ZGF Architects' next generation

| Print |  Email
Articles - July 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
0711_Tactics_02
0711_Tactics_03
Photos by Justin Tunis
Collectively, these projects target what Packard refers to as “360 degrees of sustainability” — how buildings perform within a neighborhood, how they perform in and of themselves, and how they perform for the user. “If you’re not doing that today, you’re not helping provide solutions that not only your clients, but your clients’ clients are struggling with,” says Packard.

About those fundamentals. Unlike most large firms, ZGF devotes only about 15% of its practice to work overseas, a portfolio that currently includes Beijing Children’s Hospital Leukemia Center and the Da Lian Xinghai Mixed Use Development. “It’s a deliverable strategy,” says Packard. “There was a time when it was not easy to do a level of quality somewhere else in the world that we could be proud of.”

Inside the United States, where the firm has a broad geographic reach, corporate client commissions are increasing as the economy recovers, Packard says. “I wouldn’t have expected this, but they are one of the first users of architecture that have said ‘Let’s get going.’” Still, he adds, the recession has been “dark and scary.” Gross revenues were about $125 million in 2010, down from about $149 million in 2008.  The firm also trimmed staff by 13% — on the low end for architecture firms, says Packard.

With his old-school demeanor, Packard can seem a bit out of place in ZGF’s hyper-cool new offices. Then again, the contrast is an apt symbol for the firm and its ability to evolve broad notions of design. In 1982, Packard co-authored a paper identifying the development potential of the West End district. Thirty years later, Twelve West has not only helped revitalize that neighborhood, now home to the Crystal Hotel and hundreds of new apartments, but it is also about 50% more energy efficient than a typical residential or office tower.

“The world has become very complex,” says Packard. “What for the firm may have started out as one aspect of sustainability is now made up of a multitude of issues.”

Portland journalist and architecture critic Brian Libby contributed to this report.



 

More Articles

Healthcare pullback

News
Thursday, November 20, 2014
112014-boehnercare-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Each month for Oregon Business, we assess factors that are shaping current capital market activity—and what they mean to investors. Here we take a look at two major developments regarding possible rollbacks of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).


Read more...

The Bookseller

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Everyone knows college is expensive, but a look at the numbers brings that into sharp — and painful — focus.


Read more...

Editor's Letter: Power Play

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014

There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:

Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.

The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace. 

Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.

This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay. 

Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.

New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”

That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!

— Linda


Read more...

The short list: Holiday habits of six Oregon CEOs

The Latest
Thursday, December 11, 2014
121214-xmaslist1BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

We ask business and nonprofit leaders how they survive the season.


Read more...

Corner Office: Timothy Mitchell

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

A look-in on the life of Norris & Stevens' president.


Read more...

Free Falling

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, December 18, 2014
121714-oilprice-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR

The implosion of the energy complex: The best thing for low oil prices is low oil prices.


Read more...

I Know How You Feel

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

Most smartphones come equipped with speech recognition systems like Siri or Cortana that are capable of understanding the human voice and putting words into actions. But what if smartphones could do more? What if smartphones could register feeling?


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS