2011 Spring Reviews at the Portland YU | Getting Ready: Architecture

The year-end spring 2011 reviews for Portland’s Department of Architecture were held at the YU, a space slated to become Portland’s next contemporary art center.  Located at 800 SE 10th Avenue in a grand exposed brick Italian Renaissance revival built in 1908, the YU graciously hosted all of Portland’s 2011 School of Architecture and Allied Arts graduates in Architecture and Product Design providing space for their reviews and subsequent temporary exhibition of work.

The YU was also the event site for this year’s 2011 Commencement Celebration on June 4 held in recognition of graduates in Product Design, Digital Arts, and Architecture.  YU’s Director Sandra Percival, herself an UO alumna, commented: “I was pleased to have the UO Architecture and Allied Arts’ studio projects, professional open house, and graduation ceremony at YU. As YU embarks on its vision to bring challenging national and international contemporary art to Portland to empower the artistic imagination and cultural life of the Northwest and repurpose its historical landmark building, hosting UO was synergistic with our vision and the spirit the great space on the second floor beckons.”

2011 graduates in the Department of Architecture | Portland set-up for year-end reviews at the YU.

Awash with natural light that flooded in from the arching windows and halo-like clerestory bathing the hall with mid-afternoon glow, the students’ work remained on display up through the final hour of commencement (held downstairs in the YU).  Early in the morning of June 2, students had begun arriving for set-up and preparation filling the second story nave-like 50′ by 188′ space with a bustle of activity as intricately crafted models and pin-ups went on display.  What follows is only a small peek into a mere fraction of all the hard work, detailed effort, dedication, quiet reflection, and camardarie that goes into this process….Reviews 2011…













So long, architecture grads 2011 Portland Program, it’s been good to know you…..


photos | post sabina samiee

2011 Commencement Celebration | Portland | School of Architecture and Allied Arts

On June 4, 2011, students from the University of Oregon School of Architecture and Allied Arts in Portland

Department of Architecture |     Digital Arts Program |     Product Design Program

celebrated commencement.   The event was held at the YU, a contemporary arts center in Portland located in the landmark Yale Union Laundry Building.  The School of Architecture and Allied Arts expresses our sincere appreciation to the YU for hosting our 2011 Commencement Celebration.  Director of the YU, Sandra Percival, herself UO alumna, was asked to comment on the UO | YU collaboration.  She offered the following reflection:

“As a UO alum, I was pleased to have the UO Architecture and Allied Arts’ studio projects, professional open house, and graduation ceremony at YU. As YU embarks on its vision to bring challenging national and international contemporary art to Portland to empower the artistic imagination and cultural life of the Northwest and repurpose its historical landmark building, hosting UO was synergistic with our vision and the spirit the great space on the second floor beckons.”

The following is a pictorial essay of images from the day.  In addition to faculty members from each department who presented a certificate to the students as they walked across the commencement stage, all departments were represented by a student speaker:  Dustin Foster (Department of Architecture), Brad Saiki (Digital Arts), and Andrew Lindley (Product Design).  The student speakers were chosen to represent their peers and remark on their overall experience in the program.  All three student speakers were invited to submit their speeches for inclusion in this blog post.  Dustin Foster, who had already moved to San Francisco just days within commencement was kind enough to quickly email his remarks (despite the fact that during his speech he had tossed into the air each one of his cue cards…much to the amusement of his audience).  Foster’s speech is here included in its entirety, as numerous comments from students in all disciplines indicated that his presentation eloquently and delightfully shed light upon their past years of work and time spent at the University of Oregon’s Portland program. [If | when transcripts of Saiki’s and Lindley’s presentations become available, they will be added to this post…]


Last fall a group of 67 enthusiastic young adults set out to complete the final year their architectural education. Armed with zeal, vigor and vitamin D soaked-skin, this attractive, youthful group marched forward. Today a group of pale, malnourished, sleep deprived beings sit amongst you. But what you’ll notice is that the numbers have not dwindled. We did not lose a soul to attrition or the grand rapture.

Marching to the summit as a group unified by a common cause, we learned a great deal about ourselves and the world we occupy. We met many wise and noble leaders with grand and minute lessons of great significance. We learned from Brook Muller that the key to communication is to envision people with little tiny heads. David Gabriel bestowed upon us the importance of bonding. Just moments before my final presentation he attempted to dislodge a portion of my model.

Many lessons we learned were from within the group. Three of our more adventurous members set out to develop a barrier able to withstand the onslaught of God’s wrath. In doing so they gave us the R98 2000 Bio-Dome, able to protect against the raining fires of Armageddon. In spite of their valiant efforts, the group discovered a vulnerability in the barrier. Unable to withstand the onslaughts of Pauly Shore and Rick Astley, the team accepted their defeat and proceeded humbly.

