Last spring, Hennebery Eddy participated in the PDX Green Loop Competition, an opportunity presented by the University of Oregon John Yeon Center for Architecture and the Landscape in collaboration with Design Week Portland and the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. Described as “a 21st century public works project for Portland,” the call for designs asked for six-mile “linear park” solutions connecting the east and west sides of the Willamette River. In collaboration with DHM Design, CH2M and Tad Savinar, our fascination with the concept of reconnecting with the land to explore the interconnectedness of circulation and recreation, and sustainability and sustenance into one byway serving the entire city propelled us to finalist status in the competition.
Keeping with Hennebery Eddy’s core values of making places that are tied to their region and site and thinking long term, our proposal framed the challenge from the multiple lenses of a landscape architecture firm, an engineering-transit firm, an artist and our architectural viewpoint. As a group, we considered how future climate changes might impact our everyday use of the land for recreation and sustenance. And, recognizing that the needs of the city will evolve far beyond our lifetime, we took the long-term view, anticipating use, implementation and expansion over the course of the next 100 – 200 years, in order to prompt thought and discussion about what we’re working toward as designers, leaders and residents of Portland.
A unique component of our proposal touched on the next generation watering hole – the 22nd century drinking fountain. Considering the needs of visitors and users of the Green Loop, we incorporated eight strategically placed Filling Stations offering clean ionized air, filtered ionized water, and during the depths of winter, full spectrum light. The idea for providing three universal elements of well-being for the general public – clean air, water, and light – was inspired by the Benson Bubblers, first introduced to Portland in 1912 to foster healthy drinking habits in Portland’s often raucous citizenry. These three universal elements are collected, housed, and delivered within an architecture specific to Portland and the Northwest.
The filling station is comprised of a central tank that houses rainwater storage and filtration and air filtration and purification. The outer layer of the tank is a perforated metal screen skin whose pattern is derived from microscopic wood fibers native to our temperate rain forest. Air, water, and light are delivered through nodes, nodules, and nozzles inspired by prominent Pacific NW artist Leroy Setziol’s eccentric, nature-driven sculptures. The central copper tank evokes the kettles used in local breweries.
Yet we do not see the Loop as a “just add water” kind of undertaking. Quite to the contrary, we see it as something that may take a hundred years to reach its full fruition. How does one plant a forest? Quite simply, the same way a forest grows in nature: not with one sweeping gesture, but lots of small initiatives. Our filling stations are one such initiative; this is what we see as the potential of the Loop. A new ribbon of connectivity which engages city and nature, expert and novice, culture and industry, throughout time.
If you’d like to learn more about our competition submission, see other specific proposal elements, or discuss the ideas presented, please contact us to learn more. For more information on the competition, visit http://yeoncenter.uoregon.edu/2015/12/24/loop-pdx-competition/.