Randy Gragg is the architecture and urban design critic for The Oregonian, Portland's daily newspaper. Since arriving at the paper in 1989, Randy has written on the culture wars, visual art, film and performance. But as Portland's pioneering efforts at managing growth began to be tested by the 1990s building boom, he shifted his journalistic focus exclusively to writing on the built environment.
Well beyond reviewing completed projects, Randy has worked to build a larger constituency for better design by frequently writing about buildings and planning efforts in their generative phases when citizens and officials can still affect them through the public review processes. His decade-long coverage of Portland's new South Waterfront District helped pave the way for a 32-acre brownfield reclamation in the area and the nation's second urban aerial tram along with an international competition to design it, Portland's first such competition in over 20 years.
Since moving to the Northwest from his native Nevada, Randy has pursued numerous writing and curatorial projects in art and design. In 1987, while pursuing an MFA at the University of Washington, he used $300 of his student loan money to start Reflex magazine, the Northwest's first regional art journal, building it to a circulation of 15,000 artists in five states. He has written for wide range of national journals, among them, Metropolis, Architectural Record, Landscape Architecture, Harper's, the New York Times Magazine. Randy earned a fellowship in the National Arts Journalism Program at Columbia University in '94/'95. In 1999 and 2001, he co-organized and curated two pioneering architect-in-residence programs, "Multiplied Light" and "Betweenness," at Portland's world-renowned Bullseye Glass Company in which designers worked with the factory's technicians to fabricate chandeliers and steel-and-glass partitions. In 2003, Randy conceived and organized "Core Sample," an "arts institution for a week" in which more than 100 artists mounted projects, performances and exhibits city-wide, resulting in a 456-page catalog which he co-edited.
Randy plans to spend his time as a Loeb exploring ideas of regionalism and how the changing world of media can more effectively and engagingly cover issues of planning, landscape and the built environment.