AIA NWPR Awards 2015: Brian Libby reviews

October 28th, 2015

Brian Libby about the AIA Northwest Pacific Region Awards 2015 Source:



"Earlier this month, the American Institute of Architects’ Northwest & Pacific Region handed out its annual design awards, devoted to projects from a cluster of states including Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Hawaii. And this year, Portland firms cleaned up, with three different firms taking home awards:  Waechter Architecture, Works Partnership Architecture, and Hacker (recently renamed from THA Architecture). In the latter case, Hacker won two awards, including the top one, the Honor Award.

As part of our occasional Portfolio series, featuring images from projects in and out of town by local firms, here are images of the four winning projects by these three firms.

First up is Waechter’s Pavilion House, winner of a Citation Award (third place) from the AIA. The firm was tasked with the challenge of designing a “glass house” with privacy.  The solution was to use a pavilion-like form where the four supporting legs of the building are strategically placed to block unwanted views and provide privacy. These four rectangular legs support the second story and have dual functionality as they also contain the stairs, kitchen, half bath and storage on the ground level. Between these legs, the open floor plan expands to outdoor living through floor to ceiling glass and doors. The polished concrete floor is cast on grade, creating a seamless transition to the surrounding yard.

Works Partnership Architecture’s Langano Apartments project on lower SE Hawthorne Boulevard won a Merit Award (second place) from the AIA. The four-story, 30-unit mixed-use building includes 2,800 square feet of retail space and 13 surface parking stalls.

The project replaces Jarra’s Ethiopian Restaurant and the Langano Lounge, which closed in May. The restaurant’s owners, Petros Jarra and Ainalem Sultessa, retained ownership of the development.

The first of Hacker’s two award winners is a new home for the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Central Oregon, located on the west side of Bend. Winner of the Honor Award from the AIA (first place), the project includes a 250-seat sanctuary with minister and choir platform, seven meeting/classroom spaces, a catering kitchen, an administrative office suite, and support spaces. The building will also serve the community as an event and performance space, a preschool, and will host yoga classes, art exhibits, and other community meetings.

The project is designed to embrace the high desert landscape, while also serving as a model of sustainability within the often harsh Central Oregon climate – embodying the Unitarian Universalist principle of “respect for the interdependent web of all existence.”

Discovery Hall at the University of Washington, which won Hacker a Merit Award, serves as an academic hub for science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs and houses classrooms and laboratories for chemistry, life science, physics, electrical engineering, software development and geographic information system.

The 74,600-square-foot building, also photographed by Lara Swimmer, is oriented east-west for optimal solar control with the use of daylight, sunshades and light controls. Operable windows in the classrooms and offices increase occupants’ control. Chilled beams, displacement ventilation, heat recovery, and solar hot water will further decrease energy use.