2012 People’s Choice Award (Commercial)

1st place, commercial category
Featuring: Hummingbird Wholesale

In this competition which takes place annually during the Eugene Celebration weekend, local architects and landscape architects present their featured projects in various categories, and the citizens of Eugene cast their vote for the best project in each category.



Hummingbird in the Stellaria Building
150 Shelton-McMurphey Blvd, Eugene

Lichen Yew, LLC

Nir Pearlson Architect, Inc.:
Nir Pearlson, Rachel Auerbach, Ryan Rojas

Goebel Engineering & Surveying, Inc.

Landcurrent Landscape Architecture

Pioneer Engineering and JKN Engineering

Paradigm Engineering

Paddock Masonry, Inc.

Innovative Air, Inc.

Hawks Plumbing, Inc.

JND Fire Sprinklers, Inc.

Energy Design with Sunstone Solar

Day One Design


• Transform a 24,000 SF, 1950’s warehouse into a 38,000 SF, multi-tenant, mixed-use building.
• Create a model of resource reuse and stewardship.


• Reveal the building’s barn-spirit by removing layers of industrialization from the site.
• Create an iconic, utilitarian structure where food-crops are processed and distributed to sustain human life.
• Replace existing paving with gardens around the building.
• Peel and lift the industrial metal skin to form sheltering canopies marking the building openings.
• Soften the entry walls to echo the earthen warmth of fields.
• Add a partial second floor to create space for offices, manufacturing, warehouses, food production, and retail.
• Support a diverse family of tenants providing services, specialty products, and organic food.


Reclamation: Inserting the second floor below the existing timber trusses allowed the building structure to remain in place. Old metal siding panels, wood boards, and concrete sections found new purposes and uses on-site.

Envelope: New high-density insulation in the thickened walls and roof far exceed code minimums. A strawbale wall finished with earthen plaster and rough wood elements fronts Hummingbird’s lobby.

Daylighting: Abundant daylight pours deep into offices and warehouses via new windows, transoms, clerestories, and skylights – some of which reach the first floor via reflective light-shafts.

Energy Conservation: High-efficiency zoned mechanical systems utilize ground and air-source heat pumps, and upgraded lighting controls include zoning, dimming, and occupancy sensors. Electricity, natural gas, and hot and cold water are all metered in-house, allowing tenants to track usage via a digital network and optimize their energy-use trends.

Energy Harvest: Roof and canopy-mounted solar PV arrays offset electrical loads. A thermal solar array pre-heats the central hot water loop and the radiant slab under Hummingbird’s Honey Warmer. Excess heat from food dryers supplements winter heating in production areas.

Storm Water Management: A planted bio-swale for storm run-off infiltrates water on-site and irrigates the landscape.


Elements Acupuncture and Wellness
Eliel Fionn’s Felties & Consultations
Healthy Democracy Fund
Healing Scapes Ayurveda
Hummingbird Wholesale
Incubator Kitchen
Inner Sight
Lane County Farmer’s Market
Mark Donahue Rolfing
Momentum Therapies
Not Your Mom’s Sandwich Shop
Rolf Prima
Rural Development Initiatives
Well Balanced Acupuncture
Willamette Farm and Food Coalition

Museum Fine Fit for Post Office

Bob Hart, executive director of the Lane County Historical Society, could double as actor Richard Dreyfuss, but, in terms of public regard, Rodney Dangerfield might be the better fit for museum folks such as him.

They get no respect — historically speaking, that is.

In 1937, the museum was promised downtown Eugene’s old post office building, but then along came a war, and the government needed the space, which it rented until 1957, at which point the building was torn down.

When Hart took the historical society reins in 2003, the museum at the Lane Events Center already was so run down that he found a salamander living beneath a catch basin used for the leaky roof.

And the Lane County commissioners’ unanimous vote in March to support moving the museum off the fairground property was one of those good news/bad news deals; nice that they granted the society’s desires to relocate, but telling that nobody thought the museum had a future at the fairgrounds.

I mean, come on, when does this discordant bunch vote 5-0 on anything?

All of which brings me to my tour Monday of the for-sale downtown post office as a possible future home for the historical museum.

