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  • Chris Cook, Capiche

Almeda Fire Opens Minds to New Ideas about Community

With all the post-fire rebuilding underway in the valley, DEI colleague architect Chris Brown says he is excited to be a part of multiple levels of the recovery. The first level is the immediate work needed to get people back into homes and businesses. Next is the longer-term recovery that involves the creation of spaces for residents and businesses to support and encourage a diverse community. Chris’s firm, arkitek: design & architecture, is working on several key projects that will support the area’s long-term recovery. In Ashland, architect Jerome White has been collaborating with OHRA (Options for Helping Residents of Ashland) and ACCESS towards the adaptive re-use of the Super 8 Hotel for shelter and resource assistance for those displaced by the fires and seeking to re-establish residency in the area.

In Phoenix, arkitek is teaming with Soderstrom Architects and ORW Architects on the design of the combined Phoenix Police Department, Fire Station 3, and City Administration (PFA) building for enhanced civic infrastructure. The new facility replaces the Station 3 dormitories that burned and will incorporate the existing apparatus bay, housing ladder trucks, as well as the Police Department and City Administrative functions. The team is currently exploring design options along with funding opportunities on both the state and federal levels.

Two of the most interesting projects that will be a part of Talent’s rebirth are the historic Malmgren Garage and Hanscom Hall, 111 and 201 Talent Ave. Both buildings are owned by Bonnie Morgan, a long-time local resident who desires to maintain their historic integrity while re-building to meet the needs of the 21st century. Malmgren Garage was built in 1925 by early Phoenix physician Theodore Malmgren as an auto repair shop capable of holding 10 vehicles. Bonnie operated her clay store and studio in the space for more than 20 years and received a grant in 2011 for façade improvements. Now, 10 years later and completely gutted by the Almeda Fire, arkitek is working to renew the architectural and historical legacy of the space to offer flexible open-use commercial areas along with renewable energy capabilities. Hanscom Hall, on the Register of National Historic Places, was built in 1906 and survived the fire of 1911. According to the Southern Oregon Historical Society, Horace Hanscom acquired the lot in 1906, evidently with the intent of building a lodge hall. He hired his two sons, Charles and Daniel, to construct the building, which he leased to others for commercial purposes. Used almost continuously as a cafe and confectionery for its first 70 years, the building is one of Talent’s oldest commercial buildings and is the only identified example of false-front wood-frame construction to pre-date the fire of 1911. It is now being designed as a mixed-use facility with residences over the street-level commercial space. For the Malmgren and Hanscom projects, Chris says that arkitek is exploring the use of heavy timber framing—a locally sourced and naturally renewable material. He explains that resilience is key to the building designs. Creating defensible space on the exterior of the structures is also a high priority. With that in mind, Jane Alexander, arkitek’s planning/landscape design manager, is creating water-efficient and firesafe landscapes. This points back to last month’s interview with Chief Charles Handley, Jackson County Fire District #5, who stressed the importance of re-thinking water usage and landscape design to guard against urban fire. Here, I’ll list some resources for people on fire safe landscapes and construction;

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