Skylab Architecture

Skylab Architecture

Portland, OR


The N M Bodecker Foundation

The NM Bodecker Foundation is a creative house balancing both natural and built environments. At its core, this project aims to inspire action and activity. With a series of informal performance spaces, an indoor skate park, and an outdoor fire pit. This unique environment inspires meaningful places to share open creative dialogue which is at the heart of why the Bodecker Foundation was built. 

One key project goal by the owner was to inspire “the openness to learn and find the unlimited curiosity you once had when you were a kid”, which, unfortunately, for many people, is lost as they grow older. As this concept informed the program, it also became the challenge; how to build a multi-use creative space in urban NW Portland. Another part of the project programming goal was to have music at the heart of the space where bands/musicians/singers can play, practice, and record. The architectural tectonic design challenge was how to form a singular new building while retaining the memory of the former historic boundaries. Two existing warehouses and a parking lot were combined and integrated into an exterior and interior environment. Inspired in part by methods in Gordon Matta Clark’s “Building Cuts”, the two existing warehouses on the site were cut into and modified while retaining the memory of their historic boundaries. Peeling back the roof of one and slicing the other, the warehouses were remixed and fused together with a new central core building. This solution blends the past with the future and the interplay of interior spaces play out thru editing the existing buildings thus creating new forms and relationships that emerge from the existing structures.  

The collage of activities intersect and overlap to inspire a passion for collection, making, and playing. By developing the program around these ideas, a new multi-story central structure emerged at the core with a music studio at the foundation. The main environments open up to each other at the ground floor with places to make art, record music, perform, and skate. The artist in residence living spaces are stacked above overlooking but still connected. 
With the program in place, building a non-profit creative house that would generate enough sustainable revenue became the business challenge. Covering costs of running and maintaining the space, in addition to donating to three charities “The Children’s Cancer Association, The Cathy Freeman Foundation for Aboriginal Youth Education and TBD local kids creative charity” was a priority. The music studio at the heart of the project has become a revenue generator, streaming supporting bands, musicians, and singers to play, practice and record. Additionally, the meeting spaces and skate bowl offer a venue that can be rented for special events further supporting and activating this house for making.

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Status: Built
Location: Portland, OR, US
Firm Role: Architect, Interior Designer, and Construction
Additional Credits: Studio, Landscape Architect

The N M Bodecker Drone