Monday, June 14, 2010

Marylhurst University from the Air

We have worked for years on the Master Plan for Marylhurst University in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Last year the first two phases of construction were completed. When we started Marylhurst had a stunning campus setting, bounded on the East by the Willamette River and surrounded by lushly vegetated ravines that set it apart as a green Island within a growing suburb. However, despite it's acres of green lawn and beautiful mature trees, it had only one short sidewalk and a critical parking shortage that caused students to race around in their cars looking for a space to park. Unfortunately since there were no sidewalks people were also walking in the same drives and parking lots to get between buildings.

The design problem was how to increase parking and also separate pedestrian circulation without paving over the green campus. As it turned out there was enough "paved surface" to park the cars necessary - it was just poorly utilized and laid out, giving the impression there was no where to park. The parking areas were poorly distributed in terms of the buildings where students were trying to get to class. The changing character of education had also to be taken into consideration with greater use of online classes and less need to be on campus. Public transit was also considered, however, service to this suburban location was slim and the transit agency refused to route buses onto the campus to make it more convenient for students and faculty.

The design solution was to split the main entry road so that parking was better distributed on either side of campus to free the campus interior for pedestrian circulation only. Parking lots were laid out with angled parking, which is faster to get into, and if you found one lot full the exit drive lead you directly into the next lot. The result being that on campus traffic is now dispersed and it takes much less time to find a space and park your car. We also utilized parallel on street parking along the access drives to reduce the amount of paved area and to provide a safety buffer between campus traffic and pedestrian sidewalks.

With half of the Master Plan implemented so far, it is noticeably easier to drive on campus and the ability to walk on campus is greatly enhanced. And while some may lament the loss of green space for new roads, in the end the plan does not significantly increase the amount of paved area that existed before. And there are now stronger pedestrian connections between buildings and new areas for students to congregate outside in the beautiful park like setting.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Hacienda Las Palomas

All Plans ©2010 MCM Architects ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

This plan is a Spanish style villa where simple rooms, long veranda's and courtyards of different sizes are combined into a walled compound where it is difficult to distinguish indoor space from outdoor space. Circulation from one room to another involves traveling through a courtyard. Each courtyard is unique in size or character, each with a different type of water feature and landscape. Each courtyard is a room of it's own.

The courtyards allow every room to be cooled by natural ventilation while at the same time breaking the force of heavy trade winds. The long verandahs and loggias provide shade to also help cool the buildings without having to rely on air conditioning. When air conditioning is used it requires that you be either inside or outside with doors and windows shut. The design concept of this plan is to use natural cooling strategies so the indoor and outdoor rooms (courtyards) function as one building.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sandpines Golf Resort

Sandpines is a dunes type golf course on the Oregon coast in Florence. This design is for a small resort facility made up of 8 for sale Condominium units that can be rented out as 12 Guest Suites. A Spa and Banquet facility supplement the existing Clubhouse.

All Plans © MCM Architects 2010 All Rights Reserved

Each Condominium has two or three bedroom suites plus an adjacent lock-out suite that can be rented separately. Each unit features an entry porch and mud room where guests can change their shoes and store club bags. Each unit also has an open main living area with kitchen and wrap around dining banquet. All this opens onto a glass screened patio. All the bedroom suites have full width windows facing the golf course and ocean beyond, plus spa type bathrooms with showers and soaking tubs. Cart paths connect each unit to the course and clubhouse.

The buildings have been designed to echo the undulating dunes with one, two and three story sections placed in a staggered linear string along the first fairway. The impact on the rolling dune site was kept minimal by closely attaching the units in a meandering line for the smallest footprint possible.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Marysville School Park from the Air

Photos by Skyshots

Marysville School Park was a Pro Bono project done by MCM Architects last year. Marysville School unfortunately burned three weeks after the Park's grand opening. The Park has now been reopened to the neighborhood after being fenced off due to the fire. The school district has decided to rebuild Marysville School -- so eventually the children will be able to return to the park and playground that we worked so hard to get built for them.

Click here to see the Park's design description.