Open Architecture

oct_imageRecap: 10/16/18

Hosted by LWD member Arielle Weedman, co-owner of Weedman Design Partners

We welcomed a presentation on Open Architecture Collaborative by Architect and LWD member Hali Knight who currently serves as Open Architecture Portland Chapter Directer and Sarah Taylor, Landscape Designer and Open Architecture Project Manager.

The Open Architecture Collaborative is a global learning network mobilizing architects and designers with technical skills to build capacity with communities experiencing systemic marginalization. With a goal for making design accessible to all communities.

Hali and Sarah presented the work the Portland Chapter has participated in over the years and opened it up to discussion about how design skills can empower and be used to help others.

Previously known as Architecture for Humanity, Open Architecture Collaborative began in 2016 when previous active members of AFH wanted to continue their community driven efforts. Open Architecture is grassroots and volunteer run with national and international Chapters. A power of the organization is the ability to learn and connect through its Chapter network.

OAC is always looking for designers to volunteer and can match any skill set to a need.

Often what designers can bring to the table is the one ingredient needed to get past committees and secure grant funding.

They are usually working on 3-4 projects at a time.


Projects Shared:

Village Gardens – Partnered with Oregon Tradeswomen

Made Resilient – A one day ongoing charrette

-Thinking about how to be self sustaining

-Examining the structure of what we rely on

MacDonald Center Courtyard – In 2013 they helped replace some of the old and bad patio cobble stones at the the MacDonald Center. Through design and drawings provided by volunteers they were able to secure funding to make the project happen.

Kenton Women’s Village – Maybe one of the most publicized projects they were a part of along with several other organization that made this one-of-a-kind project possible.

Bridger School Playground Design – A project that has been in the works for the past year. They engaged the community and students to help design their ideal playground to meet all needs. The designs and schematics provided by OAC volunteers helped the PTA move through PPS committees, secure funding and get a NIKE grant.

See all OAC Portland projects on their site:

or their facebook:

One of the aspects OAC volunteers are most proud of is the connections they have made with the communities they work with and the cross-pollination that can happen when the communities are driving the designs to fit their needs.

This conversation brought up a bench project LR Design Co worked on titled B_Tween Bench, a semi-finalist in the Street Seats competition. Highlighting the importance of bringing clients and users into the conversation and how leading with inclusivity can make a stronger design.

How you can get involved with OAC:

JOIN A PROJECT TEAM – Leverage your skills in design, fabrication, organization, crafts, and more, by joining a project team. Look out for emails about upcoming projects.

VOLUNTEER AT AN EVENT – Too busy to commit to a project? Come out for a day and swing a hammer, tile some counters, or help host an event.

APPLY TO LEAD A PROJECT – Gain leadership and management experience by running your own project with a team of volunteers.

SPEAK AT A CHAPTER MEETING – Come present your own work and get feedback from the chapter in the form of a charette or panel discussion.

PROPOSE A PROJECT – Stop waiting for the perfect project to present itself, and propose your own charette/research project/installation!

APPLY FOR A DIRECTOR ROLE – Excited about the direction of our new organization? Help steer us into the future as a director! Elections will be held in July.

DRAW A “WHAT DO YOU SEE?” – Dust off your sketchbook and propose a design intervention in your own neighborhood.

More info, hear about their upcoming events and join the OAC email list: