Tag Archives: design

Future Trends for Architectural Conservation

As part of the sesquicentennial celebration of Canadian Confederation independence, the National Trust for Canada and the Association for Preservation Technology International co-sponsored the largest joint conference of heritage professionals. Over 1,100 attendees from twenty countries attended the week-long event focused both on technical issues and heritage planning.

The shear size of the conference was overwhelming, but the host city, Ottawa, (APTI) was an ideal venue because of its position as the capitol city of Canada, the quantity of heritage resources, including the Rideau Canal World Heritage Site, and beautiful world class museums and parks.

As with all APTI annual conferences, the week begins with two day long workshops highlighting the craft of preservation. This year’s workshops included Logs & Timbers, Masonry Mortars, and Digital Tools for Documentation. Masonry Mortars has been offered several times over the last five years at APTI conferences and is always popular demonstrating the continual need to understand mass masonry walls, their performance, and specialized products and skills required to restore and preserve the walls.
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How Robots Can Assist with Conservation
National Trust conferences, in both Canada and the United States offer many tours during the course of the conference and one of tours focused on robotics for heritage conservation. A conservation lab at Carlton University, founded after World War II and one of Ottawa’s public universities, has created a curriculum around the use of robotics to enhance the preservation craft of traditional materials. Conference attendees viewed a demonstration of a robotic arm manufactured in Germany, by the supplier of robotic arms to the automotive industry, with a custom built “hand” designed to hold stone cutting tools. As a demonstration, the Carlton University staff carved a block of sandstone scheduled to replace original material on the Canadian parliament buildings as part of a massive restoration effort. The demonstration was fascinating in the speed by which the robot carved the material with fine accuracy. Attendees were interested in the conservation aspect of the robot and asked about the stone cutting techniques and potential replacement of stone carvers.

Since the robot uses circular drill bits as cutting tools resulting in smoother finishes than traditional chisel cutting, some attendees were skeptical of the robot as a tool for capturing traditional stone techniques. As to the replacement of stone carvers, the response was straight forward: there are fewer and fewer trades personnel that know how to carve stone. The robot is envisioned as a method to allow traditional stone decoration to return to modern design.
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With seven separate tracks of Paper Sessions, it was impossible to take in the full offerings of the joint conference. The use of robots, technology, and computer software simulations continued throughout some of tracks of the Paper Sessions. Particularly interesting was hearing from archeologists in Italy and Chile that, unlike US archeologists, are involved in the documentation, history, and preservation of building materials. Using traditional archeological approaches to documentation and recordation, the archeologists combined their research, historic photographs, current images, on-site destructive testing in unique ways of explaining the chronology of construction and materials used.

Demonstrating the continued convergence of building envelop science with preservation science, many Paper Sessions focused on windows, energy retrofits, and the need to develop better science and research of traditional construction means and methods. One session on mass masonry walls hypothesized that mass masonry walls have a temperature ductility allowing them to expand during cold wet weather in order to accommodate the stress induced by freezing temperatures. One early study in the 1960’s documented the phenomena but without sufficient repeated testing. The engineer making the presentation asked for all those in the audience to create an accessible database of masonry performance in order to expand the collective knowledge base.
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The Future of Preservation Looks Modern
One of the plenary speakers called on heritage preservation to continue leadership in the adaptive reuse of existing buildings, specifically mid-century modern structures, because of the huge environmental impact conservation efforts will have on global warming, waste reduction, and heritage values.

Attendance at APTI national conferences are a great way to gain new knowledge, converse with professional peers, anticipate future trends, evaluate current business practices, and interact outside day to day professional demands.


Written by Peter Meijer, AIA, NCARB / Principal

Integrating Universal Access with Historic Architecture

Oregon State University (OSU) is dedicated to providing universal accessibility throughout its Corvallis campus. The historic Memorial Union building opened in 1927, and is an important gathering place on campus. In its current configuration, the rotunda entry access poses challenges to complying with current ADA Standards for Accessible Design. PMA with our multidisciplinary team members are addressing how to improve the arrival experience starting from the Quad by focusing on the front door as the primary accessible entry, while retaining the buildings historic integrity. With an integrated approach there will be a primary travel path for all.

