Oregon’s winning architecture

Jaqua Academic Center-1 Exterior
The John E. Jaqua Academic Center for Student Athletes at the University of Oregon

My work is exciting. My kids are smart and happy. The dog sits on command. Most times. Although I can’t take credit for these things I do take a certain pride in them. But that is nothing compared to the ridiculous amount of pride I take in my house, a pride that could be justified only if I had personally chopped, milled and hammered the frame myself.  While blindfolded.

Feeling a little house-proud is probably a good thing. It prevents me from tossing old tires in the backyard, for example, a gesture I am sure the neighbors appreciate. And now I’m extending the the property lines of my pride.

The American Institute of Architects Northwest and Pacific Region (AIA NW&P) recently announced 16 design excellence awards and three were built in Oregon and designed by Oregon firms. The jury selected from almost 150 submissions for projects located throughout the USA, Canada, Japan and the United Kingdom.

One of two Honor Awards went to The University of Oregon John E. Jaqua Academic Center for Student Athletes in Eugene designed by ZGF architects of Portland. This building is stunning. It appears to be afloat in an infinity pool. At night it looks like a giant crystal cube. It almost makes me wish I’d encouraged my kids in their pursuit of sports. And by encourage I mean maybe I should have shown up to a couple soccer games. But it was raining. Always. Standing on the sidelines in the drizzle for several hours every Saturday cheering your kids’ athletic abilities is an admirable display of parental commitment. I like to think I did a kind of academic rah-rah. “An A+ on your English paper? Good job!” Am I to blame for the fact that homework is typically written indoors?

ZGF also received a Merit Award for its design of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Brooklyn Infusion Center, Brooklyn, NY.

The Nike Olympic Trials Pavilion in Eugene designed by Skylab Architecture of Portland, and Bud Clark Commons designed by Holst Architecture of Portland each received one of the six Merit Awards.

I’m pushing aside food carts, coffee shops and bikes to take some home pride in Oregon architecture.

Vivian McInerny is the managing editor of Oregon Home.