Many things have changed in the past two decades: the cuts of jeans, a move from cable to streaming services, cauliflower replacing all starches, just to name a few. What hasn’t changed is the place that Andrew Kraus and Jason Wesolowski call work. This year, Andrew and Jason are celebrating milestone anniversaries with Scott Edwards Architecture — Andrew at 21 years and Jason at 20. Throughout that time both have grown as designers, evolved in their roles, and significantly contributed to the portfolio and culture at SEA.

Photo Caption: Staff photo from 2001. Jason, pictured the farthest right, sporting long-forgotten sideburns. Andrew is not pictured, but our suspicion is that he is either behind the camera or hard at work just out of frame.

 

Andrew’s passion for his work and thoroughness in his approach are well known at SEA. His consideration for all the aspects of a project has led to innovative designs, like at Harkins House for Washington County. When remembering Andrew’s work over the years, Founding Partner Sid Scott looks back to this project as a prime example of his thoughtfulness, saying “When we did the Harkins House for Washington County, Andrew was instrumental in developing a number of sustainable strategies including repurposing beautiful wood bow roof trusses and exterior cladding from a building the County was tearing down.” These salvaged materials significantly added to the quality of the building both in sustainability and aesthetics.

Harkins House common room with the reclaimed wood bow roof trusses adding warmth and architectural interest to the space.

 

Sid’s memory of Andrew and Harkins House aligns with what Andrew says drives him, which is “the desire for the construction process to begin without indiscriminately clearing the project site.” Whether an empty site or one that has been developed, Andrew understands that it is a special and unique place. While cultivating excitement for what he’s about to help create, he discusses the importance of also identifying, acknowledging, and in some cases preserving what is already there.

“Andrew is a skilled architect, passionate and reliable. He has a strong work ethic and the highest standards for developing quality projects.”
– Sid Scott, Founding Partner, Scott Edwards Architecture

Equally well-known about Andrew are his interests and hobbies outside of work. He is a horse-riding enthusiast and a self-described aspiring renaissance man. His backyard is somewhat legendary — SEA Partner Peter Grimm recalls helping Andrew to build a backyard horse-drawn wagon and then enjoying cigars and scotch together in that very same place. Complete with comfortable seating and a crackling fire, this wagon serves as a priceless backyard retreat. Andrew is also a much sought-after partner in SEA’s annual parking lot party’s cornhole tournament.

Andrew’s backyard horse-drawn wagon was assembled with some help from SEA staff.

 

Andrew’s greatest enjoyment comes from detailing. In the case of exterior detailing, he likes the challenge of working with basic natural forces such as gravity, wind, and rain. He feels a sense of accomplishment in mitigating the adverse effects from these forces and in helping to strengthen the overall design. When thinking back on his 21 years at SEA, Andrew says his favorite project by far is the charter school within the Portland Children’s Museum, known as Opal School. In addition to some truly innovative early-childhood development strategies, everything about Opal was based on respecting a child’s perspective and imagination. While the school was recently closed due to Covid-19, it remains a great example of creativity, enthusiasm, collaboration, and altruism and he feels privileged to have been a part of it.

Much like Andrew, Jason’s passion for his work is apparent. Jason’s role at SEA has evolved substantially over the years. As an architecture student at Portland State University, he was brought onboard at SEA as the receptionist. He continued to help with other tasks, such as bookkeeping and model building, and after starting fulltime as an architect he grew in that role as well. Today, you’ll find Jason serving as the firm’s specification writer and quality control mentor. He began learning specifications alongside Founding Partner Kelly Edwards and quickly grew to love the technical aspect of specification writing. Over the past year he’s been mentoring a new specification writer and has really enjoyed getting to pass along his knowledge. He considers having taken on these varied responsibilities over the years has provided him with a well-rounded skillset and deep understanding of the firm.

“Being the specifications writer, Jason is instrumental to the success of all projects that come in the door. He literally touches each and every project and has become crucial in the education of younger staff. He is the first-string middle infielder at SEA.” – Brian Mares, Partner, Scott Edwards Architecture

Jason’s hobbies outside of work are celebrated by SEA. For a period of time, he owned and competed with a circle track racecar. SEA sponsored him, filling up the gas tank for races, and in return had the firm logo emblazoned on the racecar’s door. When that door was replaced, the removed door hung in the SEA office as found object-style décor. Jason finds purpose in the many forms of ‘building’ — from building racecars to his work as an architect. He is always up for the challenge of figuring out the hard details and making something work, and what shows through the most is his love for the technical side of the process.

Jason’s #3 car in both its forms. The original (left) was converted and rebuilt by Jason to race in a different class. Converted car pictured right, it has a fabricated body and bigger wheels and tires.

 

For Jason, the best projects to work on are with a client who you can relate to, a client who has an intriguing vison, and a client who pulls you in and treats you as one of their own. He found that in the Fort George Brewery expansion in Astoria, Oregon. After exploring several sites with SEA for the expansion, Fort George Brewery seized the opportunity to buy a 5 acre, 4 building complex on the Astoria waterfront. The challenges on this project, like the adaptive reuse of a 1960 seafood canning warehouse into a full-scale brewery and distribution hub, along with the strong client and stakeholder relationships built, made this a career favorite project for Jason. This large master planning project is ongoing.

The Fort George Brewery design capitalizes on the unique features of the existing building and its proximal relationship to the water. New glass overhead doors on the river side of the facility promote natural ventilation and capture the attention of pedestrians walking along Astoria’s popular Riverwalk.

 

When asked what has changed at SEA over the past two decades, Andrew and Jason agree — the size of the firm has increased, but the philosophy of the firm has stayed the same. SEA continues to put staff and clients at the forefront of design, business development, and company culture. Through growing pains, office moves, and the ups-and-downs that come with any business, the fundamental, driving values of SEA have remained.