Hammer & Hand (H&H), widely known throughout Portland and the greater Pacific Northwest as a leader of craft, quality, and service, is also at the national forefront of sustainable building, particularly with regard to Passive House and Net Zero. In December 2015, FFA was invited to submit a design proposal for the company’s new Portland offices and workshop. H&H purchased the Cline Glass Building (c. 1913) in Portland’s rapidly emerging Central Eastside neighborhood. Through a series of in-house design and eco-charettes, FFA explored design options that would anchor the existing building to its site while creating a beacon for the burgeoning neighborhood along Grand Avenue.
FFA’s design was developed with the intent of integrating the key elements of H&H’s brand, core philosophy, sustainability, and adaptive re-use in a way that exemplifies the company and its creative workforce. Wood is the material that Hammer & Hand is best known for and that, through the act of carving, strongly demonstrates its value of craft. This line of thought became the framing concept for FFA’s design. Carve-outs in the structure frame views, create a billboard for the building, and allow controlled natural light to reach deep into the interior spaces. They connect the upper portion of the building to the street. On top, the block is carved to create a sawtooth roof, a form that derives from traditional industrial architecture and lends to the incorporation of photovoltaic and north facing light monitors.
Work stations are open and light-filled, inspiring collaboration among project teams and fostering creativity. The interior’s connection to the vibrant neighborhood outside serves to unite the occupants with their surroundings, and provides a strong sense of place. The central interior space, a flexible area for meetings, lunch breaks, or larger presentations, is thought of as a ‘Lumber Yard.’ Much like the lumber on racks in H&H’s wood shop, the Lumber Yard is composed of varying dimensions and species of lumber arranged below a central atrium space.
EXPRESSION OF MAKING
Exterior massing, along with thoughtful craft demonstrated within the details, illustrates this concept from the outside-in. The main workshop is located in a prominent position along Grand Avenue with sliding wood and glass partitions that allow it to open to the sidewalk and showcase the ‘making’ occurring within.
Wood is the material that Hammer & Hand is best known for and a material that, through the act of carving, strongly demonstrates its value of craft. This line of thought became the framing concept for the design. The block is carved to bring in natural light and to create spatial opportunities for opening out onto the City of Portland.