Skylab's NM Bodecker Foundation is a mazy cluster of repurposed warehouses

A dynamic mixed-use space for inspiring collaboration, the NM Bodecker Foundation building emerges as a hub for creative communities amid repurposed 1950s warehouses.

by Anmol AhujaPublished on : Nov 26, 2021

Established by Nike veteran Sandy Bodecker, who was instrumental in setting up and proliferating the sportswear giant's skateboarding and football divisions, in 2017, the NM Bodecker Foundation was developed with an aim to provide creative communities with a “dynamic mix of in-person spaces for workshops, gathering, and collaboration”. The foundation’s building in Portland, Oregon, was originally conceived as a creative home for Bodecker, finding its definition as a juxtaposed conglomeration of repurposed 1950s-era warehouses and a former parking lot. The keyword here, lent by Bodecker himself before his passing in 2018, was ‘labyrinth’, allowing visitors and patrons to feel a sense of discovery traversing the building’s spaces, of seeing things in new ways as people completed their respective journeys. The industrial looking building with jagged edges and bold shades is an embodiment of that idea.

  • The building is designed as a ‘labyrinthine’ cluster of repurposed 1950s warehouses, visible on the the facade’s seams | NM Bodecker Foundation | Skylab Architecture | STIRworld
    The building is designed as a ‘labyrinthine’ cluster of repurposed 1950s warehouses, visible on the the facade’s seams Image: Jeremy Bittermann
  • The centre features a number of spaces designed to inspire collaboration, and was originally conceived as a creative home for Sandy Bodecker | NM Bodecker Foundation | Skylab Architecture | STIRworld
    The centre features a number of spaces designed to inspire collaboration, and was originally conceived as a creative home for Sandy Bodecker Image: Jeremy Bittermann

What transpired in the building’s design development was much more comprehensive and complex than an adaptive reuse of the fused warehouse structures. Considered as a singular mass, the integrated warehouses were reworked into a shifting mix of exterior and interior environments by ‘cutting into’ the combined volume and modifying spaces, retaining only a faint memory of their historic boundaries. The same juxtaposition extends to the roof profile too, with the roof of one warehouse being peeled back to be melded with another’s sliced profile. The result is a volumetrically rich composition of different structures occupying a unitary space, but projecting a morphing visual character on the exterior, as one moves from one visibly transient division to the other. In other words, while the individual warehouse structures remain identifiable, a succinct visual interest is ignited in the overlapping of planes. “From the street, the rectangular warehouse forms are balanced with complex prismatic forms to create a rich visual composition,” states the official release.

  • The Foundation is an embodiment of Bodecker’s aim to “create an environment that inspires openness to explore, learn and find the unlimited curiosity you once had when you were a kid” | NM Bodecker Foundation | Skylab Architecture | STIRworld
    The Foundation is an embodiment of Bodecker’s aim to “create an environment that inspires openness to explore, learn and find the unlimited curiosity you once had when you were a kid” Image: Jeremy Bittermann
  • Along with a number of multipurpose performance spaces, the centre also features a state of the art recording studio | NM Bodecker Foundation | Skylab Architecture | STIRworld
    Along with a number of multipurpose performance spaces, the centre also features a state of the art recording studio Image: Jeremy Bittermann
  • The primary functional spaces open to each other at the ground floor to allow access to more open-use spaces for ‘creation’ | NM Bodecker Foundation | Skylab Architecture | STIRworld
    The primary functional spaces open to each other at the ground floor to allow access to more open-use spaces for ‘creation’ Image: Jeremy Bittermann

Following Bodecker’s passing in 2018, the Foundation fully occupied the building, opening the facility’s unique mix of spaces to emerging artists and performers, like-minded organisations, and a number of creative professionals, in line with the Foundation’s aim to inspire creativity and collaboration, and Bodecker’s aim to “create an environment that inspires openness to explore, learn and find the unlimited curiosity you once had when you were a kid”.