Without the support group accompanying us on our journey we would not have completed our task. There are many who deserve credit, but I will mention a few who sacrifice a great deal to see us succeed. John Leahy works with a bunch of tools…in a windowless room below the earth. And yet he is willing and eager to offer his many skills and talents to all. Perched atop the White Stag, Chris Costler is incapable of being knocked off course. Chris offers several resolutions to any technical quandary without ever stirring from his post. Gerry Gast, our seasoned sage, offers a continuous stream of warm, inspirational support. The first time Gerry found me in studio past 9pm he said, “Dustin, what are you doing here. I didn’t know you worked hard.” Thanks Gerry. You cannot mention Gerry without immediately thinking of Nancy Cheng. The two are like peanut butter and chocolate, coffee and toilet paper. Nancy introduced us to many great practitioners and innovators along the way. Although I don’t know how she made the introductions as thought I was Craig Race up until a month ago. For those who don’t know Craig Race, imagine a taller, better looking, more talented version of me with a deeper, sexier voice. So I got that going for me, which is nice. Jeff, Jeff, Geoff, Jeff, Jeff. I lost count. Is that how many Jeff’s we had? There was a Jeff on site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Together, all the Jeff’s made for a resource of all imaginable information. Thanks to PSAC for providing provisions and distractions to get us through. One of the highlights of the PSAC Beaux Arts Ball was seeing Hajo dance.

To our friends and families, thank you for putting up with our absence. We probably have not called enough and for those that were around, we probably have been ignoring you. We will try our best to make our way back into your lives.

Finally, Kirsten. On my cue card I have two things written, ”finally” and “Kirsten”. Without you we would be not be here graduating today, and that’s no joke. Without you we would be lost.

I have some bad news as we celebrate our graduation. In spite of our great sacrifice some of you will not become architects. The good news is that you have been provided with a holistic set of tools to take on some of the great civic, national and global problems that plague our world from the number one university for sustainable design in the nation.

So with great pride I encourage you to march forward and remember on your journey why you chose this path. But before you pack up and depart, you have earned the privilege to sleep for days.

–Dustin Foster, June 4, 2011, Commencement Speech, YU for the UO A&AA Portland



Faculty and staff, 2011 Commencement Celebration, Portland AAA.




Kate Wagle, Administrative Director, addressing the crowd.



Kirsten Poulsen-House, program assistant.



Corey Smitke, Assistant to the Administrative Director.



Michael Salter addresses the crowd.


Commencement speaker, Brad Saiki, Digital Arts.




Michael Salter.



Commencement speaker, Andrew Lindley, Product Design.


Kiersten Muenchinger.


Commencement speaker, Dustin Foster, Department of Architecture.


Nancy Cheng.

A selection of images as students accepted their congratulations from faculty…..



Dustin Foster makes his way to the stage.


post & photos | sabina samiee | uo pdx

Projects on the Willamette North Reach Go on Exhibit at Portland City Hall, June 9-June 16, 2011

Projects on the Willamette North Reach will go on exhibit beginning June 9, 2011 through June 16, 2011 at Portland City Hall.  Located at 1221 SW 4th Avenue on the First Floor Public Area and open during regular business hours, the exhibit will hold a public Reception on Friday, June 10, from 4:30pm to 6:30pm.

The exhibit is presented by The Urban Projects Workshop, part of the University of Oregon, Department of Architecture Portland Program.

This exhibition is a selection of University of Oregon graduate student design thesis projects from the Department of Architecture’s Portland Program.  The project is part of a two-year collaboration with the City of Portland’s Office of Healthy Working Rivers.  This year’s projects focus on the “North Reach” of the Willamette River.  Next year, projects will move to the “Central Reach,” currently under planning study by the City.

The work builds on the urban planning framework established by the City of Portland’s River Plan | North Reach by developing urban design and site-specific illustrations of potential development opportunities, connections to adjacent neighborhoods and open space connections along the river edge.  The goal of the design studies is to help the city of Portland, private industry, property owners and residents of adjacent neighborhoods envision future redevelopment of the riverfront during the coming years.

Studies focus on three clusters along the North Reach:  St. Johns, Swan Island and Northwest Portland (northwest of the Broadway Bridge). They illustrate industrial, research-development, education training and public places that have potential to transform the Willamette River edge into a high value, attractive riverfront where industry, residential neighborhoods and recreation coexist and thrive.  Specific projects include a manufacturing plant for technically advanced water turbine generators, an incubator industrial complex, an aquaculture demonstration and production facility, research and development centers, an Oregon Brewing Center, and a public building on the St. Johns waterfront.  The studio also contains four projects in Seattle and Bainbridge Island, Washington, San Francisco, California and Detroit, Michigan.  These projects provide comparative study opportunities of design precedents that stimulate thinking about the potential of the Willamette River in Oregon.
Portland’s Challenge
During the past thirty years, Portland removed the Harbor Freeway on the west bank of the Willamette River to create Tom McCall Waterfront Park, built new mixed-use residential neighborhoods at Riverplace, the River District and South Waterfront, sponsored new waterfront public buildings such as OMSI and the Water Pollution Control Lab, and designed impressive recreational projects such as the East Bank Esplanade.
With the impending environmental remediation projects and foundation established by the River Plan, Portland has potential to transform the Willamette riverfront to create the strong urban focus and “seam” envisioned by previous citizen and city planning efforts.
For more information, please contact Professor Gerry Gast, University of Oregon, Department of Architecture Portland Program, ggast@uoregon.edu.  The University of Oregon in Portland is located at the White Stag Block, 70 NW Couch Street, Portland, Oregon  97209.
post sabina samiee  | text images and information professor gerry gast