2017 Diwali Festival Portland, Maine

cofBild Architecture’s Evan, Sasha, and Kavya recently attended the India Association of Maine’s 2017 Diwali Festival. We were inspired by beautiful traditional dress, traditional Indian performance including dance and martial arts, and were completely stuffed with delicious food! Kavya has been deeply involved in the Diwali celebration committee for a few years now.

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Kavya:FB_IMG_1509478301256

Never had I imagined in my life that my training in Architecture, every single lesson learned will come in handy not only for Architecture projects, but the projects not related to architecture at all.

The story goes like this:

Diwali festival (festival of lights) comes once a year around Autumn. India Association of Maine (IAM), which is a non-profit organization run only by volunteers, celebrates this festival in a grand scale by inviting everyone to a social gathering which is a visual treat to watch everyone chatter, laugh, dance, and eat the most delicious homemade food made by the Indian community members.

I was fortunate to be a part of the planning committee at the IAM and I was given a huge responsibility: To paint a backdrop for the stage. The real panic began. I had to paint a larger than life size backdrop; 4 panels measuring 4ftx8ft each.

Design-wise I took an easy route of going symmetrical so that I had to think of only half portion at a time. There are so many shapes geometry offers to designers, but I had to choose a circle infinite, whole, complete. The whole design was an abstract version of Goddess Saraswati – Goddess of education and knowledge, sitting on a lotus, on water with her musical instrument called ‘veena’.

After the initial struggle of drawing a circle almost 7ft in diameter, I had fun breaking all the elements into smaller sections, detail it, get the symmetry right, decide and balance the warm and the cool colors, everything I had learned in my earlier years of architecture.

Fast forwarding to the day of event, the panels were fixed to a wooden framework and my
biggest piece of artwork was shining through. I could not be more proud. I believe that if not for architecture training, I would not have been so successful in making it at all.
The event went smoothly, but, Evan and Sasha joining us with their entire family for the event made it extra special!

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Salvation Army Dining Hall at Portland’s Adult Rehab Facility

cofBild recently attended the dedication of Salvation Army’s new dining hall at the Adult Rehab Facility here in Portland, Maine. Bild was honored to work with the Salvation Army and our many talented sub consultants to bring this project to completion. The men of the ARC were all smiles during the inaugural meal in their own brand new dining hall, complete with a state of the art kitchen, and access to green space in the center of our City.

A big thank you to our hard-working team that brought this project to completion just in time for the dedication ceremony.

Benchmark Construction, General Contractor

Ripcord Engineering, Mechanical Engineering

Structural Integrity Consulting Engineers, Structural Engineering

TJM Consulting, Foodservice Consulting and Design

Swiftcurrent Engineering Services, Electrical Engineering

Walsh Engineering Associates, Civil Engineering

The new ARC Dining Hall was featured in a Portland Press Herald article found here.

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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.

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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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