Design Week Portland Open House

By Hennebery Eddy

Design Week Portland is an anticipated annual event in the design community, bringing together architects, artists, makers, and creators to explore design across disciplines and scales. This year, Hennebery Eddy hosted our first DWP open house, giving attendees a chance to visit our studio and see our work — and explore resilient design in the built environment.

Resiliency and resilient design are increasingly part of the discussion among building owners, consultants, and regulatory organizations. Similarly, “The Big One” and disaster preparedness are gaining more attention in public discourse. We noticed a gap in the discussion within the broader design community and felt Design Week was an opportunity to begin making connections between industry experts and Portland citizens in addressing these complex issues.

Guests were greeted by hand-drawn map of predicted earthquake ground shaking for the Portland metro area (magnitude 6.8).

More than 150 guests made their way through three zones (Fear, Hope, and Plan) to learn how the region, the built environment, and individuals may be impacted by a major seismic event, and how we can prepare. The “Fear Zone” featured a timeline of major seismic events in the Cascadia Subduction Zone, placing in context the fact that the region is overdue for “The Big One,” which has a 1:3 probability of occurring in the next 50 years.

In the “Hope Zone,” we introduced building performance types and showcased different ways architects and engineers can prepare our built environment using seismic retrofit and design solutions, including shear walls at Strand Agriculture Hall, braced frames at Fire Station 28, base isolation at Pioneer Courthouse, and buckling restrained braces at Portland International Airport. KPFF Consulting Engineers was a terrific event partner, providing video of seismic event simulation and building performance testing.


Finally, in the “Plan Zone,” guests were encouraged to think about their own safety and preparation for a major emergency, picking up whistles, emergency blankets, and a shopping list to complete a full emergency preparedness kit. We also provided access to Oregon Public Broadcasting’s “Aftershock” tool, where visitors could enter an address, determine the predicted impact of a 9.0 Cascadia earthquake, and prepare the appropriate supplies.

As the City of Portland considers a proposed URM building resolution, and public awareness increases about the realities of a major seismic event, disaster preparedness, public safety, and infrastructure, we hope to see more engagement from the design community in educating the public and advocating for a resilient community.