Archive for the ‘equity’ Category

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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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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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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Tweet Portland Mayor Charlie Hales has declared a state of emergency for housing and homelessness in the city. With a vacancy rate of 2.5-3.2%, less than half of that in a healthy housing market, and a 30% increase in rents in that last 5 years, it certainly feels like a state of emergency to everyone from the homeless to the working poor to artists and even to middle class professionals. City Club held the first of a two-part forum on Friday to address the issue of affordable housing. On the panel were Israel Bayer, executive director of Street Roots, Martha…

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August 03, 2015

An Entreaty to Young Women in Architecture

by: Taz Loomans

Tweet Architecture is all about art and beauty and feeling good inside a building right? Wrong. Architecture is also all about codes and actual wood framing sizes vs nominal and how are you going to make sure that skylight won’t leak. Recently, I started working for a firm called Communitecture as a project manager/project architect. We are so busy that we are looking for another person who can lead projects by herself as well. We’ve talked with quite a few people and looked at quite a few resumes. What has become apparent in our search is that there are plenty…

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Tweet It’s not easy to be a Muslim in America. After 9-11 Muslims have been a target of discrimination and suspicion and have been painted as “anti-American”. As recently as last month there was an armed anti-Islam demonstration at an Arizona mosque. Continued violence perpetrated by extremists around the world has put Muslims in America, who themselves have nothing to do with that violence, in a position of constantly having to defend themselves and their religion. I was raised as a Muslim, but no longer practice. But my family still does and I very much still feel connected to the…

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