Portland, it’s been a rough winter. The cold temperatures, ice, and snow have led to the cancellation of countless fantastic design events in our city, a fact that we are well-aware of as we’ve scrambled to keep our calendar up to date (which is no small task!) SO, if you’re anything like us, you’ve spent your fair share of time these past few weeks cooped up at home, ITCHING to get outside and learn more about architecture and design in Portland! Well never fear, Portland Design Events is here to help!
We’ve put together a short list of books, a DVD, and a set of cards that we’ve found to be some of the most interesting and informative resources in town! If you can’t get out to the lectures and tours, then let these fantastic guides bring the lectures and tours to you! (A perfect excuse to use your Prime shipping, to boot!) So light up the fireplace, grab a blanket, and cozy up with these Portland design resources we love:
Placenotes was made possible in part by the Architecture Foundation of Oregon, the wonderful folks behind the recent Honored Citizen and REFRESH events, as well as the Dine & Design Series. We’re so happy they helped to make it happen – this is one of the best guides in Portland. It’s a set of cards beautifully packaged that feature a photo of a place on one side, and a description of the place on the other side – written by local experts!
The cards highlight buildings, natural features, landmarks, neighborhoods…all the things that make Portland, Portland. These are the #1 guide to learn about the special parts of this town that exist in your own backyard. And they’ll give you some street smarts you can use to impress your friends.
While Placenotes gives you a quick overview of local landmarks, An Architectural Guide to Portland (Bart King, 2007) is going to be your comprehensive go-to guide for Portland architecture. This book is very much like a written version of a Positively Portland Walking Tour, with a terrific sense of humor that also shares detailed building information including dates, architects, and facts about buildings and their history within the context of the city. Also great for impressing your friends, at a higher level.
While Portland has been berated with stunning drone footage of our city under a thick blanket of snow in the past few days, photographer Bruce Forster has been capturing these views for years via helicopter (SO low-tech!) He compiles these images into this beautiful book, showing gorgeous views of Portland and the Willamette Valley from rarely-seen angles above. The images are complimented by a handful of essays by prominent Portland writers that explore the history, design and architecture of Portland, tying together a truly remarkable book.
Coast Modern is a documentary directed by Mike Bernard and Gavin Froome, exploring the modern style of residential architecture on the West Coast. It offers unique insight and perspective on the architectural style, including a beautiful piece on Portland’s John Yeon-designed Watzek House and the context of Portland design within the rest of the region. The documentary features interviews with some of the most respected names in architecture, including Portland’s own John Cava and William Tripp. You may remember William as the organizer of the 2016 University of Oregon Free Hand Drawing Workshop, whose pop-up exhibit was featured as one of the top events of 2016.
Pietro Belluschi is arguably one of Portland’s most recognized and accomplished architects, and his story is a truly fascinating one. This wonderfully detailed and illustrated book, by Meredith Clausen, 1999, explores his life and his work, including Portland’s iconic 1948 Equitable (now Commonwealth) Building and the Portland Art Museum. Clausen also explores some of Belluschi’s brilliant Portland churches, including Central Lutheran Church (the site of DoCoMoMo’s Preservation of Mid-Century Modern Building Materials Workshop) and St Philip Neri Church, a staple of Positively Portland’s Historic Ladd’s Addition Walking Tour, which will return later this summer when the weather warms up.
Stay warm and safe, Portland! Enjoy these reads during the foul weather, and we’ll see you out and about again soon!
Cover image courtesy Pexels.