December 10, 2012 at 1:58 PM
Finding sense of place in Mount Vernon
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.
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