Lessons Learned: A week in the life of a Carleton College extern

Each year, the firm hosts an “extern” from Carleton College. These are undergraduate students who may be interested in pursuing design studies and architect careers, and their 1-2 weeks here are designed to give them a taste of every aspect of our profession. Our most recent extern, Karen Chen, shares reflections from her November externship. Her post has been slightly edited for brevity.

Karen Chen, right, with her externship homestay host at Portland’s Tilikum Crossing bridge.

I had the privilege and pleasure of being dipped into the professional sphere of architecture for a week at Hennebery Eddy Architects. During the externship application process, I was attracted to Hennebery Eddy’s demonstrated core values of innovative design, responsive service, and the obligation that firm members take ownership in their work. They aligned with my developing interests in art, STEM, and environmental and social justice — what would be more complementary than a discipline that uses considerations in aesthetics and physical function to create structures for people to inhabit in the real world?

I was exposed to an eye-opening, informative slice of the architectural industry and what professional life entailed. I gleaned a ton of knowledge and insight about architect careers simply through watching and talking with architects in various roles. Through shadowing, observing meetings, and conversations, I have a firmer handle on topics like entrance into the field, schooling, school-to-career transitions, internships, and career and job development. I both sat in on meetings about projects and accompanied architects who had volunteered to take me to tours of those project sites, including the Clackamas County fire stations, the new PDX terminal, a commercial renovation at Columbia Square, a factory cafeteria, and community college buildings.

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Merry + Bright: A Hennebery Eddy Holiday

It’s a festive and fun Friday in the Hennebery Eddy studio when we break out the holiday headgear, don our ugly sweaters, and celebrate the season and our staff. This year, our winter quarterly all-staff lunch featured an Italian feast and homemade eclair cake (yum). We launched the first round of HEA Connections, a program designed to foster new relationships among our ever-growing staff. Promotions were announced, recognizing the contributions of new firm associates and associate principals — and everyone got to enjoy a little envelope revealing a year-end bonus.

The giving extended to the community, as we wrapped up our office food drive for the Oregon Food Bank and shared the annual “principals gift,” a donation on behalf of individual staff members to a nonprofit organization in the name of our five principals; this year, we pitched in $1,600 for Friends of the Children. A white elephant gift exchange brought out the wacky, weird, and wonderful. And to top it all off, the famous Hennebery Eddy Elf Cart delivered treats throughout the office.

We hope your holidays are filled with just as much good cheer — and all of us at Hennebery Eddy Architects wish you a happy holidays and prosperous new year!

Photos from our annual holiday festivities and a snippet from our 2018 holiday card

Hennebery Eddy’s First Community Service Scholarship

In 2018, Hennebery Eddy awarded its first Community Service Scholarship to associate Nick Byers, AIA, supporting his proposal to provide design services to a school with limited access to volunteer design professionals. The community service scholarship is part of the firm’s larger philanthropic effort, Hennebery Eddy Gives, which provides a framework for volunteering, financial contributions, and pro bono work to support community development where we work, live, and play. Here, Nick shares the process, successes, and lessons learned from his project.

Hennebery Eddy community development service project - Newly constructed raised planters at Clackamas River Elementary School
Newly constructed raised planters at Clackamas River Elementary School.

Please describe your service project. How did you conceive of it? 

In the summer of 2014, I volunteered with a group at an elementary school in Portland, where we assisted in improving a tired courtyard into a vibrant open space, complete with new landscaping, raised planters, and trees. The effort was led by a local construction company, and the final product was a beautiful new courtyard that gave the school a greater sense of pride and provided the opportunity to add gardening and healthy eating to its curriculum.  My fond memories of this project inspired my service project proposal for Hennebery Eddy’s community service scholarship.

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Here Lies Hunger: Hennebery Eddy’s Award-Winning ‘Canstruction’ Partnership with INLINE Construction

Two design-build partners. One Revit model. Six hours to build. And 3,515 cans.

“Here Lies Hunger” brought home two awards from this year’s Canstruction Portland volunteer competition benefitting the Oregon Food Bank: Best Use of Labels and People’s Choice. Hennebery Eddy teamed with INLINE Commercial Construction to dream up this design-build canstructure paying homage to the original Oregon Trail educational computer game ubiquitous in 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s classrooms.