Frankly, it would be a beautiful fit, a way to literally meld history with history while serving it up to the public with a bit more panache.

“It’s really our best shot,” says Hart, who also is director of the museum.

The New Museum Committee also is considering a new building as part of the Eugene Water & Electric Board’s Riverfront Master Plan. But Hart prefers the post office location at Willamette Street and West Fifth Avenue. Why?

Location. “It’s on the most historically intact block in the city,” Hart says. “We could get some foot traffic.”

Size. At 28,500 feet, it would more than double the museum’s current location, where the building is wedged, like an afterthought, between the Lane Events Center’s massive main building and a parking lot.

Climate control. The current museum, built in 1951 with an expansion in 1959, leans to the cool and damp side, Hart says, even if the roof was replaced after he arrived in 2003.

Ambiance. The old post office isn’t the Louvre, but it has high ceilings, marble, artsy moulding and, of course, the 1940s Oregon-esque murals by Portland artist Carl Morris. And, at 72 years old, it has a bit of history itself.

“We’d be preserving a building that deserves preserving,” Hart says, pointing out that the post office is the oldest brick building in Eugene.

“It’s a starting point for making a beautiful place where people can come to get excited about the history of their county,” says Rachel Auerbach, a designer with Nir Pearlson Architecture Inc., who along with firm namesake Nir Pearlson led Monday’s tour by 18 people.

Imagine a building that maintains its own historic personality but allows for ways to showcase the county’s past at the same time. On the north side, a cafe and gift shop; on the south, a floor-level extension featuring the 1853 “Clerk’s Building,” the oldest structure in Lane County.

Imagine two floors. A library upstairs. And a mezzanine level wrapped around a sort of “grand room” first-floor for major exhibits.

“We want to protect the historical elements of the building,” says architect Pearlson, whose firm has done a “preconceptual” design. “I see taking marble from the bathrooms and using it other places, incorporating some of these historic mailboxes in our cloak room.”

A move to the new location, of course, is a huge financial undertaking; the government wants $2.5 million for the property. The cost to convert the building to its new use is expected to be in the $3.5 million range. And a move necessitates other costs.

Those are big numbers for a museum that pays a $1-a-year lease to the county and operates on a $225,000 annual budget funded by a sliver of transient-tax revenues. And you wouldn’t expect the county to roll up its sleeves too far on this one.

But the post office building won’t even be available for three to five years, which, Hart figures, allows plenty of time for running a capital campaign and seeking grants. And that’s still sooner than a building would get done as part of the riverfront plan.

“We have a lot of work to do,” says Alice Parman, historical society board member and museum consultant. “We’ve got to get museums on people’s radar.”

Hart has taken steps to doing that; he understands that history isn’t just a covered wagon, but might be a blog site for the museum’s recent Tie Dye & Tofu Exhibit. That’s good.

And so would moving the museum to the old post office to better connect people to their own pasts and to give that history the respect it deserves.

“When you understand a place,” says Jim Giustina, head of the historical society board, “you’re more likely to invest in it.”

Likewise, when you invest in it, you’re more likely to understand it.

So, let’s make history. Let’s go postal.

New Digs for Food Wholesaler

The grass may always be greener on the other side of the fence, but, for Hummingbird Wholesale, so is the building.

The seven-year-old, Eugene-based organic bulk food distributor is putting the finishing touches on its new digs: A completely renovated 36,000-square-foot warehouse about two blocks away from its old location at 254 Lincoln St.

Not long ago, the monolithic corrugated metal structure was poorly insulated, sported green paint and few windows, had 24,000 square feet of floor space on a single floor and housed Down to Earth, a local home and garden goods retailer and distributor.

Now the former warehouse — bought for $1.39 million last August — is two stories, “barn red,” fully insulated with rows of windows and rife with sustainable materials and hardware. Blueprints allot the company 19,000 square feet of floor space, while tenants and community areas will make up the rest.

Hummingbird’s owners, Charlie and Julie Tilt, hope to move their headquarters to the new site at 150 Shelton-McMurphey Blvd. by late September.

Averaging 20 percent growth a year, the 6,900-square-foot building the company now occupies has begun to stretch at the seams.

“We are out of room,” Charlie Tilt said. “The timing couldn’t be better.”

