It was the perfect Oregon scene: a technicolor sunset behind Haystack Rock and 4,000 cans of food ready to nourish families in need. This concept became reality through a partnership between Hennebery Eddy Architects and general contractor Skanska as part of the 2019 Canstruction Portland fundraiser for the Oregon Food Bank.
Architect Cara Wessel and interior designer Abby Cridland share about their experience volunteering with the ACE Mentor Program. The firm annually sponsors and enables staff to participate in this architecture industry mentorship as part of our Hennebery Eddy Gives program.
Cara (standing left) explains architectural design concepts to students during a mentor session in the Hennebery Eddy office.
Describe how the ACE program works.
Cara: ACE is an after-school program for high school students interested in Architecture, Construction and Engineering. Students are placed on teams and collaborate on a building design project under the mentorship of industry professionals from each of the three disciplines. Over the course of 12 meetings, the students learn about different phases of design through presentations, hands-on activities, and construction site visits. The mentors guide the students to complete their design project and present it at the end-of-year program.
Abby: These students are from all over the Portland metro area and are grouped together to create their own project. I even had a student who traveled from Jefferson County — that’s almost a three-hour drive! Each ACE session is hosted at a mentor’s office. This gives students a sense of not only how we work but were we work, helping make what they are learning more real.
What was your goal for the students in ACE?
Cara: I wanted to inspire the students and demonstrate the immense impact they can have on the built environment and the surrounding community.
Abby: My goal was to teach them about teamwork and communication: how it’s not up to a single person or discipline to make all of the decisions for a project, and all of the disciplines have to communicate for a project to be successful. I also wanted to teach the students there are multiple avenues in the ACE industry. I am the only interior designer in the ACE Mentor Program, so I show students how important it is to look at the interior of the building, the psychology of space, and different design principles to make building users comfortable.
Nestled on a hilltop above Skyline Boulevard in Southwest Portland, the Aubrey Watzek House sits quietly, almost as a suspended moment of early modernism just minutes from downtown Portland. The Watzek House, designed by renowned Oregon architect John Yeon and built in 1937, is his masterpiece in wood and the precursor to Pacific Northwest Regional Modernism. The house is now owned by the University of Oregon’s College of Design.
This famous house has carefully articulated use guidelines — and designation as a National Historic Landmark and a local City of Portland landmark. But the house, like any aging structure, is showing its susceptibility to age and the Pacific Northwest elements. While a roof replacement is planned for the short term, the Watzek House requires a long-term preservation plan that takes a proactive approach to anticipating, planning for, and implementing maintenance and repairs that retain the historic building’s integrity. A comprehensive look at the building’s current condition, use, and its future is also long overdue. This need is the impetus behind a graduate-level historic preservation planning course taught by principal David Wark and associate Carin Carlson at the University of Oregon’s School of Architecture & Environment Historic Preservation Program.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Josette Katcha, a member of Hennebery Eddy’s Historic Resources Group, will be a guest lecturer during the Session 2: Materials Intensive week of the University of Oregon’s 2017 Pacific Northwest Preservation Field School, located this year at Fenn Ranger Station in the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest in Idaho. She will share the findings of Hennebery Eddy’s recent assessment of 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) structures in Washington State Parks. Her architectural preservation lecture will focus on CCC/Works Progress Administration materials, conditions, and treatment recommendations. Josette will speak the evening of Monday, Aug. 21.
Hennebery Eddy Architects is no stranger to volunteering – as a staff and at the individual level, many of us have participated in efforts to give back to our communities. This year, the firm took its commitment to serve the community where we work, live, and create a step further. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 12 Hennebery Eddy staff members participated in the firm’s first Day of Community Service. Employees were granted up to 8 hours to volunteer with a group or project of their choice. Read on for a summary of some of the projects!
No one can deny that Hennebery Eddy design staff member John Maternoski is involved in Portland’s architecture community. A 2014 graduate of the University of Oregon, John has worked with Habitat for Humanity, the AIA, and the Construction Specifications Institute. In Portland alone, he is on the board of directors of the Center for Architecture, he co-chairs the AIA Portland Emerging Professionals Committee, is a member of the Architecture Foundation of Oregon and Design Museum Portland, and volunteers with other organizations around the city. In fact, he’s so involved that he started the Portland Design Events website to help the community keep track of it all. “I’ve volunteered a lot for the architecture profession,” says John, “but I hadn’t spent as much time using my architecture skills for those outside the industry.”
This fall, the City of Portland Mayor’s Office, the Center for Public Interest Design (CIPD) at Portland State University, the Village Coalition (a group of advocates, activists, and houseless individuals committed to combatting homelessness), City Repair, Communitecture, and Open Architecture Collaborative formed the Partners on Dwelling (POD) initiative and invited the design community to design and build small, beautiful and safe dwellings. The completed pods would be displayed in downtown Portland and then used this winter at Hazelnut Grove, a houseless village in North Portland. John joined his friends Julia Mollner and Nada Maani to form a team, giving them all an opportunity to put their skills to use with an immediate, tangible outcome.