor, colleagues, and family members) it will be smooth and enjoyable.

We’ve moved!

Sep 18, 2008 by Hiromi Ogawa

We have moved our Portland office into the historic Olympic Mills Commerce Center, a former cereal mill located in the industrial district in inner Southeast.

Our new contact information is as follows:

hiromi ogawa architects

107 SE Washington Street Suite 150

Portland, OR 97215

tel: 503-477-7075

fax: 503-477-7327

Our San Francisco information remains the same, and now has a toll free general office number:

hiromi ogawa architects

115 Moffitt Street

San Francisco, CA 94131

tel: 800-409-7327

fax: 888-887-9956

Stay tuned!


old shadows

Sep 17, 2008 by Hiromi Ogawa

I love demolition.  You see layers of the past right before your eyes.

Demolition has started in a kitchen in Portland, OR and the space, devoid of cabinets and color, is just gorgeous.

p91712331Here's an old built-in ironing board nook (which was buried beneath sheet rock and layers of wall paper and paint), and you can even see where the ironing board used to be.

And the back side of old lath and plaster looks like icing layers on a cake.


Nifty: Chiho Aoshima

Aug 28, 2008 by Hiromi Ogawa

Chiho Aoshima is part of Kaikai Kiki, an art production company led by Takashi Murakami.  I saw Aoshima's work at the Smithsonian during our trip to Washington D.C. last spring.  I'm a huge fan of Murakami's work, and I seem to be falling for all his prodigies as well.  You can check the whole crew out at

Topics: Inspiration

Nifty: Lutron eco-dim

Aug 25, 2008 by Hiromi Ogawa

Instead of emailing everyone and their brothers about what I think is nifty, I decided I would post it on our blog instead.  So here goes Nifty #1: Lutron eco-dim.  It is the same attractive series of dimmers that Lutron provides, except that it lets the bulbs last 3x longer, and provides at least 15% in energy savings.  I looked online and the price for each fixture seems to be the same as the regular Lutron dimmer, so there's nothing to lose in going eco! I don't have any photos of lush forests on hand, so here's a photo of my son Nico and Grandma on the Oregon coast, walking on sand for the first time.  Let's do whatever we can to save moments in nature like this, right?

Topics: Life

New photos from our favorite photographer

Mar 27, 2008 by Hiromi Ogawa

It's always a pure joy to work with Joe Fletcher.

Here is one of the photos he took for two houses we designed in California.


Topics: Projects

Let’s get started

Feb 8, 2008 by Hiromi Ogawa

Yes, we're starting a blog. We'll be keeping you posted with exciting projects, as well as mundane updates on our personal lives. You'll get a peek at the inner workings of our freakish attention to detail, and our unhealthy habit for eating good food.


Past Press

Jan 1, 2008 by Hiromi Ogawa

Past Press:

Sunset Magazine - Albany Residence

Zyzzyva Magazine - Albany Residence

Sacramento Bee - Kozen Restaurant

Qualified Remodeler - Albany Residence

Topics: Press