About

the practice

OFFICE 52 Architecture is a Portland-based interdisciplinary design studio and architecture firm. Formed in 2010 by Michelle LaFoe and Isaac Campbell, who guide conceptual evolution of the work, our office remains focused and committed to compelling and collaborative projects of all scales. Our work is guided by a commitment to the strength of the idea and a passion for materials, detail, and ecologically intelligent applications. Believing architecture, art and technology are interrelated, we bring creative energy and exceptional technical capacity to each project. We explore materials and assembly systems, with transformative effect, by combining high- and low-tech solutions with the richness of craft and innovative fabrication techniques.

Through a design process that embraces form and function, we weave dynamic ideas with the pragmatics of construction and client goals with the benefits of a site for enduring and inspirational architecture that relates to context. Adept at working closely with clients on a design vision, the firm has completed commissions in architecture, landscapes, urban design, public spaces, public art and installations. Architecture includes institutional, cultural, educational, workplace and residential commissions. In our design studio we focus on developing a guiding concept for the spaces, building or renovation to create something that transcends the pragmatic necessities of code and budget while also working with them for constructability. Our studio is one where critical thinking meets creative practice. Architecture is a visual and spatial language that conveys a sense of place.

Economically sound, high-performance solutions imbued with aesthetic expression for unique spatial experiences define each project. We believe in comprehensive design solutions that respond to global climate change regarding our limited natural resources, biodiversity and environmental pollution. We have experience collaborating with clients, consultants and contractors on multiple LEED Platinum, LEED Gold, and net-zero energy projects and utilize scientific research and technical knowledge garnered from each experience. Our studio serves as a catalyst for meaningful discourse on the relationship between individuals and the environment, exploring new ideas addressing diverse context for engaging spaces.

With responsible decision-making at the beginning of a project, we can set new standards for integrated design and sustainable building performance with tangible results. Implementation of technologies like green roofs, recycled and sustainably-sourced materials, bird-friendly measures, solar power and passive solar design, and water collection can be appealingly beautiful if addressed early in the design process with inventive thinking and fabrication. We have designed buildings that generate significant percentages of their own power, buildings that cool themselves and that use 90% less potable water than conventional standards. We believe that thoughtfully incorporated sustainable elements and principles lead to long-term economic gain with elegant designs that last longer with less consumption. It’s about looking and seeing the world around us.

recognition
writing and press

Select awards include: The 2021 Green Good Design Award The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture & Design and The European Centre, The Architect’s Newspaper Editor’s Pick 2020 Best of Design Award, Fast Company’s 2020 Innovation by Design Awards Honoree, Daily Journal of Commerce 2020 Top Projects Award, 2020 Green Good Design Award The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture & Design and The European Centre, 2019 International Architecture Award The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture & Design and The European Centre, 2019 American Architecture Award The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture & Design and The European Centre, The Architect’s Newspaper 2018 Best of Design Award, Society American Registered Architects New York 2018 Design Award, Gray Magazine 2018 Design Award.

details

Isaac Campbell, AIA, has extensive experience working with interdisciplinary teams to create thoughtfully dynamic spaces for complex projects. His design leadership and expertise in higher education and academic environments, cultural and performing arts spaces and innovative workplaces has resulted in a sophisticated body of beautiful work. Isaac has a keen ability to design spaces that enable people to thrive. His innate ability to successfully bring people together has been instrumental in collaborative planning and programming workshops with a diversity of user groups. Isaac studied at Alfred University and holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Architecture from Rice University. While at Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, he led the New York Times Headquarters Competition and Integrated Arts Program, working with artists such as Al Held and Nancy Graves, while on the design team for the New North Terminal at Reagan Washington National Airport. Previous significant projects completed with Isaac’s design leadership include Stanford University’s 600,000 sf Science and Engineering Quad, the Yang and Yamazaki Environment and Energy Building (LEED Platinum EB), and the Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center. Isaac has presented at national conferences and design programs.
Full bio Isaac

Michelle LaFoe, AIA, thrives on combining artistic vision with practical material applications that weave innovative and traditional fabrication methods in architecture and design. Michelle holds a Bachelor of Architecture and Bachelor of Arts from Rice University, a Post-Baccalaureate Graduate degree in drawing, painting and sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Masters of Architecture from UIUC as a Distinguished University Research Fellow, and post-graduate research at Yale University. She is a Fulbright Scholar, Graham Foundation Grant Recipient and licensed architect. Work has been featured internationally and received awards for imaginative and inventive application of interdisciplinary ideas. She has exhibited, written about materials/fabrication technology, curated exhibitions, and maintains a fine arts studio parallel to the practice. The Form and Dichroic Light publication, curated by LaFoe, chronicles the competition-winning design that launched their architecture practice, prior to which they both worked with AIA Gold Medal winner Cesar Pelli, FAIA, at Pelli Clarke Pelli, where Michelle was a designer on evocative projects such as the National Museum of Art and its above-grade sculptural stainless steel entry pavilion in Osaka, Japan. Michelle is interested in the experiential aspects of architecuture as it relates to scale, image, light, sound, color and landscape. It can transport us to different worlds, tell a story, and make a difference, by conveying inclusive values through design and its process. Design shapes our memories.
Full Bio Michelle
Sculpted Light: The Elements Series
About Looking Series

OFFICE 52 Architecture is an Emerging Small Business (ESB).

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