  • The combined volume of the warehouses was cut and reworked into a shifting mix of exterior and interior environments, visible in the cutouts and jagged geometry of spaces | NM Bodecker Foundation | Skylab Architecture | STIRworld
    The combined volume of the warehouses was cut and reworked into a shifting mix of exterior and interior environments, visible in the cutouts and jagged geometry of spaces Image: Jeremy Bittermann
  • Mixed albeit complementary carpet patterns, and wall cladding in unfinished plywood round out the interior palette of the centre | NM Bodecker Foundation | Skylab Architecture | STIRworld
    Mixed albeit complementary carpet patterns, and wall cladding in unfinished plywood round out the interior palette of the centre Image: Jeremy Bittermann

What holds this structural and facial conglomeration together is a new central core building from which the other functions emanate. The building, in turn, “blends the past with the future through its interplay of interior spaces”, comprising a variable spatial programme consisting of living areas, a series of informal performance spaces, a state-of-the-art recording studio, and an indoor skate park, that serves to be the highlight of the building’s interiors.

  • The indoor skate park serves to be the building’s spatial highlight | NM Bodecker Foundation | Skylab Architecture | STIRworld
    The indoor skate park serves to be the building’s spatial highlight Image: Jeremy Bittermann
  • The newly built parts of the Foundation are tastefully contrasted against the “time-worn patina” of the more vintage elements in the Foundation | NM Bodecker Foundation | Skylab Architecture | STIRworld
    The newly built parts of the Foundation are tastefully contrasted against the “time-worn patina” of the more vintage elements in the Foundation Image: Jeremy Bittermann

Apart from the multi-storey functional core of the Foundation, the primary spaces open to each other at the ground floor to allow access to these spaces of creation. The living spaces for the artist-in-residence program are stacked above on the second and third floors, overlooking but still connected to the activity below. Approximately one-third of the site is reserved as green space that helps in managing stormwater and other services, along with serving as extension of the complex’s communal spaces, and to let visitors seek inspiration in the outdoors.

  • Approximately one-third of the site is reserved as green space to help in managing stormwater along with serving as an extension of the building’s communal spaces | NM Bodecker Foundation | Skylab Architecture | STIRworld
    Approximately one-third of the site is reserved as green space to help in managing stormwater along with serving as an extension of the building’s communal spaces Image: Jeremy Bittermann
  • The build-out also includes living roofs along with nearly 2,000 square feet of outdoor yards | NM Bodecker Foundation | Skylab Architecture | STIRworld
    The build-out also includes living roofs along with nearly 2,000 square feet of outdoor yards Image: Jeremy Bittermann
  • A slide designed by the inclined skylight seeks to engage patrons and visitors | NM Bodecker Foundation | Skylab Architecture | STIRworld
    A slide designed by the inclined skylight seeks to engage patrons and visitors Image: Jeremy Bittermann

The building materials used in the Foundation come forth to present an intriguing material palette, ranging from repurposed elements preserved from demolition to contemporary finishes, mostly lent to the areas of the building that were completely newly built, contrasted by design against the “time-worn patina” of the more vintage elements in the Foundation. Exposed wooden trusses, mixed but complementary carpet patterns, and wall cladding in steel and unfinished plywood round out the interior design palette of this centre for creative collaboration, with a strong focus on the materials’ internal integrity, their ability to age naturally, especially when viewed against the retained part of the building, and their ability of expressing a heightened notion of craftsmanship.

  • Animation showcasing an axonometric coming together and subtraction of the warehouses to create the Foundation’s structure| NM Bodecker Foundation | Skylab Architecture | STIRworld
    Animation showcasing an axonometric coming together and subtraction of the warehouses to create the Foundation’s structure Image: Courtesy of Skylab Architecture
  • NM Bodecker Foundation: Floor Plan | NM Bodecker Foundation | Skylab Architecture | STIRworld
    NM Bodecker Foundation: Floor Plan Image: Courtesy of Skylab Architecture
  • NM Bodecker Foundation: Roof Plan | NM Bodecker Foundation | Skylab Architecture | STIRworld
    NM Bodecker Foundation: Roof Plan Image: Courtesy of Skylab Architecture
  • NM Bodecker Foundation: Building Sections | NM Bodecker Foundation | Skylab Architecture | STIRworld
    NM Bodecker Foundation: Building Sections Image: Courtesy of Skylab Architecture

Comments

Comments Added Successfully!

About Author

Recommended

LOAD MORE
see more articles
3000,2943,3029,2886,2812

Keep it stirring

get regular updates SIGN UP

This site uses cookies to offer you an improved and personalised experience. If you continue to browse, we will assume your consent for the same.
LEARN MORE AGREE