The existing limitations of accessibility to the MU are the existing ramps do not lead to the front entrance and the circulation through the rotunda requires use of non-compliant ramps. The existing exterior 1980s ramps were built interior of the terrace’s balustrade wall and access is not intuitive and requires signage. They take up significant portion of the historic terrace with circulation and railings.
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OPPORTUNITY FOR INTEGRATING UNIVERSAL ACCESS
The renovation of OSU MU Rotunda provides an opportunity to highlight the integration of universal access to historic properties. The vision for a new accessible path is integrated into the highly ordered Neo-classical design of the MU creating a symmetrical entry on either side of the grand entry stairs facing the quad. The design seeks to reactivate the formal side terraces by eliminating the clutter of handrails and circulation space that currently breaks up the space.

The new accessible pathway will be a sloped walkway along the exterior of the existing balustrade wall of the terraces. A 4.5 % sloped walkway will be integrated into the landscape and will free the space of guardrails. This will result in greater visibility of the accessible means of access to the building and restore the original spatial function of the terraces. Another slope walkway will lead from the terrace to the front entrance and will be integrated into a tiered landscape and informal setting area. The new design will reactive the terraces by streamlining circulation and providing new seating opportunities.

PROPOSED DESIGN OPTIONS
Two design options were explored for this scheme. The first design option removes a portion of the balustrade wall closest to the grand entry. This would open up views of the entry and terrace to the quad and provide additional visibility of the accessible pathway. The second option would leave the balustrade wall in place and would create more of an intimate feel along the terrace. Below are renderings of the first design option.
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We will update this entry as the project develops. Stay tuned!

Written by Hali Knight.

Preservation Month 2017

May is Preservation Month! Review ten (10) handy preservation resources:

ONE – We explore some factors and opinions on new construction in Historic Districts.
PMAPDX OSU Buildable Landarea

TWO – An iconic example of a landmarked building less than 50 years old.
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THREE – Visit Oregon’s SHPO website to browse historic sites, NR listings, & available grants.
Union Station Historic/Seismic Renovation

FOUR – Get to know your local architectural styles from the 1840s – 1970s.
Hillsboro J-B House

FIVE – Pledge your support for a rehabilitated VMC because this place matters.


SIX – How you can find a historic place in the state of Washington.
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SEVEN – Tax Incentives for Preserving Historic Properties.
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EIGHT – Oregon’s Most Endangered Places via Restore Oregon.
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NINE – Keeping It Modern. An architectural conservation grants for 20th century buildings.


TEN – How Historic Preservation is Reviving America’s Communities.
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Overview of Architectural Styles in Oregon: 1840s to 1970s

The City of Gresham applied for and was granted a CLG grant from the State Historic Preservation Office to increase community interest in historic preservation. The City felt that a presentation focused on architectural styles would be likely to generate some interest. They contacted PMA to find out if we would work within their budget and provide a powerpoint presentation geared towards citizens with no planning or architecture background, but also useful for City staff and historians. PMA was happy to be able to provide an overview of Oregon architecture styles from “settlement era” up until mid-1970s. The presentation highlighted the styles most likely to be seen in the Gresham area, especially residential and commercial uses. It was educational for our office to find those historic properties in Gresham and incorporate some of them into the presentation.

Use, Type, Style
It is difficult to understand style without an appreciation of the ways style can be overlaid on various types and uses of buildings. The USE of a building is its primary function. For instance, a church (use) might have a hall with steeple (types or forms) and be Neoclassical (style). The use or purpose of a building is strongly linked to its form, but even within a category of use such as residential, one might find various types such as “apartment block,” “bungalow,” or “four-square.” TYPE just means the basic form, so it is useful for historians to categorize these forms into expected sizes or arrangements of volumes. An apartment block is generally a simple rectangular building with several apartment units and a shared entry. A bungalow is simply a small house, one or 1.5 stories, horizontal in expression. Bungalows are often Craftsman in style, but a handful of other styles are sometimes used with a bungalow type. A four-square is a larger house, typically 2 or 2.5 stories, consisting of a somewhat square footprint with 4 rooms on each floor, and a broad front porch with columns or posts.

