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Architectural Design Studio 3 (ARCH 382) Spring 2019: How to Fell a Tree
Architectural Design Studio 3 (ARCH 382) Spring 2019: How to Fell a Tree

The conversation takes place in downtown Portland over the topic of Portland’s aging – and in many places already removed – industrial lumber trade infrastructure. This industry shaped the city’s waterfront (through mills), its railways (through land grants), its architectural culture (in particular mid-century modern residential architecture). It was historically and today the source of both innovation – the birthplace of MDF and the dream of the tall timber structure – and contestation: logging versus preservation is not so different from architectural demolition and development versus preservation. This topic needs an architectural conversation. Students in the studio will first create an atlas and map of the industry, from which they will choose a site that responds to narratives they have developed and the conversation they want to have. They will clear space and create an environment – a forest in the city? – for this civic conversation and finally design the inhabitation of this clearing. Although “a tree (for the city) and a house (for the community)” might seem to equal a treehouse, we will consciously try to avoid stereotypes and to redesign a civic tree-house for urban Portland. While the program of their architectural response will be loosely defined as a community center, its particular definition will arise in relation to site, context, community members, and history.