Food Matters

Apr 26, 2010 by Hiromi Ogawa

I don't mean to, but lately everything I read or see seems to be about food.  Nothing wrong with that, I've been obsessed with food and always have an appetite no matter what time of day. And lately my all-consuming hobby of cooking and eating and everything food-related has taken on a tangential interest in how we grow, process, and package our food.  I vaguely recall this interest gaining traction when, four years ago, Lynn and I were pregnant at the same time.  We would talk about toxins passed on to our babies, and later we had long discussions about BPA in plastic baby bottles (among other things).

These days I've been reading  Food Matters by  Mark Bittman.  I put it on my Amazon wish list after trying repeatedly to check it out of the library, only to return it two weeks later with hardly any progress.  I can only find time to read before bed, and beside my bed I always have more books than I can possibly read in a year.  As with food, my eyes are bigger than my "stomach" (time, or time management skills).  My sister finally bought if for me last Christmas.

This book has kept me up too late some nights, both from reading and thinking.  I wouldn't do it justice to summarize it here; if you are interested in learning about where your food comes from, and what you can do to change how food is made, what effects it has on your body and your surroundings, I would encourage you to read it.  It follows a long chain of eye-opening documentaries and books that I've encountered,  the list of which includes Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser, The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan, the movies Supersize Me and Food Inc.

Some friends and we made pizzas in David's kiln last weekend and it was enjoyable on so many levels: preparing the dough a day in advance, washing and prepping, carmelizing the onions, cooking down the tomato sauce, combining ingredients that others have brought, throwing the pizza into the kiln, watching it come out with blackened edges and melted cheese, cutting, serving, eating, talking, drinking...  And part of the joy was in trusting the authenticity and purity of each ingredient and each process as the pizza went from pieces to pie.  It was satisfying on many levels.

Topics: Food, Life

Almost complete – Remodel and Addition in Albany, California

Apr 19, 2010 by Hiromi Ogawa

The custom casework under the stair articulates the stepping profile.  It also creates an artful display on an otherwise unusable wall.

Casework by City Cabinetmakers, construction by Tom Dannenberg Company.

The windows between the upper and lower cabinets illuminate the Kitchen; the Hakatai red tile backsplash compliments the red cords of the Caravaggio pendant by Cecilie Manz.

We'll post more photos after the project is complete and we have Joe Fletcher, our lovely photographer, do his magic.

April 2010 First Friday art show – photos and thank you

Apr 8, 2010 by Hiromi Ogawa

Thanks to everyone who came to the show last Friday.  The show is on display through April, so call or email us to make an appointment if you are interested.  We hope to see you at the next show in June!

the artists

all photos by Kristin Beadle

Topics: Life, Office

The definition of design

Mar 28, 2010 by Hiromi Ogawa

Lynn and I recently met and refined our company mission statement to read:

We work with you to create a home that is the perfect fit for you.

This means that we prioritize our clients' values and the collaborative spirit over some kind of personal design agenda.

I realized the other day that we all do this in different ways. For my son Nico's birthday, this meant making a robot cake with instant cake mix and all the colorful candies from the store. I could have made a healthier, more tasteful cake but really, who is this cake really for? My three year old whose current love is sweets and robots.

Because his happiness is our happiness. I love that giving is a form of pure joy.

Topics: Food, Inspiration, Life

Portland First Friday: featuring Jennifer Gauer, Anna Mara, and Meghan Radick

Mar 26, 2010 by Hiromi Ogawa


Jennifer Gauer & Meghan Radick - ceramics

Anna Mara - floral designs

Friday April 2nd, 2010   5:00pm - 7:00pm
at hiromi ogawa architects
107 SE Washington Street, Suite 150
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 477-7075
(please use Washington St entrance; we are located on the NW corner of the first floor)

Please join us for happy hour as we showcase the work of three very talented artists who are working together for the first time to make a truly unique installation.  Anna Mara will design floral pieces that compliment ceramic vessels made jointly by Jennifer Gauer and Meghan Radick.  Fresh and seaonal flowers are perfectly paired with vases and bowls, which are decorated with delicate patterns using cake decorating techniques.  These collaborative pieces are for sale and ready to take home for you to enjoy in your own home or office.

A wide variety of pieces will be on display and for sale during the event.

Cash and personal checks with ID will be accepted.
We look forward to seeing you.For more information on the artists, visit:
Anna Mara Flowers

The show will continue through the month of April, and can be seen by appointment.  The pottery pieces will continue to be on display, but the fresh flowers will most likely only be on display for the first week, as they are perishable.

Topics: Life, Office

Watching architecture

Mar 10, 2010 by Hiromi Ogawa
photo courtesy of NW Films

photo courtesy of NW Films

Architecture films about John Lautner and others are coming to the NW Film Center in Portland.  Not to be missed.

Topics: Inspiration, Life

Fencing – a sense of privacy

Mar 3, 2010 by Hiromi Ogawa

What is privacy?  With fences, it's never true privacy, but at best, a sense of enclosure and quiet, while still providing light and visual transparency.

I visited the Portland Japanese Garden with my family last weekend and saw this fence, which delicately achieved everything.  The top half is opaque, shielding our view from where we would usually register moving objects and color; the bottom half is translucent, with some interest to keep your eyes in the foreground, while still allowing the feeling of depth to what is beyond.  Critters and leaves can move freely at the bottom, which also keeps your interest close to the ground.  To mask the traffic noise, there was a water feature in front of the fence (called a shishi-odoshi, literally translated as a deer-scarer) creating white noise and more interest. Nice!

Color and texture

Feb 26, 2010 by Hiromi Ogawa

At Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland

What a difference color makes

Feb 22, 2010 by Hiromi Ogawa

We are currently observing construction of a second-story addition to a house in Albany, California.

Residence in Albany - BEFORE color change (but AFTER second story addition)

We'll post more photos once the project is complete, but I wanted to share before and after photos of the exterior colors, which I think makes a world of a difference, not only to the feel of the existing facade, but also to the new volume as a whole.

Residence in Albany - AFTER color change

The white trim accentuates the window openings, and the house looks brighter.

Here's another project, this one in Portland, Oregon, where the exterior color also transformed the house:

Residence in Portland - BEFORE

Residence in Portland - AFTER front porch addition and color change

If you'd like to see more before and after photos, feel free to check out our facebook albums here:

North Portland residence breaking ground

Feb 20, 2010 by Hiromi Ogawa

Corner of existing garage, and form work for new foundation

We have started construction on one of our projects in North Portland: a modern two-bedroom two-bath addition to a traditional home. The form work for the foundations are in, and you can get a sense of how the addition will make a courtyard-like space that is accessible from both bedrooms and the original house. We're excited to see things take shape!

The owners (a fun and active family of three) are living in the home during construction, and the connection between the main house and addition will be made at the very end.  Special thanks to Lorence Brothers Construction for all their hard work so far.

Topics: Projects