Portland Building's Projecting Boxes Address Its Location's Limitations
Architects & Firms
The playful profile of a new mixed-used building in Portland, Ore., has a serious purpose. The site was curved at the southeast corner, and the projecting boxes allowed architects from local firm Works Progress Architecture (W.PA) to build on as much of the awkward footprint as possible without having to curve the facade itself. A resemblance to a honeycomb is also no coincidence, as boxes suggest the activities playing out within each space. “The facade is an articulation of the building’s uses and a result of the site conditions,” says project architect Lauren Page.
Completed in October 2016, the 10-story, 147,000-square-foot structure (tenants include retail, office, and residential clients) was also designed to interpret the look of the surrounding historic warehouses, which have been converted into creative workspaces. Like the maker community that has transformed the district, the new building’s facade is “a collage of framed unique activities,” Page says.
Together, deep and shallow projections define the commercial spaces where interiors are more communal and open. The projections become more dramatic at the top, which is occupied by more intimate residential spaces; the covered balconies for those units jut out the most. Comparatively, the north and south walls are contiguous swathes of Wausau INvision HR and HRX unitized curtainwall. Low-e, insulating glass the color of metal and coated with a polyamide barrier offers a thermal barrier with solar control. The architects had the window walls’ aluminum panels and frames factory-fabricated as units to ensure the intended appearance and simplify their installation.
The building has earned LEED Gold certification through the U.S. Green Building Council. W.PA specified aluminum frames with an average of 74 percent recycled content (Linetec). Matching aluminum panels were supplied by Firestone.
Seasonal opportunities for natural ventilation help reduce tenants’ reliance on HVAC systems. Operable windows offer fresh air, natural light and views.