In anticipation of the move, Hummingbird has already hired three new full-time and one part-time employees. This puts the growing business’ work force at 29, including two owners and six part-timers. Tilt said the company will also likely need two more full-time employees in the coming year.

Before the roughly $1.5 million renovation began in January, Tilt envisioned the building as a comfortable, communal space.

“The philosophy I brought to it is to create a space where I would want to be,” Tilt said. “The building is designed to create interaction.”

And with its community meeting rooms, shared kitchen and bathrooms, large windows and skylights and wide hallways all starting to take shape, the renovation reflects this ideal.

The owner even has plans to host a farmer’s market under the front awning.

“It’s an opportunity to make a better life for all of us and to have good food to eat,” he said. “This building represents that we are sharing something.”

The building will include manufacturing, storage, office and retail space.

The Tilts have lined up two confirmed tenants so far — Rolf Prima, a performance bicycle wheel manufacturer, and Not Your Mom’s Sandwich Shop.

The warehouse still has about 3,000 square feet of unleased tenant space upstairs and 1,400 square feet downstairs, for which Hummingbird is considering prospective tenants.

Nir Pearlson, the project’s architect, said that although he worked many sustainable construction practices into its design, he mainly focused on how employees and customers would interact with the building.

“We wanted to create a space where people come to work whistling in the morning,” Pearlson said.

Even so, the warehouse is still well on its way to looking — in the architect’s words — “organic.” The front entrance to Hummingbird’s section of the building will have a straw bale wall, and the interior’s finished wood beams and floor planks will be left uncovered.

On the second story, walls have been built around the warehouse’s original truss rods, now exposed 7 feet from the floor.

“You can really see how the building is built,” Pearlson said. “It’s an architectural notion of keeping it exposed and expressed, and really celebrating it, of not concealing anything.”

Concrete cut out from the old warehouse floor will be integrated into its perimeter of garden beds and retaining walls.

Employees will also have access to communal showers as an incentive to bike to work.

The roof will be lined with photovoltaic solar cells and hot water panels, both of which, Tilt said, will pay for themselves in less than five years if tax breaks are included.

Similarly, the added insulation has an approximate payoff period of 15 to 20 years.

The building’s backup power generators can run on biodiesel made from in-house food waste.

Tenants will have individual electricity, gas and water meters — an incentive to conserve energy — and will share in the benefit from the building’s energy saving features.

As the growing season comes to an end, pallets of Oregon and California grown grains and nuts will soon be forked through loading docks on the warehouse’s south end and divided into smaller portions in Hummingbird’s production room.

Cool 55-gallon drums of Willamette Valley honey will be placed in Hummingbird’s honey-warming room to become less viscous before being divvied up into small containers. Blueprints call for the room to be warmed by solar-heated water pumped through looped hoses in its cement floor.

Across the hall, an industrial-strength granola dehydrator will be equipped with energy-saving heat recovery ventilation to transfer heat between outgoing warm and incoming cold air.

The Kiva Gets a Facelift

A local Eugene institution is getting its first major face-lift. Open for more than 40 years, The Kiva grocery store has served Eugene residents at the corner of 11th and Olive with the idea that everything they sell is healthy and organic. Locally owned and operated since its inception, The Kiva has resided at it’s current location since 1983 and if you’ve been in there, you know the space is certainly quaint.

But what they lack in size they make up for in charm. If you’ve ever wanted to know the name of which cow produced your milk or the farm that your tomatoes were grown, The Kiva will tell you. Everyday is casual Friday for their employees and despite only four aisles, the store stocks plenty of meat, produce and wine. The size of the store does factor into the changes being made, but according to owner Melissa Brown, most of the work will be done around the confines of the shopping area.

“We’re so limited in this tight little space so we’re not doing anything inside. It’s mostly about trying to rework the existing space and replace some aging equipment that’s less efficient,” said Brown.

The major changes to the store will be done on the exterior and will consist of three phases. Phase one will be adding a large window on the south side of the building facing 11th street. That side will also be the location of a new deli area with a walk-up window as well as a covered seating area with tables and chairs for customers.