The building’s STYLE is determined by the architectural and ornamental details and exterior features applied to the basic structure. Styles change with the times. In fashion and out of fashion, some endure longer. The timeline included is generally reflective of Oregon architectural fashions. However, style also can be affected by technology- for example, the development of steel frame buildings allowed for a new style to emerge: Modernism. Older bearing-wall masonry construction only allowed for small windows set between structural wall areas. A proliferation of new building types, such as the geodesic dome, occurred in the Modern era.

We categorize buildings by type, use, and style when doing a survey of resources in a particular area. The data can be compared quickly and easily to data from other surveys, so we can see the patterns and history of development emerging in any particular area.

Stylistic Timeline of Architectural Styles in Oregon
From Vernacular Forms and Styles, to Renaissance Revivals, Northwest Regional Style and Post Modern, Oregon has a robust and diverse vocabulary of architecture. The stylistic timeline below is meant as a broad overview, highlighting key attributes per style listed, to help you identify your local and regional architectural resources.

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Written by Kristen Minor, Associate, Preservation Planner

The Form and Function of Lighting Design

When we experience an interior architectural space, lighting plays a large role in setting the mood and functionality of a space. No matter an existing, modern or historic building, light of a space is a critical aspect of great interior design. Lighting elements can be designed to enhance the space and architectural details, set the mood, and compliment furniture, color schemes, and art work. For spaces without an abundance of natural light, lighting design becomes even more critical design consideration. For a recent project, PMA designed lighting schemes for two historic four-story tall interior atriums.

The existing atriums utilize natural light from skylights above; however the original design provided no artificial overhead lighting in the space. During the winter months or at dusk and night, the light quality of space relies on the little ambient light from the skylights or artificial light from the surrounding rooms and halls. The light during these times is inadequate for the necessary function of the space. PMA was tasked with providing a lighting solution that would sensitively address the historic nature of the atriums and provide adequate visibility in the space.
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Defining the Project Challenges
The concepts for our lighting schemes were based on the intended function of each identical space. The focus of the design and specified need of the client was to provide lighting for evening social gatherings, networking, and overall entertaining. Lighting needed to be adequate enough for speakers presenting to a crowd and for listeners to be able to read any related literature. Therefore, it was crucial to design lighting schemes that could provide ample lighting for evening events without compromising the historic integrity and ambiance of each space. To provide a solution for our clients’ challenge, we considered the following when approaching our design for the lighting schemes:

  • How to provide power to the source of lighting without compromising the historic elements.
  • Designing for large volumes of vertical space: hanging lighting within the atrium versus lighting from the top; how the light travels in the space, how it casts down shadows, the reflections off the floor and other surfaces.
  • One atrium exhibits permanent hanging sculptures and art; the lighting design required minimal approach to integrated and highlight the sculpture without distracting from it.
  • Designing for and highlighting the atriums’ architectural details, like the cornices, in addition how to hide or incorporating other non-historic architectural details like the structural support columns.
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    Methodology for Design Solutions
    The prominent design goal was to increase overall light levels through a refined, modern scheme that would provide juxtaposition to the historic architectural elements and hanging sculpture. As in any historic project, it is important to avoid solutions that are faux historic, competing with, compromising, or confusing the original historic character. The few pragmatic design parameters defined by the client allowed for design freedom to provide several unique, distinct solutions. While creating our designs, PMA experimented with the type of fixtures (down lights, sconce, defused) and placement of these fixtures within the large volume of the atriums. PMA explored these options in a Revit model of the atrium spaces, which enabled evaluation of the design solutions through lifelike renderings that portrayed the quality and levels of light. Illuminance studies of lux levels provided a way to evaluate each design and provide refinement to meet necessary levels defined by the function of the space. Some lighting design options included:

  • Design lighting to highlight and contrast architectural features from surroundings, for example placing fixtures in the cove of architecture cornices located above openings within the atrium.
  • One atrium has a glass block floor element which could be illuminated from below to provide a dramatic light feature.
  • Accenting the verticality of the space with defused ribbon lighting set within the non-historic structural C-channels. This would transform these elements into elegant vertical lines leading the eye to the above skylights.
  • Pendant lights interspersed between sculptures would provide orbs of light to highlight elements of the sculpture. These fixtures would provide defused-light with optional downlights within the same fixture.
  • Suspended down lights at top of atrium with lights accenting sculptures from above and side.
  • Wall sconces to accents light and wash the atrium walls and columns; this would provide an overall glow to the space.
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    Scheme 1 unified serval lighting design ideas to provide different light level options in the space. Wall sconce lights provide general illumination of the space. Large circular hanging fixtures consist of defused tube lights and large circular defused downlights. Each group of fixture types can be controlled independently and dimmed to provide the ambience desired.

    Scheme 2 specifically works with the sculptures in the second atrium space. Vertical ribbon lights provide ambience illuminance of the space while concealing non-historic structural elements. Pendant lights hang interspersed within the sculptural elements. These have a defused light with an option for downlights. Each grouping of fixtures can be illuminated together or separately depending on the quality of light needed.

    Scheme 3 was chosen by the client and until announced must remain confidential. Stay tuned for the reveal.


    Written by Hali Knight.

    2016 Year in Review

    As we look back over the past year and reflect on our completed, on-going, and upcoming projects, we’d like to take the opportunity to say we have truly enjoyed collaborating and communicating with you!!
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    2016 PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS
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    From top, left to right: Studio Building Exterior + Window Assessment (Portland, OR); Joseph Vance Building Exterior Envelope Repair (Seattle, WA); PPS Grant High School Modernization (Portland, OR); SPS Magnolia School Renovation (Seattle, WA)

    PMA HAPPENINGS
    2015-2016-Halla-HWe are excited to announce: Halla Hoffer, Associate, successfully passed her ARE and is a licensed Architect in the state of Oregon.

    Halla is passionate about rehabilitating historic and existing architecture – integrating the latest energy technologies to maintain the structures inherent sustainability.

    PMAPDX-silver-to-goldWe are committed to the reuse and adaptability of existing resources, and in 2016 moved from Silver to Gold certification!

    Means and Methods of Architectural Design

    On a recent trip to Italy, I couldn’t help but contemplate the progression of architecture styles across time and contemporary architecture’s divergence/evolution from past practice. Architecture, alongside art, has long reflected contemporary trends, culture, and politics. More than ever, contemporary architecture reflects our societies’ obsession with technology, efficiency, and value-engineering. As I stood within the walls of Carlos Scarpa’s Brion Cemetery, taking in the attention to detail and crafted experience of the space, I wondered if architecture would ever return to this level of craft, detail, and whimsy. It is hard to image Carlos Scarpa’s intricate and unique detail being created in the architectural world today. From my perception, the art of architecture on a mass scale is being transformed to a systems and science of architecture where unique, non-functioning, artful details are being abandoned as superfluous and cost prohibited.
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    A Paradigm Shift
    Great works of historic architecture were conceived by pen and paper as artistic minds envisioned each space on iterative gestural pages; translated from enigmas to sketches to drawings to reality. Materials were crafted by hand and details seamlessly integrated within each trade’s identity. Today’s paradigm shift toward Building Information Modeling (BIM), factory production, and intelligent building systems have transformed the means and methods of the tradition discipline. Traditional detailing known by each trade has been lost to time as architects and builders move to new systems. The design process has continued to evolve and transitioned to computer based iterative processes. This creates a new dialog where the computer program itself has an influence over the design.

    Architectural contemporary styles are named for the processes in which they were designed, such as Diagramism, Revitism, Scriptism, and Subdivisionism. These processes include designing in CAD, BIM, and other 3D programs, which can predominantly drive the design style and form. Architects and designers need to be aware of how architectural design is affected by each program’s restrictions and work flow tendencies. There can be a detachment for the final goal of the built form as we go down the virtual rabbit hole. The benefit of 3D modeling is that it allows designers to more fully comprehend form and its intersection with the overall building systems. However, if the design process is pushed into modeling without a strong concept, the objective can be easily replaced with creating a well-organized and systematic Building Information Modeling, instead of holistic architectural design.
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    Architectural Design and BIM
    BIM designs are based primarily of component systems that create efficient, intelligent, and informative models. Designers can easily draw schedules and quantities that greatly speed up processes, however in the design process, focusing on components can also create a disassociation from the whole building and design concept. The translation of an artistic gesture of a material or space can easily be lost in the clunky world of 3D representation and restrictions.

