The American Institute of Architects’ Oregon Design Conference draws national speakers and attendees from across the state.

Ascent Architecture & Interiors’ team of eight architects and designers attended the 2016 American Institute of Architects’ Oregon (AIA-Oregon) Design Conference, held in Gleneden Beach on May 5-7.

The Oregon Design Conference (ODC) is the premier, multiday statewide event dedicated solely to architecture, design and innovation in the built environment. The ODC features nationally and internationally recognized design leaders as speakers and panelists who engage and advance architects’ collective understanding of how design shapes communities and cultures. The event draws architects from leading firms throughout Oregon.

This year, the ODC program focused on four areas:

  • Vision—Defining the current role of design in addressing global challenges and opportunities;
  • Innovation in practice—Technologies, tools and conventions that push the creative process in new directions;
  • Making—The contemporary expression of design and new approaches to materials and methods;
  • Design thinking—Looking for new ways to define questions, solve problems and share that knowledge.
From top left, Ascent design professionals Emily Freed and Sara Bergby join Michelle Anderson and Ascent principal architect Seth Anderson for a stroll on the beach during a break in the 2016 AIA-Oregon Design Conference.

From top left: Ascent design professionals Emily Freed and Sara Bergby join Seth Anderson, principal architect, and his wife, Michelle Anderson, for a stroll on the beach during a break during the 2016 AIA-Oregon Design Conference.

Ascent’s full team of architects, design professionals and interior designers attended ODC, giving them the opportunity to learn from industry leaders and find cutting-edge architectural inspiration.

“We believe in always doing better and improving ourselves professionally,” said Seth Anderson, AIA, Ascent’s principal architect. “We’ve spent the past four years hiring great people, developing our in-house processes and focusing on service, and along the way we’ve secured interesting projects and earned our clients’ trust through good work. Going to the ODC gave us the chance to step away from our to-do lists and immerse ourselves in the details and impact of design for a couple days.”

The conference also gave Ascent’s team members the opportunity to reflect on what each of them as individuals, and the firm as a whole, stand for as designers. The group spent conference down times discussing the presentations and how to integrate what they’d learned into the everyday reality of meeting deadlines and budgets. They also brainstormed how, as an architecture firm, Ascent can lend its collective energy to influence design in Central Oregon and affect positive, community-focused change as the region grows.

“The best part of having the entire team attend ODC was sharing what we learned and how that might apply to what we do in our firm, on our projects and within our community,” said Krista Appleby, AIA, senior project architect at Ascent. “Our conversations were energized and thoughtful. We questioned ideas, talked them out, and discovered new ways of thinking. Everyone’s input was valued and heard, and that’s very important to us. As a group of individuals, we have different levels of experience, backgrounds, interests and perspectives, but when we put those individual perspectives together, it adds to a greater whole. We plan to continue the collaborative dialog now that we’re back at the office as we work together on design solutions and continue to serve our clients and community.”

Featured speakers at ODC included Inga Saffron, architecture critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer; Stephen Van Dyck, partner at Seattle’s LMN Architects; Dan Pitera of the Detroit Collaborative Design Center, University of Detroit; and Eric Karsh, co-founder of Equilibrium Consulting, Inc.

In addition to Appleby and Anderson, Ascent’s attendees included Interior Designer Lynn Baker, NCIQ; Sara Bergby, Assoc. AIA; Emily Freed, design professional; Tia Hanson, design professional; Marco Urieta-Leon, Assoc. AIA;  and Travis Smith, Assoc. AIA.



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