“The Kiva right now has only a front door and a couple of windows next to it and that’s really all that you can see of it so we definitely wanted to open it up and create more of a connection between the outside and inside so there’s a bit more of a celebration of what’s happening inside that’s expressed on the outside,” said Nir Pearlson, architect for the project.

The part of the design that will occur inside is phase two. The store will be getting new walk-in coolers, equipment changes in the kitchen and new bathrooms. It was important to Melissa that they not make drastic changes that would somehow alter the existing shopping experience.

“We wanted to maintain the same atmosphere. We wanted to make quality improvements on things like windows and doors, but we’re not looking to rebrand or anything. We just want to do what we do a little better.”

Pearlson also faced challenges in balancing changes that were to be made while also maintaining the existing feel of the store.

“Whatever we touch we have to make sure it’s better than when we started. Overall it will actually improve the integrity of the building. It’s a box and how do we shuffle things within the box? With whatever you move there’s going to be certain dimensions and then there’s the aisles that need to be kept a certain way so we couldn’t radically alter the organization of the store. Within the puzzle I think we did as best we could.”

Brown is optimistic that the first two phases will be done in early August. The final s section of the project will be to the exterior of the building out front.

“There’s a design for the sign out front. Right now we’re focusing on the south side wall and seating area. There is a design for the front entry and the awning. Whether we’ll get to it or not and when we’ll get to it I’m not sure. But there’s definitely consideration for changing that as well,” said Pearlson.

But the priority is to finish the first two phases. Work has already begun on the large window and deli area and despite the construction, the store has remained open. Melissa is hopeful the changes will not interfere with the day-to-day operations of the store.

“We’re probably going to have two days where we’ll have to close but we’re trying to close as little as possible for financial reasons,” said Brown.

Melissa is targeting August eighth and ninth as the days for the large reset (phase one and two) to be finished assuming everything continues as planned. Throughout the entire process of remodeling, Melissa has heard positive feedback from customers and she hopes the changes lead to a better shopping experience.

“It’s been a long process so we’re eager now that we’re actually in it to get it done. We’re excited to have improvements like more natural light in the store. Everyone, customers and employees should be able to function better in the space once it’s completed.”

But for now The Kiva operates as if nothing is changing. After 40 years in business, the place deserves a few upgrades.

2009 People’s Choice Award (Commercial)

1st place, commercial category Featuring: Duvall Law Offices

In this competition which takes place annually during the Eugene Celebration weekend, local architects and landscape architects present their featured projects in various categories, and the citizens of Eugene cast their vote for the best project in each category.




Duvall Building Law Offices
856 Olive Street, Eugene


Nir Pearlson Architect, Inc.


Artisan Engineering


Schar Construction


Transform a 100-year-old downtown commerce building into law office suites and common areas.


A tall arched portal is centered on a new stucco, brick and glass façade and opens onto a lobby, reception area and conference room. Six law offices along the north alley wall are daylit with large glazed apertures. Individual secretarial workstations line the open hallway, separated from the lobby by a delicately-composed screen of steel, translucent glass and wood panels. The interior’s organizing element is a wood-and-steel ‘archive gallery’ serving storage compartments over the workstations and visible from all areas. Support spaces at the back of the building include a break room, upgraded restrooms and storage.


The building was formerly home to multiple businesses, including an auto shop, the Eugene Farmers Creamery, and most recently The Bookmark bookstore.


Roof Insulation: New R-30 insulation added below existing roof framing.
Upgraded Mechanical and Electrical Equipment: Heating / Cooling units upgraded and zoned for efficiency; Rooftop distribution ducts removed and relocated within the building envelope; New light fixtures controlled with daylight zoning and motion-sensors.
Reclaimed Wood: Old high-school Douglas-fir bleacher benches milled into finish trim boards.
Daylighting: Maximized via oversized façade windows, ample north-facing glass block apertures at offices and large skylights at open office area.

2008 People’s Choice Award (Commercial)

1st place, commercial category
Featuring: La Perla Pizzeria Napoletana

In this competition which takes place annually during the Eugene Celebration weekend, local architects and landscape architects present their featured projects in various categories, and the citizens of Eugene cast their vote for the best project in each category.



