John Yeon Lecture Series

The Yeon Center presents public lectures by major leaders in the fields of architecture, landscape, and conservation. Past Yeon lectures featured Michael Graves speaking on the future of his postmodernist landmark, the Portland Building, and Barry Bergdoll, curator of architecture for the Museum of Modern Art, landscape architects David Rubin and Bas Smets, bridge designer Donald McDonald, and artist Michael Singer.


Bright Lights: Discussions on the City’s Future

In the casual surroundings of Jimmy Mak’s jazz bar, Yeon Center director Randy Gragg hosts talk-show style encounters with the region’s thought leaders.


OPB’s State of Wonder

OPB’s State of Wonder and the Yeon Center present a series of programs on design.


Conversations at the Watzek House

Get to know the some of region’s and the world’s most influential designers, conservationists, creatives, intellectuals, and policymakers, as well as the University of Oregon’s most visionary researchers and designers, in the inspiring setting of the Watzek House. These intimate encounters are designed for revelation: of the influences that shaped the guest speakers’ views, the ideas animating their work, and the impact they are having—or could have with the knowledge and connections of others in the room. Past conversations have featured architects Michael Graves, Robert Frasca, Thomas Hacker, and others; policy makers like Shelley Poticha of Environmental Defense Fund and David Bragdon of Transit Inc.; and writers such as landscape theorist Anne Whiston Spirn and art critic Michael Ned Nolte.

Drawing at the Watzek House

Spend time observing the intimate details of the Watzek house by bringing your favorite sketching medium. The house is rich with unique architecture, furniture, and art that is best understood through close visual study. Whether you’re an architect, a graphic designer, or a hobbyist, artists of all kinds are welcome to come and draw.

Click here to view drawings from past events.


The Yeon Center is engaged in preservation and restoration of the Watzek House, Cottrell House, and The Shire. Recent projects include: a case study of the Watzek House roof to develop a system that will preserve the design intentions for the next 75 years, developing plan for restoring two key features of the Cottrell House exterior and  removing invasive ivy from The Shire.

The John Yeon Studio

The Yeon Center will create and sponsor major design studios in the Urban Architecture Program of the College of Design in Portland. The studios will examine sites and ideas that can influence the future of the city or region. They will be taught with an interdisciplinary team of designers, policymakers, and communications professionals. The studios’ goals will be to develop design solutions that serve the highest public values; and to craft effective strategies for advancing those solutions through the necessary economic, political, and civic constituencies. The inaugural Yeon Studio collaborated with Metro and Oregon City to investigate future uses of the now-defunct Blue Heron Mill site adjacent to Willamette Falls.

Below is a slideshow version of the John Yeon Center’s studio book, Willammette Falls Legacy: Building a Post-Industrial Landscape.

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