Inspiration

Color and Perception

Dec 9, 2014 by Christina Kwiecienski

bedroom paint colors 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. 

New Home Love

Jun 27, 2014 by Christina Kwiecienski

reading corner

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. 

summertime dinner

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. 

Topics: Food, Inspiration, Life

Functional Furniture

Jun 12, 2014 by Christina Kwiecienski

bench plantera 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. 

An introduction

May 30, 2014 by Christina Kwiecienski

view of Mt. Hood from Silver Star Mountain view of Mt. Hood from Silver Star MountainLost Coast hike in northern CaliforniaLost Coast Hike in northern California

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.

Everything is Awesome (especially Legos)

Mar 18, 2014 by Hiromi Ogawa

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. 

Bday lego 1

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.

Bday lego 2

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.

 

 

Topics: Inspiration, Life

Love: Vertical Grain Douglas Fir

Feb 14, 2014 by Hiromi Ogawa

VGDF newel post

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!

A weekend without Architecture

Sep 10, 2012 by Hiromi Ogawa

A weekend of camping and exploring at John Day Fossil Beds National Monument (plus some time floating along the sparkly John Day River), and I did not miss the built environment, not once.

Topics: Inspiration, Life

Why you should always listen to your mother

Sep 4, 2012 by Hiromi Ogawa

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.

Hot off the press - our Summer Newsletter!

Jun 12, 2012 by Lynn Fisher

Click on this link to see a sneak peek of Lynn's house, as well as some other projects in the works!

Oh, final reviews, how I have missed you.

Jun 8, 2012 by Hiromi Ogawa

It's the end of the school year, which means final reviews: architecture students are presenting their final projects. Professors and seasoned practitioners (the critics) huddle around your presentation drawings and models, listen to your presentation, then proceed to dissect your project.  By your final year, you know know not to take criticism personally, but rather to apply it constructively to your next design.  I think the biggest and best lesson we learn in architecture school is the ability to analyze, critique, and to take that criticism and do something with it.  It's a skill that can be applied to any discipline, and I have been thankful to have gone through that learning process myself.

Here is Carson, who is currently helping us with the Dress for Success Career Center design, and is also a fifth year student at the University of Oregon.  She is getting ready to present her thesis project (in the picture she is doing a practice run with just me), and this is her last final review.  She has been working on this project - a "sacred grove" healing facility and transitional housing for women and mothers - for almost 18 months, and she had a lot to show.  She looked a little tired, I suspect she had been pulling several all-nighters.  It's kind of a "rite of passage" for all architects, to push yourself to the very limit of your abilities.  I think she's going to do very well during her review.

When I say I have "missed" final reviews, I mean the tension and energy, the rigor of young designers, and the performance aspect of reviews.  Also, for critics like me (professors and practitioners who are reviewing the work), it's a window into the future: the students show us their design skills, their interests, and their tenacity.  At its best, participating in reviews can inspire us and keep us invigorated.

To all the architecture students out there, having final reviews - keep up the good work!

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