We're about to begin construction on a second-story addition in Palo Alto. It feels great to get to this point, when the contractor has been selected and we have a permit in hand. It signals the beginning of having our ideas come to life, but it's also a celebration of what we've accomplished to date: design charrettes, planning review, finish selections, details, construction documents, permit procurement... and those are just the major milestones.
Along the way we generate a ton of drawings. Some are precise, drawn in CAD and printed on large sheets; others are quick (and for me, pretty chicken-scratchy) to focus on a small aspect.
I like to think about the project as a whole, solidify the design concept, then work myself down gradually to the smaller details and make sure that the concept is infused throughout. Windows are pretty early in that spectrum, since they are a direct response to the owner's needs, the room layout, sun orientation, views, and glazing sizes. Windows also have many components, and they all need to be considered as part of the architectural language as a whole. And there are multiple possible solutions. Thus, the stream-of-consciousness chicken-scratching. I thoroughly enjoy this process and do it as often as I can (although you are probably wondering why my sketching abilities don't seem to improve over time).
Eventually, many are ruled out and I'm left with a handful that I know I'd be happy with. Then we generate the exterior elevations so that the owners can ultimately decide what resonates the most for them. And onward to the next detail. Onward!
Our clients selected some great colors for their daughter's new bedroom.
NE 38th Avenue Residence is basking in the light of fresh paint. While admiring the colors, Hiromi and I experienced a vivid James Turrell moment. Is the ceiling grey, white, or perhaps purple? The expansive North facing windows in this room are demonstrating the ethereal quality of natural light even on a grey winter day in Portland. Depending on the time of day, year and weather, the quality of light will change our perception of color.
I recently moved into a new house, and I just want to share some of the things that have been inspiring me. The first thing that caught my attention with this house is all of the amazing natural light. It's incredible how much natural light can invigorate a space. Not only do we have amazing windows, but many of them are placed at corners, which really emphasize the connection I feel with whatever is going on outside. This little reading corner has become my favorite place in the house. I just love sitting and enjoying the sun, a good book, and the beautiful roses right outside the window.
I've also been making more of an effort to eat better. Eat good, feel good - right? Well it sure helps when you love the place you're cooking and eating in. This dinner is comprised of arugula, couscous, sautéed veggies, prosciutto, apricots, goat cheese, and sunflower seeds. For dessert, my roommate showed me how easy it is to make a fruit crumble with fresh raspberries from our garden. Just sprinkle with a mixture of flower, sugar, butter, and oats. Deliciousssss.
a bench that pairs as a planter - outside AIA Portland
I really like this idea of having a functional object, such as a bench, that can have multiple uses. Something that celebrates the relationship between the built and natural environment. Plus, I can always use a little more greenery in my life.
As a new member of the Ogawa Fisher team, I’m excited to be taking part in the blog-osphere.
I’m a native of Austin, Texas and a proud University of Texas Longhorn. I received my Bachelor of Architecture in 2012 and shortly after made the cross-country move up to Portland, OR. I’ve since been exploring the endless beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Traveling to places both near and far, experiencing new people, places, and landscapes has become a necessity for my soul. The changing seasons of the region allow for different explorations and activities during different times of the year. From snowboarding the snowy slopes of Mt Hood to biking and backpacking around the Columbia River Gorge, there is always more exploring to do.
My interest in architecture lies with how the built environment affects the people who interact with it. Particularly, with the power of design to improve lives and empower people and the communities they live in. So, I’m excited to be learning from Hiromi and Lynn, as each OFA project is a reflection of the clients' wants and dreams.
I read a recent article in the New York Times magazine about the meta-marketing of Legos (among other brands), and it made me dizzy thinking about how much we are happily digesting the self-effacing, yet unapologetic strategies of big businesses. It troubled me, especially as parent, since we try so hard to make informed decisions on our children's behalf. Lego seems like an educational toy, yet it's just as ruthless in the way it tries to infiltrate our lives.
But there is no denying that Legos are a brilliant invention. And the steady recovery and success of the Lego brand is quite remarkable. As a business, there is something awe-inspiring about that. And then I also read the article in Sunset Magazine about a blind father taking her daughter to Legoland and sharing the tactile experience, and I try to comfort myself in Lego's geniune intentions to create a unique experience and learning environment for children and adults alike.
Whether the Lego empire is "Lord Business" itself, I'm happy with what Lego has brought to our household. We are often huddled around a mound of Legos, happily tackling a kit or a random inspiration. Nico's 7th birthday party consisted of such a pile in the living room (thanks to a visit to Bricks and Minifigs, where they sell loose Legos by the bag), with him and his best friends making whatever their hearts desired. And the creations they made (completely on their own with no adult help) were complex and breathtaking. And that's pretty awesome.
It seems a little strange to post about a love for wood on a day when we declare love for other humans, but maybe it's appropriate, given what we do every day. At a job site in Berkeley, the carpenters are currently constucting a newel post out of douglas fir, and the grain was just gorgeous, my heart started beating a little faster when I saw this piece.
I hope someone (or something!) is setting your heart a flutter today.
Happy Valentine's Day!
me and my mom, at the Nezu Museum
While I was in Japan this summer, we spent a day in Aoyama and visited the Nezu Museum. The museum had been closed for several years, but re-opened in late 2009, after a major overhaul by Kengo Kuma. I hadn't seen it since it re-opened, so I was excited to go, especially since Kuma had recently been selected to design the expansion of the Portland Japanese Garden (his first public North American project).
beauty... and glare
I was busy trying to learn from the building, soaking in the proportions and detail. I admire Kuma's work and this was my chance to see one up close. We were walking through the first gallery on the main floor, when my mom remarked, "you know, I love the architecture and all, but I can't see the Buddhist sculptures' beautiful and serene faces when there is glare from behind them." And she was absolutely right; even though it was striking to see a framed view of the garden beyond, it was making it difficult to see the exhibit inside. I realized that I was so enamored with the building, that I forgot what the building was for: to house one of the most extensive and beautiful collections of Asian art and antiquities. My mom, as usual, was right.