Skylab: The Nature of Buildings is the first monograph of the Portland, Oregon-based architecture and design studio. Founded by Jeff Kovel in 1999, Skylab has emerged as a leading creative force in the Pacific Northwest and North America. At the vanguard of innovative and sustainable design, the practice is known for a range of spectacular residences designed for leading creatives, as well as distinctive music venues, resorts, and other high-profile projects, including the N M Bodecker Foundation, Nike’s Serena Williams Building, and the Columbia Building. Presenting more than two decades of work, the story of Skylab is told by several influential contributors through reflective essays, interviews, conversations, and anecdotes, as well as extensive project photography and illustrations that detail the firm’s design process.
A uniquely crafted object, the book’s design is based on the concept of a double vinyl album, with four “sides” (A, B, C, D), ten projects “tracks,” inside front- and back-cover gatefolds, and nine project “interlude” foldout posters in the book.
“Our work balances on three themes: narrative, strategy, and regeneration,” Kovel writes in the book’s Preface. “Narrative is the ‘what’—a design process based on telling compelling stories. Strategy is the ‘how’—innovating best practices through construction and market intelligence. Regeneration is the ‘why’—our north star and the legacy of our work, defined by designing with nature as a partner, seeking to rebalance the relationship with land, time, and people. This was the bedrock meaning behind our practice when we started in 1999, and it continues to this day.”
This cleverly conceived book highlights some of the most impressive work out of the Skylab studio since its founding by Jeff Kovel in 1999… Like any greatest-hits compilation, it focuses on the creative philosophy of the firm, and its evolution over time… Readers will appreciate the creativity and intentional design throughout… From the lime-green font to the foldout posters, this book does not shy from bold decisions… Fans of architecture and design will revel in the images and the multiple interviews and descriptions behind such projects as the Serena Williams Building on Nike's campus or the Columbia Building in Portland
— Shelf Awareness
Established over two decades ago in Portland, Oregon, Skylab is a band of makers—architects, designers, brand builders, and entrepreneurs—working together across a wide range of projects that revitalize communities, give rise to cultural epicenters, and create competitive advantage. Led by a team of five uniquely talented principals, the studio brings mastery across sectors including workplace, multifamily, residential, master planning, hospitality, civic/cultural, sport, resorts, retail, branding, and interior design. With work across the United States, the firm is known for projects that explore narrative storytelling, innovative approaches to design and construction, and the regenerative continuity between the built environment and nature. skylabarchitecture.com
Jeff Kovel is the founder and design principal of Skylab. He has been a leading creative force in the dramatic evolution of Portland over the last twenty years. His work can be found in wildly different contexts, spanning residential, commercial, civic, retail, prefab, museum exhibitions, and music and sports venues.