Blog

Design discussions: Creating active public spaces

At SERA, a group of staff passionate about design created Design Interest Group Integrated Thursdays (DIG IT for the acronym-lovers in us) to strengthen our dialogue about how design fits into our practice. At each event, staff is presented with a topic, given background, and asked to create a well-designed experience that addresses the topic’s […]

(Dis)Connect

In order to maintain healthy connections in a complex and evolving world, we sometimes have to seek places with characteristics that resemble those of our ancestors from millennia ago. At SERA, we’re currently exploring what those conditions are, and how to integrate the natural and built environments to the benefit of human health and well-being.

Architecture Without Architects

Since I was 14 years old, I’ve been fascinated by travel and design. Therefore, when I started to study urban design and planning, I wanted to participate in design projects around the world. I’ve travelled to developing countries like India, Peru, Turkey, China and Brazil — and this is when I first learned about “architecture without […]

Woodshedding to Spark Inspiration

Recently, a large group of us at SERA sat down for lunch together and discussed what it takes to create valuable and innovative design. Two main threads emerged. First, thoughtful design takes time where true mindfulness can be engaged at a deep level; time where all of our knowledge and skills can be carefully applied […]

A Waterfront Designed by Portlanders

A Recap of Our “Wishing for a Wonderful Waterfront” Discussion Earlier this month, we set out to reimagine our relationship with the Willamette River. During our Design Week Portland event, 75 people from around Portland weighed in on one question, “What makes for a wonderful Willamette?” Our expert panel helped by offering their perspective, ideas and even […]

Help Us Design a Wonderful Waterfront

SERA Architects is opening its doors during Design Week Portland to ask the question, “What does a wonderful waterfront look like to you?” Like many Portlanders, we admire the Willamette – it’s the physical and emotional heart of Portland. And we feel lucky to have Tom McCall Waterfront Park, a strong model of urban walkability, […]

Celebrating Our Sustainable Action by Enhancing Livability

As the thermometer jumps around between the 50 and 90 degree range, the sky fluctuates between skin frying warmth and dress drenching deluges, our minds begin to transcend our daily experiences and think forward to the summer, planning out all of the expeditions we’ll undertake.  It’s at this time of year that SERA puts together […]

Ecodistricts: Developing sustainable systems at scales that makes sense

Have you ever wondered how (and when) the energy, waste and water systems in our cities were built? Like the growth of cities, the systems that support our urban lives have evolved incrementally over time. Together they make up a patchwork of infrastructure that is sometimes arbitrary and can be quite inefficient. Applying the principles […]

Civic Ecology: A Citizen-Driven Framework for Suburban Communities

This paper was presented by Tim Smith at the 50th International Making Cities Livable Conference on June 26, 2013 at The Governor Hotel  in Portland, Oregon. Tim was also interviewed as part of this conference on Citizen Engagement via Civic Ecology. Reshaping suburbia suggests a shift toward mixed use, green buildings, complete streets, densification and […]

Civic Ecology: A Citizen-Driven Framework for Suburban Communities

Reshaping suburbia suggests a shift toward mixed use, green buildings, complete streets, densification and transit oriented development… in other words, greener, more efficient forms of suburban “hardware.” While these strategies may lead towards greater efficiency, transformative change will require deeper intervention beyond re-forming and efficiency. Suburban areas must be re-imagined as whole communities animated by […]