ENVIRONMENTAL VALUES. Creating enduring buildings and thriving cities is for us an environmental value. We are dedicated to practicing architecture that helps people be more connected and feel more alive, and we believe that this is a constructive form of environmental activism.
Well-designed environments can be in balance with nature, and can enhance our social, economic and physical well-being. Too much of what has been built and is being built is out of balance with the natural world.
The sustainability movement has re-oriented our society to look at the whole relationship of people to their surroundings and to each other. This is a healthy and welcome shift in consciousness, but the substance can be lost in the hype: products get re-branded as “eco,” projects can over-promise and under-perform, or get weighed down by good intentions and not happen at all.
Our goal is to help change the world for the better. In our field this means setting ambitious sustainability goals, getting buildings completed on time and on budget, and making sure they actually perform as intended. Sustainability forces us to take a longer view, and there are few easy answers. We try to cut through the green marketing to focus on what matters most: how each project can be as efficient, healthy and long-lasting as possible.
PROVIDING LEADERSHIP. The design process is a powerful tool for creating agreement in communities. We welcome the opportunity to bring diverse groups of people together and to tackle some of the most complex planning challenges in our city. Notable examples of our work are the West Eugene Wetlands Education Center Master Plan in West Eugene (completed 2008), and the recently completed EWEB Riverfront Master Plan (completed 2010). Both projects addressed ecological issues along with social and economic goals. These were two projects that could have resulted in acrimony, but instead a cross section of people in Eugene rallied around bold, elegant design solutions that were built from open, informed discussion. In the coming year, we will be assisting EWEB with the land use phase of the Master Plan to help deliver on the vision.
INVESTING IN THE CITY. Livable cities are a big part of a sustainable future. In 2005 we bought and renovated an eyesore in the heart of our city to do our part to improve the public realm and demonstrate confidence in the future of our downtown. We benefit from being closer to transit, riding our bicycles, and being part of shaping what we care most about in our city. Greg Brokaw and John Rowell share a passion for downtown revitalization and have the ability to inspire others to action through active public advocacy. Greg Brokaw also serves as a member of the Eugene Redevelopment Advisory Committee, focusing on urban renewal projects. John Rowell regularly speaks to community and university groups on the topic of urban re-development in Eugene.
Greg and John are both owners in the One East Broadway building and actively participate in community re-development. The firm has also been instrumental in redesigning several buildings and interior business spaces throughout downtown. In 2006, Greg and John received the Downtown Eugene Excellence Award, along with Kazem Oveissi, for going above and beyond in advocacy leadership and new investment in the building at One East Broadway.
BUILDING COMMUNITY. Rowell Brokaw Architects deliberately and continuously seeks opportunities to serve small rural communities and non-profit organizations across the state. These groups are often overlooked or under-funded, but this is where thoughtful design can have the greatest impact on the efficiency of buildings and improving the quality of lives. We do visioning and support fundraising to help launch projects, and help smaller communities and non-profits negotiate the challenges of completing a project. For these groups, sustainability is not an abstract concept, but an every-day social and economic necessity. Facilities are almost always secondary to programmatic needs, but the physical environment affects operating cost, staff productivity and an organizations’ ability to carry out its mission. Current and recently completed community projects include the new Relief Nursery building in Springfield, remodels for Head Start of Lane County, a new senior center in Silverton Senior, and small community projects in Jefferson, Harrisburg and Creswell.
SERVING PEOPLE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS. Rowell Brokaw Architects has been a pioneer in designing environments for people with developmental disabilities. For families who have a loved-one with autism, complex medical needs or physical disabilities, sustainability is a daily challenge at the most basic level. For people with disabilities, the physical environment can create opportunities for freedom, choice and independence in everyday life. Our projects seek to better integrate people of all abilities, and to expand opportunities to those who have been left out in the past. Current projects include: Woodmansee South Community, an 18-unit housing project in Salem and the Edwards Center Community, an integrated housing and community center project in Aloha, Oregon.
SUPPORTING RESEARCH. In 2007, Rowell Brokaw Architects established a research fund for graduate architecture students at the University of Oregon to support the investigation of critical questions in architecture and urban planning. Over the past 3 years, the fund has sponsored research on what makes cities vibrant and livable, focusing on multi-family housing and on the formation and evolution of urban districts. Eight graduate students have received fellowships to date. The outcome of the research is made available for public and professional use.
PRACTICING GOOD DESIGN. The core of what we do is listen to our clients and design environmentally responsible buildings that they like and can afford. We have a reputation for diligent research and analysis, creative and responsive design, collaborative process, and meticulous, accountable service. We strive to uncover the critical, unique conditions in each project and to offer thorough, practical, enduring solutions to our clients.
The firm's work has been honored by the local and regional chapters of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and recognized by numerous business and community organizations for excellence in design and planning. Rowell Brokaw Architects received 5 of the 15 Design Awards in the last two AIA Southwest Oregon design awards programs. We have also received regional IIDA/AIA design awards competing at the state level, and received a national Places Planning award in 2006 for the Paleo Project in Fossil, Oregon. In 2008, we completed the first LEED Platinum project in Oregon outside of Portland, and completed a 5 story LEED Gold office building.