La Perla Pizzeria Napoletana
1313 Pearl Street, Eugene 97401
(formerly Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor)


Nir Pearlson Architect, Inc.

Structural Engineer:

K & A Engineering

Electrical Engineer:

Jim Krumsick & Synergy Engineering

Lighting Design:

Balzheiser & Hubbard Engineers

Food Service Design / Equipment:

Curtis Restaurant Equipment

General Contractor:

The Industrial Company

Solar Panels Design / Build:

Energy Design & Solar Assist



Transform a familiar ice-cream parlor into a modern, enduring landmark


  • Tall windows wrap the building corner, opening onto the celebratory energy within
  • A modern-day steel colonnade announces the entrance and shelters outdoor seating
  • An entry atrium leads to expansive seating, a wine & espresso bar, and the main event: the pizza prep area fronting a massive wood-fired oven
  • Old Italy is infused into this contemporary Northwest building via subtle interpretive gestures: an ordered indoor-outdoor grid of columns, a sky-lit atrium, decorative steel arches, and a rich palette of textures and earthy colors
  • Construction materials are revealed in a modern composition of concrete, stone, wood, steel, plaster, and the sparkle of colored glass

Sustainable Strategies:

  • Daylighing: Oversized windows & sky-lit atrium
  • Shading: Awnings, blinds & specialty glazing
  • Solar energy: Photovoltaic panels mounted on roof & awning
  • Sustainably-harvested wood:
  • Glue-laminated timbers & ceiling finish boards
  • Manufactured ‘off-the-shelf’ components:
  • Structural members: steel & glue-lam; Wainscoting panels: corrugated steel & fiber-cement
  • R-40 insulated roof:
  • Encloses ceiling cavity with updated heating/cooling ducts
  • Upgraded electrical equipment:
  • Heating/cooling units; programmable lighting controls with zoning, dimming & sensors

Simple, Tasteful: La Perla takes pizza back to basics

What can you do in 90 seconds?

Make a phone call? Do 20 push-ups? Take an elevator to the 10th floor?

You will be amazed what the people at La Perla Pizzeria can do in 90 seconds.

The authentic Italian pizzeria can cook a delicious pizza in just a minute and a half.

La Perla makes its own mozzarella and hand-tossed dough.

The restaurant also uses imported ingredients and cooks in a wood-burning oven.

La Perla offers a variety of traditional pizzas, including margherita, Napolitan and marinara.

Toppings include sausage, marinated mushrooms, artichokes and ham, among others.

Located at 1313 Pearl St., La Perla replaced the Pearl Street Ice Cream Parlour.

Gianni Barofsky, owner of La Perla and Beppe & Gianni’s Trattoria, said the restaurant aspires to become Verace Pizza Napoletana certified soon.

Verace Pizza Napoletana is a movement to protect the Napoletana style of pizza that is a tradition in Naples.

A representative from Naples will come to the pizzeria to declare it official, and if the restaurant passes, it will be one of only 25 VPN pizzerias in the U.S.

Barofsky said he wanted his business to have an open, airy atmosphere with lots of space, windows and a new awning.

La Perla definitely feels open and airy with its huge windows and skylight.

Barofsky said the history of the location played a large part in the design of the business.

For Barofsky, it was important to send the message that La Perla was an entirely new and unique establishment.

“We didn’t want to put a pizza oven in (Pearl Street Ice Cream Parlour),” he said.

Barofsky said the pizza is the best thing on the menu.

“No one’s had a pizza like this,” he said. “The pizza is the star here.”

He said that the folks at La Perla are “excited to bring a new concept and taste to the West Eugene area.”

La Perla Pizzeria is open seven days a week, from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., although Barofsky said differently.

“We’re open for dinner from 5 p.m. until … just five ’til,” he said. “Maybe until we run out of dough.”

New Chapter for Bookmark

Hugh Duvall is a Eugene attorney, but now he can be called something else: a downtown developer. Duvall is renovating the former Bookmark building at 856 Olive St. to create a new office for himself and other lawyers. His building is a few steps from the two-block stretch of Broadway that has been considered for redevelopment during the past two years.

