Dull Olson Weeks Architects (DOWA) and IBI group have merged their resources to work together on sustainable designs for buildings all over the North West. DOWA-IBI has been hit by the green bug, with an ambitious green team implementing sustainable initiatives all over the office. They have also started practicing sustainable design in most project plans, especially in educational facilities. DOWA works in the micro side of sustainable design by going into facilities and finding out creative ways to assist in the learning process while remaining earth friendly at the same time. IBI generally deals in macro projects, neighborhood and alternative transportation needs, such as light rail in the financial district of Portland. Both ends of the organization encourage clients to think differently and not just consider the dollars and cents, but to acknowledge what makes sense.
In education facility projects DOWA has revised the way schools look and run, inside and out. Project managers go to classrooms and speak with students on what they want in schools so that the most quality of improvements can be made. The firm is changing how schools function with these designs, such as classrooms surrounding common areas to be used for a multitude of activities. Most projects have turned schools into a colorful, transparent masterpieces, and money savers at that. After designing and constructing the project, DOWA goes into the classrooms to educate the students and teachers on how to properly use the sustainable technologies. A builders manual is then allocated to the facility manager for future reference.
The Portland Development Commission (PDC) is responsible for economically impacting areas of Portland that are in need of economic stimuli or recovery. They do this by initiating urban renewal projects on decaying or underused areas. In doing so, public attention will gather around the area and with time use of the area will increase until development continues on its own. In order to make the correct long term decisions the PDC works with the public sector to find out what sustainable improvements are viable with the soon to be revitalized area.
Urban renewal is not just a program, but a new way of thinking about the way things function. Like sustainability, revitalization and renewal projects are more of a journey than a destination and upkeep of the built environment is a consistent need. As cities grow denser and sprawl is no longer an option, planners and policy makers will have to fully embrace urban renewal to keep their cities functioning. You can’t build out or up forever, so reusing and re-purposing is the future. In a way, there is a need to rethink: rethink the way schools are laid out, rethink the way neighbors interact, and rethink the way cities endure.