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Portland Building Perspectives: a virtual panel discussion

News Article
Sign up to attend a virtual panel discussion about the iconic Portland Building, which was designed by Michael Graves as the City's downtown headquarters.

Are you interested in learning about the history, architecture and evolution of one of Portland's most iconic buildings? If so, you’ll want to mark your calendar for Tuesday, May 11 from 1 to 2:15 p.m., when you can watch a livestream event featuring Portland architects and City staff discussing their unique approach to reconstructing the Portland Building.

Located one block north of City Hall sits one of Rose City’s most iconic buildings: the Portland Building. The award-winning postmodern design was created by Michael Graves and built in 1982 to serve as the administrative headquarters for the City. The Portland Building recently underwent a $195 million reconstruction project to address structural, surface and operational systems issues that could not be addressed by repairs alone. After roughly two years of construction, the project was completed at the end of 2019 and the building resumed operations in early 2020. Shortly after reopening, the City closed the Portland Building due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The grand reopening event slated for March 2020 was cancelled due to the emerging public health crisis. 

Exterior photo of the Portland Building and Portlandia

To help celebrate completion of the reconstructed Portland Building, the City of Portland is pleased to present a panel discussion featuring representatives from Michael Graves Architecture and Design and the City of Portland’s project team. Panelists will share stories and insights from the original Portland building and the process of restoring and reviving an iconic example of postmodern architecture. The discussion will provide an opportunity to look back and reflect on the project, which was finished ahead of schedule and on budget. In addition, panelists will discuss the project’s approach to historic preservation and how the building can effectively serve as a government service hub in a post-COVID society.

Panelists include: 

  • Patrick Burke, AIA Principal and Studio Head, Michael Graves Architecture & Design
  • Erica Ceder, Senior Associate and Architect, DLR Group
  • Brian Libby (Moderator), Portland based journalist and critic focusing on architecture and arts
  • Kristin Wells, Portland Building Reconstruction Project Manager, City of Portland

“The renovation project was never just a building. It was an opportunity to modernize not just our workspaces, but also our culture and ways of collaborating,” said the City’s Chief Administrative Officer, Tom Rinehart, whose team managed the reconstruction. “We put best practices in place and used strategies that ensured our success, and will continue to serve us well into the future. We have big efforts ahead of us and we’re excited to put the lessons we learned into action.”

Portland Building Perspectives: Panel presentation is scheduled for Tuesday, May 11, 2021 from 1 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. (PDT). There is no cost to register; people can sign up for the event’s livestream at the American Institute of Architects webpage

Event Learning Objectives:

  • Examine the history of the iconic Portland Building from inception to reinvigoration
  • Examine the rationale and success of the project’s progressive design-build delivery model
  • Explore the approach to preserving the building’s historic integrity and design vision while modifying for building performance and occupant experience
  • Investigate the role of the Portland Building re-design in the context of historic preservation.