    I am certainly a proponent of BIM, but I am also an advocate of preserving the art and craft of architecture. BIM is a terrific for understanding buildings in their 3D form as a composition of components and systems. BIM’s intelligence allows for continued updating of schedules and quantities, allowing for time efficiency. However, these components are limited to the software’s modeling options and the designer’s skill at modeling. The virtual world is still not an accurate representation of all the properties of building materials or their structural capabilities. In other words, BIM cannot be a means from the start to the end. Our profession is obligated to continue to push for high design standards and syndicate and extrapolate. I continue to see architecture that either allows BIM to drive design or prioritizes efficiency and value-engineering over quality of design. As BIM evolves within architecture as a means to design, I hope it can assist designers in their creative process and challenge our profession’s boundaries.

    Written by Hali Knight, Architect I

    Sources
    Prospect Magazine
    Archdaily
    DI

    Using Revit for Historic Architecture

    Revit is used widely for designing new architecture and for documentation of existing structures. When first looking at Revit one may assume that it is tailored for use with contemporary designs. The default ‘Families’ (the term Revit uses to describe all types of elements from furniture to windows, doors, annotation symbols, wall constructions, etc.) are all generic to new construction. Despite the pre-set generic components, Revit’s strength lies in the ability to create custom ‘Families’ and its capability of tracking both three dimensional design as well as linked information about components. When used correctly Revit can be a powerful tool for building assessment and historic renovation. At PMA we have found several tools in Revit that can help us accurately show historic elements, track information about conditions, show repair strategies, and graphically present data.
    Revit-RecordingData
    When working on historic structures it can be very important to accurately show existing elements. We often need to indicate exact pieces of terra cotta that require replacement or how a stone entry stair is configured so that the cost for replacement stones can be correctly estimated. We frequently create custom ‘Families’ to accurately show historic detailing. ‘Families’ of all types can be created to refine a model and add historic detail. Some of the common custom elements that we create include windows with historically accurate profiles, stacked walls that let us show terra cotta banding and differentiation in materials/wall thicknesses, complex historic roof structures, and custom patterns that match existing stonework. By adapting the generic Revit ‘Families’ and creating our own we are able to accurately represent historic features and structures.

    Capabilities
    One of Revit’s most useful capabilities is its ability to record and track information about building components. Unlike earlier drafting and 3D modeling applications, Revit can store information about material finishes, specification references, and much more! In Revit you can assign ‘Parameters’ to ‘Families’. ‘Parameters’ are used in a variety of different ways – but one of the most useful we’ve found is their ability to track the condition of specific building elements. For example, when we perform window surveys we can assign ‘Parameters’ to all of the modeled windows that describe the typical deficiencies observed. For each individual unit we can then record what deficiencies were discovered in the field. Once all of the information has been added to the Revit model you can create schedules in Revit to describe the condition of each window unit and total quantities. The information can be extracted from Revit and into spreadsheet software to analyze the data, present trends, and identify repair scopes for individual units.
    Revit-Filters
    Using Fliter’s
    Revit’s ‘Filter’s’ function is another tool that we use in conjunction with ‘Parameters’ to better understand and present information that we’ve recorded in the field. Filters allow one to alter the graphics for components based on their ‘Parameter’ values. For example we commonly use ‘Filters’ to graphically show the condition of a building’s windows after a survey. We do this by creating a condition ‘Parameter’ where a value can be assigned to each window, for example, good, moderate, and poor. We can then use filters to highlight all of the windows in good condition green, those in moderate condition yellow, and those in poor condition red. Unlike a window schedule which may require some analysis – the color coded elevations Revit can create with ‘Filters’ are easy to understand and an excellent tool for presentations.

