Profile picture of James Givens

James Givens

Senior Instructor II
Director, Summer Architecture Academy
Phone: 541-345-5053 (practice)
City: Eugene

MArch, University of Oregon 1989

BArch, University of Oregon 1985

When I am not designing buildings or teaching, I like to draw, paint, and write. Watercolors, soft pencil sketches, usually of rooms or landscapes, allow me to see the world more carefully–and then to interpret it’s moods and nuances. I am usually reading 3 or 4 books at once, switching between architecture, literature and poetry. Milan Kundera, Tobias Wolf, Richard Adams, J.R.R. Tolkien, E.M. Forster, Mark Strand, Billy Collins, Wallace Stevens–these are some of my favorite writers and poets.

My architectural mentors (architects who have inspired me by their thoughts and buildings) are: Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Henry Chapman Mercer, Bernard Maybeck, Frank Lloyd Wright, Carlo Scarpa, Louis Kahn, Aldo Van Eyck, Herman Hertzberger, Jorn Utzon, Christopher Alexander, and Peter Zumthor

I am a native Oregonian, the grandson of Irish immigrants who settled in the Keating valley in eastern Oregon. I have a deep and abiding love for the Pacific Northwest in general, and for the changeful landscapes of Oregon in particular.

In my practice, I place great emphasis on a design process that is closely tied to the site and to the reality of the building as it is being built–a reality that evades the predetermination of detailed working drawings. As such, the design develops and changes as construction proceeds. At each step, I try to do just that thing, that one thing, which will generate more life in what I am designing. Always it is connected to the direct experience of the place itself. Always, it is striving to allow a deeper way of being in the world.