Great Buildings vs. Great PlacesFebruary 22, 2010
This evening I attended a very interesting program that was part of the “New Oregon” interview series. The program featured architecture/design critic Randy Gragg, architect Brad Cloepfil and Mayor Sam Adams.
A major thread of the discussion was about whether Portland aspires to good design – or if we settle for less-than-stellar design.
Now I’m a big fan of good design, I think it’s essential to doing infill and density in a livable way.
But several times during the discussion the phrase “important building” was used, and the lack of them in Portland was lamented. This struck me as somewhat off-key.
I don’t think that Portland aspires to have important buildings. What I think we do aspire to is having great places. And if great architecture for a building can contribute to a great place, I’m all for it.
But I get more excited about things like last year’s Courtyard Housing Design Competition, which can potentially result in a lot of great places all around the City.
Am I wrong in my reading of Portland’s collective appetite? Do we in fact value great places more than great buildings?