PIVOT Principal John Stapleton, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, had an interesting and wide-ranging conversation with KLCC’s host Michael Dunn on the Oregon Rainmakers podcast.
John met Michael in KLCC’s downtown Eugene studio in early October and discussed sustainability, education facility design, and John’s path in design and construction, beginning as a contractor and working toward a career as an architect.
This year’s Fellowship was unique in that it featured not one but two UO MARCH students, Josh Garhofer and Willy Benjamin. Josh and Willy each spent the summer working on research projects and gained hands-on experience working with current PIVOT project teams.
Willy’s project, “Biogenic Materials: Opportunities and Obstacles for Carbon Sequestration in the Building Envelope,” explored the viability of wood fiber, straw, and hemp as alternative options for insulation and wall systems. These biogenic materials have the ability to sequester carbon and reduce the embodied energy of the built environment, which accounts for at least 40% of global annual carbon emissions.
Driven by the climate crisis, Willy set out to explore barriers and opportunities for the implementation of these proven, yet alternative building materials. Willy investigated the materials by interviewing leading professionals all across North America including architects, builders, developers, and policy advocates. Additionally, he studied spaces currently using wood fiber, straw, and hemp as building materials and evaluated a current PIVOT project using computer modeling of biogenic materials to determine the carbon sequestration possibilities.
Willy found that there are great opportunities for products such as Hempcrete, Straw-SIPS, and wood-fiber insulation, concluding that these options are viable substitutes for their more common counterparts. Implementation may mean thicker walls, deeper windows, shorter spans, and deeper eaves, but Willy is hopeful that these building materials will become common place. He plans to continue his research while implementing biogenic materials into his own work.
Josh’s project, “Passive Aggressive House,” took him on a journey all around Eugene and Springfield examining the feasibility of manufactured housing for creating sustainable, affordable, and socially viable housing developments. After receiving a call to action from his HOA protesting plans to develop a mobile home park near his neighborhood, Josh was inspired to study a diverse range of issues concerning mobile home parks and manufactured housing with attention to the influence of their stigma on neighborhoods.
Josh started his project by digging into the different ownership models, policies, and types of manufactured homes. He then visited manufactured housing communities around Eugene and Springfield hoping to better understand the people and the design of these neighborhoods. Josh was amazed by the culture of the places he visited, and concluded that community building is one of the greatest strengths of this housing type.
Overall, Josh’s project worked to dispelled myths around manufactured housing communities, highlighting the importance of site locations with access to transit and amenities, and identified beneficial design patterns and strategies. He found that manufactured housing can truly be affordable housing, but Resident-Owned Cooperatives (ROCs) and non-profits must be the most common ownership models.
The PIVOT Fellowship is a means of fostering original thought about issues outside the daily routine or obvious future trajectory of our firm’s thought process. PIVOT selects fellows based on the nature of their project proposal and other factors. It is a paid position and the term runs from June until September.
The PIVOT Fellowship is open to BARCH, BIARCH, MARCH, and MIARCH students for the summer preceding their final year of study at the University of Oregon. Students are selected following an application process that includes review of the candidates’ proposals for a project of their choice to be executed over the summer of the fellowship.
For more information or to apply for the position, click here.
Larry Banks Stepping Away from PIVOT
After 30 years of guiding some of the firm’s notable projects and leading us with talent, laughter, and humility, Principal Larry Banks has decided to step away from PIVOT Architecture.
His departure comes on the heels of a four-month sabbatical that allowed him to step back from work in order to rest, recharge, and reflect. An outdoor enthusiast, he also spent more than a month hiking and backpacking all over the wildernesses of the West with his dog Rainier. During his time off, he came to many realizations, among which is he needed more time to reflect on what should come next.
He insists he is not retiring but has no immediate plans. So, we expect to see him roaming the wilderness, working on his house, and baking treats!
“I am sincerely grateful to everyone at PIVOT for the opportunity to craft a career practicing architecture as well as building relationships with clients, contractors, consultants, and the broader community,” Larry said. “I feel called to forge a new path, but have not yet discovered where that will lead.”
Soon after graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor’s in Architecture, Larry joined PIVOT in 1993, becoming a principal in 2008. His resume is thick with notable projects including fire stations, public utility campuses, nonprofit renovations, higher ed facilities, and so many more we can’t possibly do his resume justice. For every project, Larry executed the clients’ goals with humility, grace, and quiet confidence.
While he was on sabbatical, the five other PIVOT principals collaborated on Larry’s projects assuring clients their projects were covered. Moving forward, the firm’s 30 architects, designers, and professionals will pick up where Larry left off and ensure continued project success.
“Larry has been a fabulous mentor to so many of us over the years,” said Principal Kari Turner. “His willingness to help and ability to teach the importance of the details have benefited our projects, our clients, and staff alike.”
Larry hasn’t just been a fixture at PIVOT, he has been heavily involved in the Eugene-Springfield community, serving on boards and committees including the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce’s Local Government Affairs Council, Eugene Rotary, the Eugene Education Foundation, Envision Eugene, and more.
“Larry taught me the power of maintaining strong working relationships,” said Principal Toby Barwood. “His good-natured demeanor, and easy, approachable style helped him build trust with clients over the years.”
Larry subscribes to the “don’t sweat the small stuff” philosophy and makes an effort to bring enjoyment on all levels into his projects. He brings design excellence to architecture while also incorporating the appropriate level of empathy, compassion, and laughter—often embracing his inner “Cookie Monster” silly side—into his leadership style.
“We will miss Larry like a child learning to ride a bike misses their training wheels,” Kari said. “We’ll know he’s not there but we’ll ride-on without him, aware of how much we learned with his steady presence.”
Larry doesn’t know what his next steps will be but all of us at PIVOT wish him nothing but the very best and will sorely miss working with, learning from, and being inspired by him. Cheers to the next adventure!
A PIVOT Tour of the YMCA Construction Site
Project Manager Karen Williams and Interior Designer Martha Wassweiler took the PIVOT team on a tour of the Eugene Family YMCA as construction nears completion. The tour provided our team a chance to see how a large-scale, complex project progresses and how our drawings and specs are translated into physical construction.
The translation between what is designed “on paper” and how it is manifested in construction requires extensive coordination, countless hours of on-site collaboration with the construction team, and much, much more.
Fitting a complete tour of the 75,000-SF facility into an hourlong visit wasn’t feasible, so Karen and Martha hit the highlights, imparting lessons learned and practical advice from their real-time experience.
• In the Teen Space, ductwork was arranged around the steel support beams to allow for proper air flow in the space. The positioning of the ductwork was key because it then determined the height of the light fixtures.
• With so many building systems running through the facility, specifying lanes helped the team track the cables and pipes and keep them in an organized fashion.
• With the welcome desk integrated into its surroundings, the design had to be adjusted due to the limitations of the saw-cut concrete grid lines.
The new YMCA remains on schedule and on budget to finish construction in mid-November and open in mid-December.