PSU ARCHITECTURE THESIS / 2016
River Craft seeks to support existing maker communities in the larger Portland Metro area. The central city core is undergoing a process of densification. The squeeze is being felt by smaller makers, artists, and small startup businesses that can no longer afford to live and work in inner SE Portland. Large warehouses, once used by makers due to their affordability, are being demolished and repurposed to suit the needs of an engendered community. The typical American garage, found in many single-family residences, no longer has a place in this dense urban fabric. Many entrepreneurial businesses and maker studios originated in such spaces. These old warehouses and garages are disappearing, causing a rift in Portland’s city fabric.
Our local craft makers are being forced to relocate to the fringes of the city, where they can find more affordable space to make. The Willamette River has provided a connection between people in this valley for thousands of years. Can it still do this today, or is this just a notion of the past?
The craft of architecture can help answer this question. Through drawings and research, and by engaging communities of makers along the Willamette River, my thesis has deposited a new layer of architectural sediment. This thesis asks the question:
How can architecture facilitate the creation of a network of craft makers, along the Willamette River, that cultivates and connects industrial land, human activity, art, culture, and craft?