Duvall, a 46-year old criminal defense attorney, bought the building from Broadway landlords Tom Connor and Don Woolley in December for $350,000. Connor, Woolley and Opus Northwest, a Portland-based developer, once thought of using the property as part of a large retail, housing and entertainment project on Broadway. Those plans fizzled, but the city has acquired options to buy many of the same properties that were sought by Connor-Woolley-Opus, keeping the redevelopment idea alive. Duvall rents an office in the Citizens Building on Oak Street. He had looked for a year for a building to buy near the Lane County courthouse.

“I did have some reservations about buying the building because I did not want to stand in the way of a downtown redevelopment,” Duvall said. “But it’s not very often that a building within walking distance of the courthouse is available.” Duvall expects to pour $450,000 or more into a massive renovation of the 100-year-old building, originally called the Eugene Farmers Creamery. The building’s interior has been gutted to accommodate six law offices, one for Duvall and five for tenants. The buildings’ original window openings on the north wall, facing an alley and measuring about 4 feet wide by 7 feet tall, have been uncovered. They will be refitted with glass and glass blocks to let in light. A mezzanine will be constructed for storage space. Other interior treatments will include a vaulted ceiling above the lobby, Douglas fir beams, and steel and cable staircase railings.

“It’s going to be a dramatic renovation,” Duvall said. The building’s purchase and redevelopment shows there is demand for small, reasonably priced downtown office buildings, said Sue Prichard, the commercial real estate broker who handled the sale for Connor and Woolley. Such buyers typically remodel the buildings and occupy them, she said. Recent examples of that trend include the owners of the Oveissi & Co. building at Broadway and Willamette Street, the Ulum Group building on Oak Street, and the KLCC building on West Eighth Avenue.

2006 People’s Choice Award (Commercial)

2nd Place – Commercial

Featuring: Imagine Graphics

In this competition which takes place annually during the Eugene Celebration weekend, local architects and landscape architects present their featured projects in various categories, and the citizens of Eugene cast their vote for the best project in each category.



Imagine Graphics Headquarters Remodel
990 Garfield, Eugene Oregon 97402
(Formerly the Miller Paint Building)


Nir Pearlson Architect, Inc.

Landscape Architect:

Kate McGee Landscape Architect

Structural Engineer:

Hohbach-Lewin, Inc.

Marketing, Displays, Finishes:

Funk/Levis & Associates


Schar Construction


Client’s Vision

A new home for Imagine Graphics: a building that reflects and supports the company’s commitment to vibrant creativity and open communication

Architect’s Charge

To transform a non-descript warehouse into an inspiring work environment: an attractive domain of creativity and commerce

Design Concept

To reveal and enhance the original modernist structure of the 1960’s building through a series of de-construction moves:
Removal of a section of the low ceiling so the volume reaches upwards to the tall roof
Replacement of the 2nd floor corridor wall with a transparent railing, spatially joining the two floors via the new double-height volume

Removal and replacement of a massive 1980’s canopy with a slender structural steel colonnade

Opening of new clerestories and windows to fill the interiors with abundant daylight

Minimalist Design Strategy

  • Fabricate canopies, stairs, railings and partitions with off-the-shelf components: structural steel, dimensional lumber, particle board, and stainless-steel cable
  • Expose and treat architectural materials such as wood, steel, concrete block, and aluminum to reflect their distinct nature in form, texture, and color
  • Landscape planting areas with a select inventory of elegant plants set amongst rough stones in a range of sizes

Sustainability Measures

  • Re-claimed boards, sustainably-harvested lumber and straw-board sheets compose the casework, trim, trellises, railings and paneling
  • Natural linoleum and replaceable carpet tiles cover floor surfaces
  • Low-VOC paints used throughout
  • Increased insulation and double-glazed windows substantially reduce heating and cooling needs
  • Added windows minimize the need for artificial lighting
  • High-efficiency HVAC and electrical systems replace aging equipment

Imagine Graphics’ Philosophy of Openness and Transparency Expressed in the Work Place

  • All departments – management, sales, graphic design and production – are directly linked, supporting interactions and a creative flow of ideas
  • The exterior and interior realms communicate, reflect, and inform each other
  • The porous boundaries between the showroom and the production area offer clients and employees the opportunity to witness, and participate, in the transformation of imagination into graphics