Team Leader Jacob Simonson: “We realized that if we wanted to have a really successful structure, it needed to be something that someone could relate to and already had some sort of connection to.”

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What the Architects Architect and What Interior Designers Design: Hennebery Eddy and afo’s Architects in Schools

This spring, architect Monica Mader and interior designer Elyse Iverson volunteered as co-teachers for the Architecture Foundation of Oregon’s (afo) Architects in Schools (AIS) program. For six weeks, architectural design and engineering professionals visit elementary schools on a weekly basis, teaching a series of lessons that introduce students to various aspects of the industry and profession. Below, Monica summarizes their six-week residency at KairosPDX, a public charter school in NE Portland focused on serving low-income students and students of color.

What was your goal for the students in your AIS program?

By​ ​the​ ​end​ ​of​ ​the program, we wanted the students to ​be​ ​able​ ​to​ ​demonstrate​ ​an​ ​understanding​ ​of​ ​their​ ​own community​ ​and​ recognize​ ​valuable​ ​components of a​ ​​neighborhood​ ​in​ ​relation​ ​to​ architecture.

Students completed a self-assessment at the beginning of the program, sharing their knowledge and learning goals.

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Design Week Portland Open House

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).

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Earth Day: Sharing Our Net-Positive Impact Stories

How can you be a positive force in the world? What can you do to improve your community, your project, your planet, or your life? This was the topic for Hennebery Eddy’s Earth Day celebration, a festive pin-up sharing our net-positive impact stories.

In our office work, we aspire to design net-positive spaces that reflect and respond to the natural environment and the people who use them. The result is a healthy, efficient, and adaptive net-positive outcome for clients, users, and the planet. In our pin-up, we reflected on that mission — and took it a step further, by looking at our personal net-positive experiences, too.

This topic has been on our minds as we wrap up participation in another inspiring EcoChallenge with the Northwest Earth Institute and Project Drawdown. From lessons learned on our design projects, to reflections on our connection to the natural world and tips we picked up from Drawdown’s research or our own, here’s what we shared.

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Social Responsibility: Promoting Equity Through ‘Just’ Transparency Label

When you buy packaged food at the grocery store, you can check the nutrition label to see what’s inside. Similarly, Hennebery Eddy design staff research Environmental and Health Product Declaration (EPD and HPD) labels to evaluate the life-cycle environmental impacts of the building materials and finishes we specify on our projects.

And now, anyone can see “what’s inside” the business of Hennebery Eddy through our JUST label.

Hennebery Eddy received a JUST label from the International Living Future Institute; see a full-size label here

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Community Service: Volunteering with Portland’s ReBuilding Center

Portland’s ReBuilding Center is a community development resource that uses building and remodeling materials to create positive outcomes in the Portland area.

As part of their DeConstruction program, crews glean reusable materials from demolition sites, salvaging about 85% of a building’s parts. These materials are taken to a re-processing lot, where volunteers remove nails, screws, staples, and the like.

The ReBuilding Center then uses this lumber in the construction of tiny homes for the houseless, as instruction material for their award-winning ReFind Education Program, or for re-sale in the ReBuilding Center’s public store at 40-90% off market value. It’s the triple bottom line of sustainability in action — environmental, economic, and social — and that’s the kind of community service we get behind.

As part of the firm’s annual Day of Service participation on Martin Luther King Day, our in-house Sustainability Committee organized a group volunteer shift at the processing lot. We liked it so much, we’re headed back on President’s Day for a second shift.

Hennebery Eddy pays for staff to volunteer up to 8 workday hours on MLK Day (or President’s Day) with an organization of their choice. Beyond our group activity, our staff also helped plant trees, weatherized homes for seniors, and lent a hand at local schools. These efforts are part of our net-positive philosophy in creating a better community around our business.

Holiday Greetings

As 2017 draws to a close, we’re filled with gratitude for a year of projects that have reached significant milestones; strong new and long-standing relationships with building owners, contractors, and vendors; and colleagues who are a joy to work with. We celebrated the firm’s 25th anniversary, welcomed new staff, and cheered each others’ achievements — and anticipate all that 2018 will bring.

From all of us at Hennebery Eddy Architects, happy holidays!

Pictured: Snaps from our quarterly all-office lunch, white elephant gift exchange, and annual “Elf Cart” festivities