I have recently taken an interest in architecture – it started a year ago during Design Week Portland when I went to a talk, spur of the moment, and happened to be sitting in a small room listening to a guy (Gordon Gill), who had a hand in building the TALLEST BUILDING IN THE WORLD (!) He talked about the project and other projects he was working on (only the NEXT tallest building in the world). You know, just another talk.
I was smitten.
The conversation wasn’t about building codes, load bearing walls, and other functional construction details that I associated with architecture – it was about the beauty of utility and tricking the wind and harmonizing with the environment – and I loved it.
Since that time and fueled by a trip to Chicago and New York, I have looked at our skyline through a different lens. Thinking about how our buildings in Portland harmonize with our environment and what they communicate about our city and our people. I have felt like we could be more interesting.
A few months ago I noticed some new construction on the east side of the Burnside Bridge. A chance for some new blood in our skyline! And I had the chance to go and listen to three architecture firms speak about three of the buildings going up, to actually hear the conversation and take part in it. I love hearing about a designer’s intentions – I find the process of design to be so compelling and I love a good story. The architects talked about the inspiration for their designs, motivation behind key design decisions, and about their visions for the use of the space. The buildings are very unique and it was apparent at the gathering that people have strong opinions about the designs, both positive and negative. I appreciate that the designs are different, and will absolutely add to the conversation of our city in a colorful way.
I am excited that our city is adding to our story through its skyline and that the buildings being built have been so thoughtfully designed. The architects care a great deal about what their buildings are communicating, and they all have a different lens that they are looking through. Each lens will speak to different people in different ways but one thing is for certain – the lens’ are unique, and different, and exciting, just like Portland and I can’t wait to see them completed.
To find out more and see some cool renditions of the new buildings, take a look at this article:
I love what was done with the Edith Green – Wendell Wyatt Federal Building. I hadn’t been by in about a year and was taken by surprise when I walked by last month and saw a jungle growing on the side of the building. I wish we did that with more buildings.
In extreme contrast, I do not like what OHSU did with the South Waterfront. I drive I-5 frequently and look over at the stark metal, industrially cold and unwelcoming buildings and avert my eyes elsewhere. The only thing positive I can say about it, is they made good use of space.