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An anchor for an arts district.

Balanced at the terminus of Portland, Oregon’s North Park Blocks, linking the newly developed Pearl District with historic Old Town, this nearly 14 acre site is one of tremendous opportunity for both its owner and for the city at large. At the time of this proposal, it is occupied by the United States Post Office and largely restricted to the public. Redevelopment of the property for the relocation of the University of Oregon School of Allied Arts from Eugene, Oregon will bring a mentality of engagement to the site, and provide a richer learning environment for the students.

Lovejoy Arts Alliance on the North Park Blocks: View of the Lovejoy Arts Alliance Center from the Plaza
An Anchor for an Arts District

Arcing water and landscape features shape space in the Arts Plaza, which functions as an intensive green roof system over the parking garage hidden below. The boardwalk decking not only softens the feel of the plaza, but allows for water to filter between the boards to be drained and collected off of the walking surface.

A plaza lid to conceal underground parking.

Arcing water and landscape features shape space in the Arts Plaza, which functions as an intensive green roof system over the parking garage hidden below. The boardwalk decking not only softens the feel of the plaza, but allows for water to filter between the boards to be drained and collected off of the walking surface.

Lovejoy Arts Alliance on the North Park Blocks: The Park Blocks Conservatories
The Park Blocks Conservatories

As the cap of the North Park Blocks, the urban design of the campus necessitates an appropriate degree of grandeur. As the existing parks reach the campus, they transition to the Park Blocks Conservatories: a complex of three large greenhouses, the newest member of Portland’s collection of remarkable gardens, housing tropical and desert species that cannot survive outside in Portland’s climate.

Portland’s latest garden: The Park Blocks Conservatories.

The currently developed North Park Blocks are under-designed and underutilized. As the existing parks reach their finish at the campus, the ribbon of open space widens and offers more opportunity for social engagement by flanking the space with buildings, rather than roads. First along the path north are the Park Blocks Conservatories. Composed of three large greenhouses, they become the newest member of Portland’s collection of remarkable gardens. The plaza they form is a flexible space for large events: concerts in the summer, or a public ice rink in the winter.

Lovejoy Arts Alliance on the North Park Blocks: The Arts Plaza Melts into the Lobby
A Mentality of Engagement

The details of the Arts Plaza blend directly into the central atrium of the Lovejoy Arts Alliance Center. Huge, pivoting wall panels can be opened to allow the plaza to further melt into the building, as the boardwalk, circular site accents, and the axis of raised planters continue seamlessly into the lobby.

A mentality of engagement builds communities and enriches education.

The urban arts campus will attract a diverse population of students, faculty, and city dwellers to the area, and its presence will contribute to the intellectual heart of the city. Additionally, this proposal entails not only a new location for the arts college, but also a suggestion for a new academic partnership. Rather than the more limited alliance at the current School of Allied Arts in Eugene, Oregon, the proposal combines the visual, the performing, and the design arts, forming a league of creative realms centered in a community already poised to be the arts capital of Portland. The presence of other arts institutions in the district presents the opportunity for not only interdisciplinary collaboration, but also inter-institutional engagement, building an environment where learning and innovation can thrive in the greater community.

Lovejoy Arts Alliance on the North Park Blocks: Section at West Wing
Section at West Wing

The Lovejoy Arts Alliance Center forms the northern edge of the Arts Plaza, and its lower levels house the auditorium, museum, and library of the university outpost. The other flanking buildings shaping the exterior space house theatres and a performance hall, all filling the plazas with activity and the city with life.

Section at building’s west wing.

The Lovejoy Arts Alliance Center forms the northern edge of the Arts Plaza, and its lower levels house the auditorium, museum, and library of the university outpost. The other flanking buildings shaping the exterior space house theaters and a performance hall, all filling the plazas with activity and the city with life.

Lovejoy Arts Alliance on the North Park Blocks: Level 7 Roof Garden & Dwelling Units
Level 7 Roof Garden & Dwelling Units

The interlocking circular motif of the Arts Plaza continues in the roof gardens, forming varied landscape spaces, some open, some more sheltered. The roof gardens on Level 7 are an amenity for the tower residents, and overlook the roof gardens of Level 4, which are maintained by the hotel operating on Levels 4-6. The lower levels of the tower are home to four 1-bedroom dwelling units each, with larger units on the floors above.

Plan view at the Level 7 roof garden and dwelling units.

The interlocking circular motif of the Arts Plaza continues in the roof gardens, forming varied landscape spaces, some open, some more sheltered. The roof gardens on Level 7 are an amenity for the tower residents, and overlook the roof gardens of Level 4, which are maintained by the hotel operating on Levels 4-6. The lower levels of the tower are home to four 1-bedroom dwelling units each, with larger units on the floors above.

Lovejoy Arts Alliance on the North Park Blocks: Generative Site Design, Iteration 1
Generative Site Design, Iteration 1

Per pedagogical requirements, the campus site plan was designed using a restrictive generative design process of single design moves in response to a framework plan that cataloged existing local conditions and influential factors. Each move was limited to define only a path, an open space, or a vegetated feature, as opposed to a physical mass, such as a building. Additionally, following the initial move, each subsequent action had to build upon the existing moves. Once paths and open spaces were defined, the buildings could arise from the remaining negative space. The three site iterations arose from one initial application of the generative process procedure for site design required for the studio.

