December 22, 2016

14 of my Favorite Things About Portland, Oregon

by: Taz Loomans

Tweet In early 2013 Portland was like a new love interest that I had fallen hard for. I was enamored with just about everything in the city. I gained 10lbs just cause I wanted to try all the food and I couldn’t get enough of the Blue Star Donuts, the Waffle Window and Lauretta Jeans Pie Shop. I traipsed around the city taking photographs of the gorgeous flowers, the beautiful bridges, and the many group bike rides I went on. Four years later, just like any love interest, the shine has worn off and I’ve settled into a calmer, less…

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December 13, 2016

A Letter to the People of Color in Portland

by: Taz Loomans

Tweet Dear people of color in Portland, As I write this letter to you, I am sitting at a restaurant where I am the only person of color (POC). Yet again. I didn’t see another person of color on my walk to this restaurant. Nor did I see another person of color all day yesterday or today. This is not uncommon in inner Portland and in particular in inner Southeast Portland where I live. I am routinely the only person of color pretty much everywhere I go, including the grocery store, the book store, or the coffee shop. When I…

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September 18, 2016

Charles Eisenstein on “Interbeing”

by: Taz Loomans

Tweet “The definition of love is self love, expanding the definition of self to include other.” This captures the essence of what philosopher and author Charles Eisenstein had to say at the First Congregational Church in Downtown Portland last month. Eisenstein’s talk served as a shot in the arm for weary activists in the audience of the event organized by The City Repair Project. Eisenstein began by lamenting the world we live in. It “is set up against the path that makes our hearts sing,” he said. For one it measures the kind of work that men do and invalidates…

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Tweet In our private property culture, community property is considered un-American and is akin to socialsm or communism. But despite the national rhetoric of every man for himself and pulling yourself up from the bootstraps, the reality is, we all need each other at the end of the day and we can’t go far without the help of our community. We all need a helping hand sometimes, whether that be because we’re just starting a baking business and we can’t afford our own commercial kitchen, or because we simply can’t afford to buy our toddler the latest toys, just to…

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April 01, 2016

A Tribute to Zaha Hadid

by: Taz Loomans

Tweet I don’t like starchitects. But I was very sad to hear about the death of Zaha Hadid yesterday. At 65, it was too soon, considering architects tend to mature and do some of their best work late in their careers. (For example, Frank Lloyd Wright received the commission to design the Guggenheim Museum when he was 76 and designed the Price Tower when he was 85.) Dame Hadid had a lot of great architecture still left in her, and it is a true loss for the world never to see it. I have a lot of mixed feelings about…

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March 15, 2016

A Review of the Film The Competition

by: Taz Loomans

Tweet The ego of a starchitect is too big even to fit in his grandiose skyscraper. Nowhere is this more evident than in the documentary called The Competition that chronicles the process of four of the world’s biggest starchitects submitting ideas for a competition to design the National Museum of Andorra. The four architects are Jean Nouvel, Zaha Hadid, Dominique Perrault, and Frank Gehry and the movie follows their firms as they put together their submissions. The film gives you a VIP pass into the offices of these starchitects and reveals glimpses of how these much admired creatives practice their…

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Tweet Sometimes you don’t have all the answers, but thankfully having all the answers is not a prerequisite to building confidence. I’ve struggled for a long time and still do at times with lacking confidence as an architect, even after being assigned large projects and getting my license and being put in charge of teams. The nagging lack of confidence persisted despite other people’s confidence in me. Over time I’ve found that confidence doesn’t come from being perfect and knowing everything, but from a deep reserve within that we can draw on when things get tough. There are many ways…

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Tweet “Construction is a very costly endeavor, costing hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars and it is a huge responsibility for architects to be the steward of that kind of money in the form of a building,” says Rosa Sheng,┬áSenior Associate at Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and Chair of Equity by Design. This huge responsibility along with the tremendous breadth and ever changing amount of technical knowledge that is required to be an architect and an education that conditions people to think that they are failures if they do not become starchitects often leads to confidence issues in architects, especially…

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December 19, 2015

How to Build Confidence as an Architect, Part I

by: Taz Loomans

Tweet Some years ago I designed a stair for an office building that was too narrow. It was supposed to be a minimum of 48 inches wide, but I designed it to be 36 inches wide. No one caught it, not my supervisor, not the firm’s quality assurance team, and not even the contractor until he had already ordered the steel, which was the wrong size. My firm had to pay for new steel for the correct size stair. I was so ashamed and this hurt my confidence so much, that it was part of the reason I left architecture…

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Tweet If you live in a tiny house on wheels, you may be woken up in the middle of the night and asked to vacate your house. That’s because living in a tiny house on wheels (THOW) is illegal in most of Portland, unless it is parked on an RV lot. It is perfectly legal to park tiny houses on wheels in a lot of places, including someone’s back yard. But living there is a whole other story. Why Tiny Homes on Wheels are an Important Part of Available Housing Stock: With Portland’s housing crisis, the particular issue of tiny…

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