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Josh Nieves

Lick List: Seattle/Portland

Posted by on 6/15/15 at 01:04pm

A few weeks ago Sarah and I decided to visit the Northwest to meet up with some graduated Lake|Flato’ers and explore the landscapes and architecture of Seattle and Portland.  Along the way a few buildings joined the highly coveted Lick List!

2First stop was Seattle where we met up with Sierra who is now working at Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and getting ready to release their latest houses book!  We got a tour around the office and got to see some beautiful models, drawings and amazing views from their studio space of the city and waters below.

 

 

3Ballard Public Library

The Ballard Public Library by BCJ was the first building on our trip to earned the right to be licked. With it’s amazing green roof and it’s and beautiful structural details it must be hard to focus on your reading! There is a variety of materials and textures found in this relatively small space and Sarah and I made sure to explore every square inch that we could. Unfortunately for us, the oval meeting room was locked… Sarah made the best of a small window that looks in from the book-stacks.

Element licked: Board formed concrete wall. (yum)

 

4Chapel of St. Ignatius

As we approached the chapel I didn’t quite know what to expect. To be completely honest I had not heard of this project prior to our visit to Seattle and therefore had the opportunity to explore the building with a blank slate. The exterior is built of tilt wall concrete with very few windows. From the outside it became clear the the magic was going to come from above from the various skylights that grow wild out of the relatively tame shell. As we entered through the wooden doors we discovered a toy-chest of clever details and creative textural explorations.

 

5Light dances across the asymmetrical vaulted spaces and draws attention to the cross hatched plaster finishes. A small side chapel is finished with wax dripping on the walls which catches and breaks the light from a glass wall sconce. This chapel is an amazing exploration is light and texture and because if this it earned a spot on the lick list.

Element licked: Wood Door

 

6Saint Mark’s

Moving on to a more traditional worship space, we made out way over to Saint Mark’s which has had a long history construction/expansion/renovation. The church sits firm, high on a hill overlooking the Bay. It appears to be a hybrid Gothic/modern cathedral and is currently still undergoing renovations by Olson Kundig Architects. The interior space is vast and powerful with one of the most beautifully crafted wood timber ceilings I have ever seen. Large factory-like windows bring a modern take on stain-glass. Unfortunately for us we missed the Gregorian Chants but the building still made the list

Element licked: super thick columns

 

7Before leaving Seattle we got a chance to hang out with another previous LFer, Keegan, who is currently finishing school at the University of Washington.  She gave us a pretty nifty tour of the school and her current design/build project!

 

8Next stop on the trip was Portland where we were hosted by yet another previous LF intern, June!  Along with his wife and son, Hugo, they toured us around Portland which also included his current office, ZGF.  Pretty snazzy place to work!

 

9Olympic Mills Commerce Center

I don’t want to play favorites, but if I did I would have to say this was the best project of the whole trip. This adaptive reuse building, by Works Partnership, is a simple and systematic infill development that takes place in the heart of an old grain storage facility. Four atriums illuminate the four interior corners of the building providing natural light to every space within the old warehouse. The existing concrete superstructure is left exposed as catwalks span across double height lobby spaces creating a interconnected network where various offices have the opportunity to intermingle. The whole building feels like a little community with windows that open the work space as much to the interior as the exterior.

Element licked: Wood slat screen wall

 

10Union Way

This fun little gem is another adaptive reuse project by Lever Architecture. Much like the Full Goods building that Lake|Flato had done in San Antonio, Union Way consists of multiple businesses all under one roof but connected through an open-air exterior hall that snakes its way through the building providing another pedestrian street to downtown Portland. Heavy timber beams are exposed and periodic skylights illuminate the space. The whole interior is clad in knotty wood which is in stark contrast to it’s black brick street facing facades. Traveling through this space felt like entering a worm hole that took us to a whole other part of the city. (it really only took us one street over but it was still pretty awesome)

Element licked: Knotty wood siding