    At PMA we have found Revit to be an invaluable tool that we use day to day for a variety of uses including 3D modeling, displaying point clouds, rendering, tracking information, and presenting data. Revit is a capable tool and with a little creativity one can tailor the application to complex historic projects. The ability to create complex custom ‘Families’ that track data about the structure make it possible for our office to efficiently record, analyze, and present date we observe in the field – bringing projects all the way through development, documentation of construction documents, and construction itself.

    Review our ongoing building envelope project that utilizes Revit.

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    Written By Halla Hoffer, Associate, Architect I

    Portland’s Architectural Heritage from the Recent Past

    In March 2015, we wrote about PDX Post Modern and Mid-Century Modern architecture, which to our eyes was being referenced by local architectural firms for their new designs located at the Burnside Bridgehead and elsewhere. A year later and the City of Portland is continuing to build, build, build especially around the Burnside Bridgehead. In addition, cries for the demolition of a Post Modern icon of architecture: Michael Grave’s designed, Portland Public Service Building, have turned into a proposed $200 million design-build project. Has Portland come to appreciate its architectural heritage from the recent past?

    PoMo-Portland

    Portland Building, PacWest Center, Koin Tower

    Before definitively answering, let’s look at efforts to repair and utilize some of Portland’s recent past architectural resources.
    DoCoMoMo_Oregon, a local chapter of DoCoMoMo_US, is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the interest, education, and advocacy of the architecture, art, landscape, and urban design of the Modern Movement. Recently the Board voiced concerns for the type of alterations proposed for the late modern (post modern!) PacWest Center designed by Hugh Stubbins & Associates / Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, which underwent a Design Advice. John Russell, the original developer of the project who chose Hugh Stubbins as the architect, from a shortlist that included Philip Johnson and Minoru Yamasaki, provided testimony that agreed with the design team that the retail in the building isn’t currently working, but that the building’s design isn’t the major contributor. Overall, the Design Commission encouraged the design team to treat the PacWest Center like a historic building, and use the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards as an approach for the renovation.

    The Koin Tower, designed by ZGF Partnership in 1984, is one of the most prominent buildings in Portland’s downtown rising sky-line, and an example of Post Modern architecture. It is Post Modern with whimsical lines and historical references to Gothic, Spanish, and Deco architectural characteristics. (King, 106) However, unlike the Post Modern Portland Building (interiors designed by ZGF), the Koin Tower has been accepted for its architectural whimsy in a place with a known tag line, “Keep Portland Weird.”

    And on a smaller scale that truly connects to placemaking, the Lovejoy Fountain Pavilion designed by Charles Moore in 1962 as part of Lawrence Halprin’s fountain sequence was thoughtfully restored in 2012.

    Appreciating the Recent Past
    So, has Portland come to appreciate its architectural heritage from the recent past? While these four examples offer a glimpse of optimism towards the maintenance and rehabilitation of architecture from the recent past, there is still an uphill battle towards the preservation and rehabilitation of Post Modern, Modern, and historic architectural resources. This is not an argument to save every resource, but it’s our responsibility to our present and future communities to have places rich in architectural resources from different movements of history- architecture rich in diversity. For architectural diversity contributes to our place making, culture, and identity. Let’s Keep Portland Architecture Weird by both adding to and maintaining and rehabilitating.

    Lovejoy Pavilion

    Lovejoy Pavilion

    Written by Kate Kearney, Marketing Coordinator

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    King, Bart. An Architectural Guidebook to Portland. 2nd ed. Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 2007. Print.

    PMAPDX 2015 Year in Review

    HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!

    PMAPDX-Holiday-2015

    Wishing you a holiday season filled with cheer and delight from Peter Meijer Architect.

    As we look back over the past year and reflect on our completed, on-going, and upcoming projects, we’d like to take the opportunity to say we have truly enjoyed collaborating and communicating with you.

    2015 PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS
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    PMA HAPPENINGS
    Peter Meijer AIA, NCARB, was a Presenter at the RCI, Inc. 2015 Symposium on Building Envelope Technology. He presented on, When Field Performance of Masonry Does Not Correlate with Lab Test Results. PPS Grant High School was the case study presented.

    Kristen Minor, Preservation Planner, is the newest member of the City of Portland Historic Landmarks Commission.