Sketched Dec. 3, 2012
The Northwest Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (NWAIA) awarded its 2012 Design Awards last week in Mount Vernon. Among the winners were a number of architectural gems I hope to draw one day: a cool modern-style house in the middle of the woods, creatively repurposed old buildings in Bellingham and Lynden, and even a charming gardening shed.
I know quite a bit about these projects because NWAIA invited me to be a juror on the competition, along with renowned local architects Ross Chapin, an expert in pocket neighborhoods, and Norm Strong, a veteran architect with the Miller Hull Partnership.
Julie Blazek, a partner with HKP Architects and one of the organizers of the awards program, said they always like to include jurors from the arts community who may bring a different perspective to the table. I was honored to fill in that role to the best of my abilities.
When reviewing the projects, I was a bit at a loss in aspects of architecture such as energy-efficiency, use of materials and so forth. But a guy who loves to draw buildings like me can tell you what type of architecture sparks his interest. Though it covers a wide range, from historic buildings to skyscrapers to little cottages, something is always common to the buildings I enjoy. They create a “sense of place,” a feel that they belong where they are. I think all the projects we awarded met that important benchmark.
The Lincoln Theatre in downtown Mount Vernon is a good example of that sense of place I’m referring to. My sketch of the facade is rather schematic, as I was pressed for time. I hope an opportunity to come back to Mount Vernon and finish the drawing presents itself soon.