Have you met Kavya?

Written by Kavya

Kavya“It doesn’t matter what you had in the past, all that matters is what you choose to be now” from the movie Kungfu Panda is the single most quote that dictates the journey of my life, India to Maine.

Growing up in a family where my mother being an artist and father being a civil engineer, becoming an Architect came naturally to me. The interest in building construction developed in a very early age with my father taking us to every single site of his projects and showing us around explaining to us how it’s made. Over the years, it grew into my passion, and later into my profession. Taking up architecture was an easy choice, and practicing was even more easy.

And then I moved to Maine.

All those years of education and experience in Brick and Mortar, Steel and Concrete construction, had nothing to do with a city filled with wooden construction. With the knowledge only in designing, and a set of software skills, I walked into Bild Architecture. Evan has been my mentor ever since. He taught me so much about construction techniques, materials, practices, answered patiently to all of my queries, helped me gain some practical experience, pushed me out of my comfort zone to try and learn something new every single day. There is still so much more to learn. I am very thankful for all these opportunities life presents to me.

What I was in the past doesn’t matter. What I am now matters.

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Bild Enters “Bayside Rises” in Design Competition

Written by Audra Wrigley

R04Bild Architecture recently developed and submitted a design concept as a response to the Bayside Adapts Design Challenge. The purpose of the challenge was to propose creative approaches for addressing sea level rise in the Bayside neighborhood of Portland, Maine. Submission requirements included the establishment of a climate change scenario stating the time frame and projected sea level rise as a benchmark for the design, a clear description of the design concept, and supporting graphics.

Bild’s climate change scenario projected a 6 foot rise by 2100, with a deadline of 2060 for installing the proposed infrastructure. The design concept focused around the addition of a canal that would be utilized to drain the neighborhood from frequent flooding. The plan also proposed for I-295 to be decommissioned as a highway and to be converted to a multi-model avenue at the same elevation. The converted road would be used as a levee against future sea-level rise and would allow the new urban road to be the future commercial waterfront of Portland. As sea-level rises beyond the design scenario, the City would have the option to allow water to rise in Back Cove or to construct flood gates at the location of Tukey’s Bridge, making Back Cove a protected harbor.

bayside adapts planRecreational uses and property value were the center of thinking on this plan. The canal, would create a draw for a new pedestrian element in the city and would spur the construction of buildings along the canal, as well as serve as a recreational “green belt” increasing pedestrian connectivity between Deering Oaks Park and the Eastern Promenade.

Teams who submitted design entries included mbla & Canal 5 Studio, Aceto Landscape Architects, Alyssa Phanitdasack, Bild Architecture, and Soren Deniord Design Studio & Kaplan Thomspon Architects.

The submissions to the Design Challenge will be displayed for public viewing on May 3 at the Rines Auditorium in the Portland Public Library, and the winning submission will be awarded at 7:30 PM that evening. More information about the event may be found here.

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Bild, Aceto, and Ron Gan Create a Vision for Riverside Innovation

8 copyBild Architecture and Aceto Landscape Architects were engaged by local developer Ron Gan to help vision an underutilized site in Portland’s Riverside neighborhood. Gan plans to transform a large parcel of open land, creating a dynamic live/work environment. Riverside Innovation would include two-story live/work units, an on-site brewery, restaurant, and a botanical garden. Bild’s Evan Carroll gave comment in a recent Bangor Daily News Article. Portland Press Herald also picked up the story! There is also a Facebook page here.

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Field Trip to Two Lights State Park

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We have had some beautiful weather here in Portland, Maine this past week. Bild took the opportunity to get out of the office on a field trip to Two Lights State Park. Armed with snacks, cameras, and kids, we enjoyed 70+ degree temps, full sunshine and the occasional rogue wave.

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Celebrating International Woman’s Day: The Challenges of a Woman in Architecture

InternationalWomensDay-portraitWritten by Audra Wrigley 

Today is International Women’s Day, and to mark the occasion, I wanted to share some of my experiences as a women in the field of architecture. I was raised by extremely tolerant parents who always told me that I could be anything that I set my mind to.  Therefore, it was no surprise when I decided at a young age that I wanted to be an architect. At the time I made this decision, I essentially lived in a vacuum with no sense of the gender inequality awaiting me in the real world.

My first experience of gender discrimination as it pertained to architecture actually occurred when I was only a junior in high school. Architecture had stirred my interest years prior, and I was in the process of applying to architecture schools. I was enrolled in an introduction to architecture course consisting of a semester of design, drawing, and physically modeling a residential home. I was one of only two women in the class, and one day the other girl was having some difficulty constructing the roof of her model. She called over the teacher for assistance, and I overheard him say to her “this is why women shouldn’t be architects”. I am still amazed that in 2004, these words could be uttered by a person responsible for shaping young minds.

Despite my teacher’s declaration, I went on to receive two degrees in architecture before beginning my professional career at an architecture firm. Once again, I found myself faced by the glaring gender disparities of the workforce. Often I would be the only woman in the room, but it would feel like I was either totally invisible or had a spotlight shining directly on me. Unfortunately, I can’t say that these feelings have completely diminished as my experience grows. I still find that some men avoid shaking my hand upon greeting and appear to not be listening when I speak. I also can’t avoid stepping onto a job site without feeling workers’ eyes burning a hole through my back. I know that these occurrences are not unique to female architects, but the under-representation of women in architecture only acts to perpetuate this gender bias.

I recently gave birth to my first child and returned back to the work force. While I am aware that it will be challenging to meet the demands of my chosen career while adjusting to my new role as a mother, it is critical to me to keep advancing my architectural career. Today and every day I stand in solidarity with my architect sisters. Together we can bridge the gap, shatter the glass ceiling, and shape the world!  

As of 2013, only 43% of U.S. students enrolled in accredited architecture programs were female, according to the National Architectural Accrediting Board. When it comes to practicing, licensed female architects, this number drops down to 18% women. Not only are more men architects than women, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, female architects earn 20% less than male architects.

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Bild Judges Pie Tasting Competition

2016-11-22-16-10-32Hall Internet Marketing enlisted the services of the Bild office to judge their annual Thanksgiving pie competition. The stakes were high. Judges Eric and Evan of Bild Architecture, four year old Jesse and Bild office-mate Peter Bass of Random Orbit Inc. sampled the 6 pies including Pumpkin, three different takes on Apple, a Blueberry Chiffon and Sour Cream Raisin. After careful deliberation the winning pie was a Cranberry Caramel Apple. It was chosen because the sweet and tart flavors were perfectly balanced and had a perfect crust. It was a close call though, our judges enjoyed the taste and uniqueness of the Sour Cream Raisin as a very close second place.

Thank you to Hall Internet Marketing for including our esteemed panel of judges!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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PSA’s Drink N’ Crit

Written by Eric Wittman

As an architect new to the Portland area, I was extremely excited to attend the Portland Society for Architecture’s “Drink n Crit” held on September 7th.  This event featured the “Visioning Growth” charrette teams presenting their concepts for the city’s future as it becomes a city of 75,000. Not only did this give me a quick education on the problems and issues facing my new home, but it was a great opportunity to mingle with other architects, engineers, planners and other people entertained by city planning; a group my fiancée reminds me is a small and unique collection of people.  Going early to Space Gallery, where the event was held, allowed me to check out the teams’ work before the “crit” actually started.  Pinned up on the gallery walls were several maps of Portland overlaid with radiating circles, colored zones and highlighted nodes.


As I walked around the room studying the various maps, I was intrigued by the shape of Portland and its natural barriers.  Being born and raised in Wichita Kansas, a typical mid-western city, with its perfectly placed north and south grid, the map of Portland is still curious to me.  Wichita, with no natural barriers, can expand easily as its population grows, but I was interested to learn how Portland, wedged between neighboring cities and the coastline, with no room to sprawl, would handle growth.

As the teams presented their ideas it was easy to see, this was one of the main concerns they all were focused on. How can a city grow when there’s no place to expand? Naturally the answer is for the city to get denser, but where?  What areas of town are more suited, or have the potential, to handle more density.  One team presented the idea of developing preexisting nodes which can already be found throughout the city, encouraging more density and larger buildings along the cities arterial roads where infrastructure already exist.  This solution would allow the entire city to grow and not just the downtown core. Another team suggested developing an entire section of town near the union station shopping center along St. John Street; infilling existing gaps in its urban fabric with new commercial and retail buildings, anchored by a large scale hospitality building. This development could also help the community engage more with the natural beauty of the Western Promenade.  One of the more extreme ideas was presented by a team suggesting 295 be converted into a boulevard as it cuts across the peninsula, undoing a mid-century mistake of dividing the city.  Wide areas through town, currently unusable because of the elevated highway, would now be open for development, creating a new iconic urban pathway for the city while at the same time stitching back together old neighborhoods torn apart long ago.

sept-2016-crit-fup-pic03-300x300Besides determining where future growth in Portland could happen, the teams also mentioned other issues the city has; the separation of the peninsula from the rest of the city, the traffic, keeping the identity of neighborhoods, connecting USM more into the city and designing a city for both tourists and locals.  Hearing all these concerns, helped me understand my new city more and made me feel more like a true citizen of Portland. The evening partially felt like a crash course on the city’s history, learning why certain areas had developed and looked the way they did. However most of the night was devoted to seeing a glimpse of Portland’s possible future.   As cities everywhere continue to see more interest in different generations of people tiring of the suburbs and moving to urban areas, problems for our communities will only continue to develop and change.  The “Drink n Crit” event made me thankful there are talented, energetic, passionate and creative minds in this city that will help guide our community into a promising future.

All the teams had wonderful ideas and I can’t wait to see them developed further.  All of this work leads up to a follow-up to 2015’s Challenge of Change titled: “The New Allure of the City (and Some Unanticipated Consequences.)” This lecture is a partnership between: Portland Society for Architecture, Creative Portland, University of New England, University of Southern Maine, and The Chamber of Commerce.  It will feature a lecture by Alex Krieger FAIA a founding Principal of Chan Krieger NBBJ and take place on October 25th at Portland High School.

More information on the lecture here: http://www.une.edu/calendar/2016/new-allure-city-and-some-unanticipated-consequences

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Bild Attends Two Multi-Family Passive House Tours

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In the past week, I have been fortunate enough to tour two of the largest Passive House projects in North America. The first tour, organized by passivhausMAINE, was of Bayside Anchor located in our back yard of Portland, Maine. The building was designed by Kaplan Thompson Architects and is currently being constructed by Wright-Ryan Construction. The project is a collaboration between Avesta Housing and the Portland Housing Authority. The 45-unit building will contain affordable multi-family housing, Portland Housing Authority offices, a Head Start program, and a police substation. The goal of the project is to obtain Passive House Institute US (PHIUS+) certification.

Village Centre

The second tour attended, which was organized by GrowSmart Maine, is the newly completed Village Centre project located in Brewer, Maine. This project was delivered through a public-private partnership between Community Housing of Maine (CHOM), the City of Brewer, and their business partners. This 48-unit multi-family housing project was also constructed by Wright-Ryan Construction. CWS Architects acted as the design lead for this project. This project was also built to Passive House Institute US (PHIUS+) Standards.

As someone who has undergone the PHIUS Certified Passive House Consultant training, as well as assisting with the mechanical design for the Bayside Anchor project, it was fascinating to learn more about the different dynamics and challenges of each project. For example, both projects were under extremely tight financial constraints which resulted in a reduction of floor to floor heights during the design process. I can recall firsthand the impact that this reduction had on the space for mechanical services such as ductwork on the Bayside Anchor project. As I walked through the Village Centre building, it was interesting to see that this project team had run into similar challenges and to compare the elegant approaches used to conceal these services.

I came away from these tours with a renewed excitement for Passive House construction, as well as with a lot of pride in our State for embracing the rigorous challenges of PHIUS+ certification. As more of these large scale projects get constructed in Maine, it is exciting to see the Passive House movement growing not only among designers and builders, but developers and municipalities as well.

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Evan finds inspiration in the windy city.

Last month I had the opportunity to explore the Chicago Loop and a few surrounding neighborhoods for the first time. Chicago made quite the impression on me.

Marina City

Marina City

Seeing the buildings downtown brought back all I had learned about the evolution of high-rises back in architecture school. I saw the whole spectrum of history, from the Monadnock Building (the tallest building built without steel) to the famous Marina City and John Hancock Center to the shiny and new Trump Tower.

Having returned home, I find myself still thinking about all of the stone and terra cotta ornamentation that I saw. The terra cotta is a great example of the “material of the times,” and it’s prevalent use can be attributed to the need for fire protection and the availability of clay and labor. As beautiful as the terra cotta is, it’s a mass produced product.

Terra cotta facade

Terra cotta facade

Stone engraving

Stone engraving

Stone engraving

Stone engraving

FLW Studio Sign

FLW Studio Sign

I also had a chance to go out to Oak Park and see some of Frank Lloyd Wright’s work, which was a true pleasure. I could see the influence of Wright and Lewis Sullivan (his mentor) throughout Chicago.


Arthur Heurtley House

Arthur Heurtley House

Detail of Nathan Grier Moore House

Detail of Nathan Grier Moore House

Of course Mies Van Der Rohe had a huge influence in Chicago as well:

Kluczynski Federal Building

Kluczynski Federal Building

I was also struck by the amount of money and Power in Chicago. This project appeared to be an abandoned pedestrian bridge that easily cost millions of dollars.

Bridge to nowhere.

Bridge to nowhere.

Lastly, while in the Windy City I visited the neighborhood where my grandfather grew up. This is me on the front steps of one of the apartment buildings he lived in.

My grandfather's home.

My grandfather’s home.

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Audra Wrigley to manage Salvation Army Dining Hall project

SA View #1 - low resIn early 2015, The Salvation Army approached Bild Architecture to design a 4,000 square foot dining hall addition to serve their Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) located on Preble Street in Portland, Maine. The addition would replace the existing outdated dining space located on the third floor of the facility, and the existing dining space would be divided and converted into a community room and a two-bedroom apartment to be utilized by Salvation Army commanders.

Portland’s Adult Rehabilitation Center houses 70 male residents at a time, with the purpose of assisting the men to recover and reintegrate with their communities through work therapy, counseling, and spiritual guidance.

SA View #2 - low resMultiple locations on the ARC site were considered before settling on the corner of Preble and Lancaster streets. This location takes advantage of the existing thrift store parking lot, which is no longer in use since the thrift store has been closed. This location provides a large outdoor space to be revitalized into a privately screened court yard and picnic area acting as an outside extension of the dining hall.

The proposed design for the dining hall addition will be integrated into the first floor of the existing building while maintaining the current security requirements of the ARC. In light the security requirements of the ARC, the challenge arose of how to engage the surrounding urban environment along Lancaster and Preble Streets. This engagement was achieved through varying fenestration and building materials, as well as the inclusion of an accessible entry at the corner of the two streets.

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