Here is the list of 10 marvels of Portland Architecture:

1. The Portland Building | Portland Architecture

The Portland Building, United States’ first large-scale postmodernist design, has been a controversial design since its inception. It also showcases symbolism in portland architecture by its use of colour. – green tiles at the base for ground, light blue tiles at upper stories to symbolize skies, etc.- done to tie the structure to its surroundings. Designed by architect and product designer Michael Graves, the 15 storied building blends postmodernist design with non-functional classical elements. Earlier rejected by the city’s traditionalists, today it still lacks the acceptance of citizens.

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Portland_Building_1982_photo by Steve Morgan via wikimedia Commons
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The portland building facade designs_courtesy of Michael Graves & Associates
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The Portland Building_oregonlive.com

2. Koin Centre

Designed by the Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership Firm, the Koin centre is another example of the city’s postmodernist architecture. Initially named the Foundation Plaza, the building towers a height of 509ft (155.15m), making it the third-largest building in Portland. Because of its resemblance to that of a mechanical pencil, it has been nicknamed ‘The Mechanical Pencil’. 

The Koin Centre is cladded with orange brick and trimmed with white limestone at the base. The sloping roof and pyramidal crown on its top are prefinished with galvanized steel. Its unconventional form adds character to downtown Portland.

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KOIN Centre_photo by Cacophony via wikimedia commons
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The Mechanical Pencil’_image by Serdica via emporis.com
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The KOIN Centre_image by Another_Believer

3. The Benson Coast Hotel

More than a century old, the Benson coast hotel is a charming build in downtown Portland. Designed by architects A.E. Doyle, Patterson, and Beach, it is one of the finest hotels in Portland. The 12 storied hotel is adorned with walnut woodwork, ornate ceilings, classical motifs, and crystal chandeliers. The exterior is sheathed in red bricks and cream-coloured terracotta. The roof is covered in copper and green terracotta and pierced with pediment dormers. The historic landmark display element of 20th century Baroque architectural style.

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The Benson Coastal Hotel_hrs.com
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The Benson_photo courtesy coasthotels.com
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The Benson interiors_via sunset.com

4. Pittock Mansion

Pittock Mansion, the house of dreams of Henry Pittock and his wife, was built in 1914 by architect Edward T. Foulkes. Modelled as a French Renaissance-style chateau, it fulfilled Pittock’s vision of allying architecture and technology in their mansion. 

This fit for family dwelling mansion of Portland Architecture has 23 rooms that include a library, music room, smoking room, sewing room, bedrooms, servant quarters, including modern conveniences. The most prominent interior feature is the central stairwell, which connects the three stories and occupies one-third of the mansion space. Three splendid bedrooms, each with a sitting room with a fireplace, bedroom, dressing room and a private bath, summarise the grandeur of this place.

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Pittock Mansion_photo by Jordan M. Lomibao
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the bifurcated main staircase_via tripadvisor.com
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Pittock Mansion interior_pittockmansion.org

5. Wells Fargo Centre | Portland Architecture

Designed by Charles Luckman and Associates in 1972, to serve as a regional headquarters of the Wells Fargo Building. Encased in white Italian marble, bronze-tinted glass, and anodized aluminium, it stands as the tallest structure in Portland. The modernist building is despised by locals for its insensitive design that neglects its surroundings and view it as an embodiment of corporate ego. . In 2006, the Portland Tribune newspaper wrote- “Everything about that tower talks about corporate ego, and it pays no respect whatsoever to its surroundings.”

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Wells Fargo Centre_photo by Jimtaulman via emporis
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Wells Fargo Center (left) with Portland Building, Standard Insurance Center. Photo by Brian Libby
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Wells Fargo Center, photo by Brian Libby

6. The Calvary Presbyterian Church

Built in 1882, the Calvary Presbyterian Church was designed by Warren. H. Williams. It is an excellent example of High Victorian Gothic architecture and has been not modified science its construction. The clean geometry of the building is complemented by cathedral-style windows, ornate window traceries, archways, chimneys, and spires. A porte-cochere shelters church visitors as they got out of their carriage’s projects off the west side of the building.

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The Old Church (ex-Calvary Presbyterian)_photo by Steve Morgan via commons.wikimedia.org
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Calvary Presbyterian Church_onlyinyourstate.com
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The old church concert Hall_facebook

7. The Arlene Schitzer Concert Hall

A theatre building and performing arts centre, The Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, is a historic landmark of Portland. It was constructed in 1927 by a Chicago-based architecture firm, Rapp and Rapp in Italian Rococo Revival architecture style. Originally named the Portland Public Theatre, it was renamed the Paramount Theatre and later renamed The Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall when the Schnitzer family donated the final $1 million needed for the renovations. It is one of the last surviving theatre venues and hosts a variety of events.

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Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall,Portland_photo by Zach Savinar
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SchnitzerHall Interior_phoyo by JasonQuigley
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SchnitzerHall LobbyInterior_ jeremy-jeziorski

8. The Meier And Frank Building

This commercial-styled– neoclassical build is registered in the U.S national register of historic places and Portland Historic Landmark. It was the first major project for architect A.E. Doyle. Originally it was designed to function as the Meier Frank department store chain, it has now transformed into a luxurious hotel. Owing to transformations, the building’s interiors have been modernized to retain only a few historical elements, but the exterior, made of glazed terracotta is preserved to its original form. 

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The Meier & Frank Building_sterlingbay.com
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Meier_&_Frank_Building_sunlit_Steve Morgan via wikimedia commons
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terracotta tile detail_wikiwand.com

9. Portland Art Museum

The Portland Art Museum was designed by architect Pietro Belluschi in 1892. It is the heart of Oregon’s Cultural Heritage and houses over 40,000 artworks, some of which include works of artists such as Vincent Van Gogh, Cecco Di Pietro, Albert Bierstadt, and many more. It was renovated in 1992 by Ann Beha Architects. The restoration was done in two parts- the first part has resorted original building and introduced new visitors services, gallery improvements, and climate control. The second part converted former buildings into new museum galleries, shops, and cafes.

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Portland Art Museum_nwcf.pam.org
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Portland-Art-Museum_photo by Daerot via wikicommons
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Interior view Portland Art Museum_photo by Daderot via wikimedia commons

10. Union Station | Portland Architecture

The Portland Union Station is a railway station that was initially designed in 1886 and has been in continuous operation since then. It’s designed in Romanesque Revival style and therefore the entire structure is formed of brick, sandstone, and stucco. Between 1927 and 1930, the station’s interior received a significant redesign. the most waiting hall was completely opened by eliminating the cast-iron columns and a whole mezzanine level. Italian marble was added to the walls and also the floor. Dormers were added to the outside to allow more natural light to enter the station. In 1948, the blue and gold neon “Go by Train” and “Union Station” lights on the outside were installed and are operational today.

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Union Station Portland_photo by  Cacophony via wikimedia commons
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Lobby Portland Union Station_photo by Daderot via wikimedia commons
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Neon Signs Union Staion_photo by Damon Lam

References | Portland Architecture

  1. Wikipedia Contributors (n.d.). Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. [online] Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/.
  2. ‌www.oregon.com. (n.d.). Travel Oregon : Lodging & Attractions OR : Oregon Interactive Corp. [online] Available at: https://www.oregon.com
  3. www.emporis.com. (n.d.). EMPORIS. [online] Available at: https://www.emporis.com/.
  4. oregondigital.org. (n.d.). Oregon Digital. [online] Available at: https://oregondigital.org
  5. ‌www.theoldchurch.org. (n.d.). The Old Church. [online] Available at: https://www.theoldchurch.org
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