Generative Site Design, Iteration 1

Per pedagogical requirements, the campus site plan was designed using a restrictive generative design process of single design moves in response to a framework plan that cataloged existing local conditions and influential factors. Each move was limited to define only a path, an open space, or a vegetated feature, as opposed to a physical mass, such as a building. Additionally, following the initial move, each subsequent action had to build upon the existing moves. Once paths and open spaces were defined, the buildings could arise from the remaining negative space. The three site iterations arose from one initial application of the generative process procedure for site design required for the studio.

Lovejoy Arts Alliance on the North Park Blocks: Generative Site Design, Iteration 2
Generative Site Design, Iteration 2

Per pedagogical requirements, the campus site plan was designed using a restrictive generative design process of single design moves in response to a framework plan that cataloged existing local conditions and influential factors. Each move was limited to define only a path, an open space, or a vegetated feature, as opposed to a physical mass, such as a building. Additionally, following the initial move, each subsequent action had to build upon the existing moves. Once paths and open spaces were defined, the buildings could arise from the remaining negative space. The three site iterations arose from one initial application of the generative process procedure for site design required for the studio.

Generative Site Design, Iteration 2

Per pedagogical requirements, the campus site plan was designed using a restrictive generative design process of single design moves in response to a framework plan that cataloged existing local conditions and influential factors. Each move was limited to define only a path, an open space, or a vegetated feature, as opposed to a physical mass, such as a building. Additionally, following the initial move, each subsequent action had to build upon the existing moves. Once paths and open spaces were defined, the buildings could arise from the remaining negative space. The three site iterations arose from one initial application of the generative process procedure for site design required for the studio.

Lovejoy Arts Alliance on the North Park Blocks: Generative Site Design, Iteration 3
Generative Site Design, Iteration 3

Per pedagogical requirements, the campus site plan was designed using a restrictive generative design process of single design moves in response to a framework plan that cataloged existing local conditions and influential factors. Each move was limited to define only a path, an open space, or a vegetated feature, as opposed to a physical mass, such as a building. Additionally, following the initial move, each subsequent action had to build upon the existing moves. Once paths and open spaces were defined, the buildings could arise from the remaining negative space. The three site iterations arose from one initial application of the generative process procedure for site design required for the studio.

Generative Site Design, Iteration 3

Per pedagogical requirements, the campus site plan was designed using a restrictive generative design process of single design moves in response to a framework plan that cataloged existing local conditions and influential factors. Each move was limited to define only a path, an open space, or a vegetated feature, as opposed to a physical mass, such as a building. Additionally, following the initial move, each subsequent action had to build upon the existing moves. Once paths and open spaces were defined, the buildings could arise from the remaining negative space. The three site iterations arose from one initial application of the generative process procedure for site design required for the studio.

Shaping exterior public spaces.

A university’s dedication to education is not limited only to its enrolled student body, and an urban campus in particular presents a unique opportunity to educate the general public, both directly and indirectly. Thus, the physical design of the campus requires that it not be an “island,” but that it engages the city and its inhabitants. The campus is recognizable as a distinct location, yet also is inextricably linked with the fabric and life of the city. Open spaces on campus belong as much to the students as to the public, and the campus as a whole should be considered a gift to the city.

Lovejoy Arts Alliance on the North Park Blocks: Site Section at Central Axis
Site Section at Central Axis

The Park Blocks Conservatories transition to the Arts Plaza by way of a gateway feature composed of two café spaces boasting an upper deck with views to both plazas. Meanwhile, hidden below the Arts Plaza and the Lovejoy Arts Alliance Center, an underground parking garage supports the increased traffic the project will invite.

Site section at the campus’s central axis.

The Park Blocks Conservatories transition to the Arts Plaza by way of a gateway feature composed of two café spaces boasting an upper deck with views to both plazas. Meanwhile, hidden below the Arts Plaza and the Lovejoy Arts Alliance Center, an underground parking garage supports the increased traffic the project will invite.

Lovejoy Arts Alliance on the North Park Blocks: Laser Cut Building Model, View of Trellises
A Shaded Space

Trellises provide sheltered areas on the Level 4 roof deck, overlooked by hotel balconies and the Level 7 roof gardens above.

A Shaded Space

Trellises provide sheltered areas on the Level 4 roof deck, overlooked by hotel balconies and the Level 7 roof gardens above.

Lovejoy Arts Alliance on the North Park Blocks: Laser Cut Building Model, View of Balconies
Balconies with a View

The private balconies of the residential tower enjoy southern exposure and an axial view through the Arts Plaza, the Park Blocks Conservatories, and the rest of the North Park Blocks beyond.

Balconies with a View

The private balconies of the residential tower enjoy southern exposure and an axial view through the Arts Plaza, the Park Blocks Conservatories, and the rest of the North Park Blocks beyond.

Laser cut building model.

A laser cut, scale model of the building helps to visualize the proposal. Though the landscaping is demonstrated with laser etching on the surface, the next helpful step would be to model it with artificial vegetation.

Still hungry for more about this project?

Go deep, and read more about it in our blog.

Lovejoy Arts Alliance on the North Park Blocks: The Arts Plaza Melts into the Lobby - Cropped for Hero

Post-Production Rendering: Before & After

No matter how awesome your 3D model is, just like in film, it’s the post-production rendering that really makes an image shift from barren to believable.

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