Blog

PARK(ing) Day: Reimagining car spaces as people spaces

I went to a lecture last week by Martha Schwartz, a world-renowned landscape architect who became famous for challenging the status quo by using purple aquarium gravel and shellacked bagels in the midst of a very formal, baroque garden setting. Also a Harvard professor, Schwartz discussed how her class at the Graduate School of Design […]

Topped out! Another Seismic Retrofit in Washington County Takes Shape

Last week we celebrated the topping out of the Charles D. Cameron Public Services Building (PSB) in Washington County, marking the completion of exterior shear walls on the building’s north wing. It has almost been a year since construction started on the PSB, and two years since design wrapped up – a truly celebratory occasion […]

Housing the Houseless: Lessons Learned from our PlyPAD

SERA’s PlyPAD has finally been installed in Kenton Women’s Village! This unique, pro-bono project sought to create an affordable, easily-replicable shelter using CNC-milled plywood. It is now the fifteenth tiny home for a formerly houseless woman, just steps away from SERA’s original POD home. The PlyPAD is a small project with a layered history: after […]

Architects Without Borders Critique Session

Mark your calendars for Wednesday, March 28th — Architects Without Borders Oregon will be presenting a schematic design for the School for Deaf Children in Les Cayes, Haiti. Critique Session: School for Deaf Children Four of this project’s fourteen volunteers are SERA employees, and include Fearn Smith, John Heinen, Brian Stevens and Nathan Korol. We’ll be giving […]

Braced for Safety: Washington County’s Law Enforcement Center

Yesterday, Washington County officials cut a ribbon to mark the completion of structural seismic upgrades to the Law Enforcement Center at the Washington County Sheriff’s Office & Jail! SERA was hired to design the structural approach with KPFF Consulting Engineers in December 2015. Although the building is only 22 years old, analysis and advancement in […]

Implementing Biophilic Design at Living Future unConference

Join SERA this May for Living Future’s unConference, where we’ll be presenting “Biophilia – from Theory to Culture to Action.” In an ongoing, grassroots effort at SERA, our staff is exploring biophilic design – simply put, how environments with natural characteristics impact health and wellbeing – and how it can enrich projects, support cultural values, […]

Anyone Can Design in Virtual Reality

In the Pixar movie Ratatouille, Chef Gusteau’s motto was “Anyone can cook.” Food critic Anton Ego initially viewed that sentiment with disdain but eventually came to the conclusion that “Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” In the architectural world, there are a number of barriers preventing […]

JADE Affordable Housing: A Q&A with the Project Team

Today, we break ground on the ROSE/APANO Affordable Mixed Use Development in Portland’s Jade District! The project is the culmination of a thorough public engagement process, with project manager Gauri Rajbaidya and lead designer Travis Dang acting as facilitators for the development team. Next year, the project will bring undersupplied one-, two- and three-bedroom units, […]

Building a sleeping pod at the Portland Art Museum

Late last year, a team of volunteers at SERA unveiled a designed-and-built sleeping pod as part of a larger effort to address homelessness in the city. This year, SERA accepted second challenge – this time designing a pod with a focus on simplified assembly and replication. On August 20, the pod will be built live for […]

Safe enough to stay: The Washington County Public Services Building

Last month, construction began on the seismic retrofit and building upgrade of the Charles D. Cameron Public Services Building (PSB) for Washington County. The kickoff comes after more than a year of design and staff transition space preparation, and will address the county’s desire to provide a building that is ‘safe enough to stay’ following […]