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Architecture students present “fresh, local, sustainable” designs to Burgerville executives
Author: Suzanne Pardington, University Communications
Posted: December 9, 2010

December 9, 2010 – The Burgerville of the future could have a gym, an open-air produce market or a food education center, if company executives adopt the design ideas of architecture graduate students at Portland State University.  

Ten first-year students from Assistant Professor Jeff Schnabel’s advanced design studio took up the challenge of redesigning the Northwest restaurant chain to better match its commitment to “fresh, local, and sustainable” practices. Students this week presented their designs to company executives, including Burgerville President and CEO Jeff Harvey and Chief Cultural Officer Jack Graves. 

Schnabel proposed the project to Burgerville after going through a drive-thru last summer with his daughter and noticing the restaurant’s architecture didn’t quite match its mission. Students started by interviewing company executives about their goals, including designing restaurants that fit into their neighborhoods. Students studied the St. Johns neighborhood in North Portland and designed a new Burgerville for that community. 

“It’s a rare opportunity for students to be able to work with a client and to navigate their projects through the lens of a client’s strategies and desires,” Schnabel said. “They took it very seriously. They really want to make Burgerville proud.”

Erika Warhus, a student in Schnabel’s design class, created a concept for a Burgerville Market with an arcade for venders selling local produce and a food bar instead of a dining room. 

“Working with Burgerville has been exciting because we have an actual client and we get to work with someone in the community outside of the studio,” she said. “We’re not just designing in a bubble.” 

Harvey said Burgerville might use some of the students’ ideas when it begins remodeling its restaurants next year. “This whole idea of business connecting with local higher education to drive some of the design concepts was perfect timing,” he said. “It has been creative, it has been fun, and it has been cost effective. Viable ideas abound here.” 

About Portland State University
Portland State University (PSU) serves as a center of opportunity for more than 29,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Located in Portland, Oregon, one of the nation’s most livable cities, the University’s innovative approach to education combines academic rigor in the classroom with field-based experiences through internships and classroom projects with community partners. The University’s 49-acre downtown campus exhibits Portland State’s commitment to sustainability with green buildings, while many of the 125 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees incorporate sustainability into the curriculum. PSU’s motto, “Let Knowledge Serve the City,” inspires the teaching and research of an accomplished faculty whose work and students span the globe.