Michael Graves's Portland Building Faces Demolition Threat

Jan 14 '14 17 Last Comment

Jan 14, 14 1:24 pm

You could link to the article instead of to your own forums. 

wurdan freo
Jan 14, 14 1:37 pm

Looks like a piece of shit... functions like a piece of shit... probably smells like a piece of shit too. Tear it down...

Non Sequitur
Jan 14, 14 1:45 pm

Is it bad that I prefer the Portland Building to the Folk Museum?

Jan 14, 14 1:57 pm

I would not design anything like this, but I think it is an important structure.  Probably the most significant post modern building.  I hate the idea of trend and style.  Just because it is out of "trend" its ok to destroy....Architecture is not valued by trend/style...that is completely 100% insignificant....its value is rooted in its historical significance, functional significance (as a landmark or an infrastructure), and artistic significance.  I wish people could refrain from valuing buildings based upon "the current trend factor" and start looking at things in more of an anthropological way.  Architecture is not "subjectable" to the "red carpet fashion" hot or not bullshit.  "Its so last season, tear it down."   

Jan 14, 14 1:59 pm

Preference is insignificant.  Value is not based on preference.

Jan 14, 14 2:10 pm

Buildings don't exist solely to provide pleasure or explore concepts. There's a program and a purpose beyond the philosophical which enabled it to be built. A failing building which requires more capital to fix than can be found is not worthy of saving regardless of other merits. It isn't functioning as a building and should only be kept if there is a worthiness as a ruin. If a sponsor would like to step forward and provide the money to save it, fine. Otherwise it's like a piece of art that nobody wants to own. The difference being that it's more likely to become a public safety issue than the bad sculpture in the local art gallery.

Jan 14, 14 2:20 pm

Disagree, most historic buildings function poorly to todays standards.  We keep them around for other reasons. 

Jan 14, 14 2:25 pm

There's a far cry between functioning poorly and "leaky and structurally deficient." 


What would you do with a classic Burnham design which nobody wants to purchase and renovate, is completely vacant, and is rotting due to the roof failing? Is it worthy of saving from an architectural history standpoint? Yes. But it's simply a dangerous living quarters for the homeless as it is.


I dislike the Portland Building for a variety of reasons, but unless there's someone willing to fork the cash, it's irrelevant how I feel about its importance. 

Has anyone even done a cost analysis and compare restoring it vs. demo and rebuilding?

It seems like the owner is trying build a different type of building at the site. That is another story,

Maybe the owner can sell the building to someone else and use the money to buy another piece of land and build the new building at another location?

Gang Chen, Author, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

daniele scarpa kosdaniele scarpa kos
Jan 14, 14 5:00 pm

>>>shame! I adore the formal coherence of the project-drawings, ideal example of POMO imaginary

Miles JaffeMiles Jaffe
Jan 14, 14 6:04 pm

Pete, The Portland Building is not the Flatiron Building. Not even close.

The two don't belong in the same book, let alone the same paragraph. A turd doesn't require preservation because it's the first of it's kind, or the biggest one yet.

Donna SinkDonna Sink
Jan 14, 14 8:59 pm

Miles, have you ever been to Portland? I like the siting of it very much - though some people complain that it doesn't front on the Park, it *does* address the park with one decorative facade while addressing a major street (I think it's the transit mall, too) on the opposite side with the main entry and Portlandia sculpture.

And you just really can't overstate the importance of this building, even with its problems.  It would be short-sighted to demolish it.

Frankly, it's just an office building.  As I've said on the news item about this, I'm generally deeply opposed to facadectomies, but in this situation it might be a really great, even innovative, solution: keep the gift-wrapped box (updated and refreshed) but build an entirely new body inside with more light from above, earthquake-proof structure, and green technologies for HVAC etc.

Miles JaffeMiles Jaffe
Jan 14, 14 9:07 pm

No, but I've always hated the building, all applique and no substance. Gragg's review is not exactly an endorsement for preservation.

Graves’ original, garland-festooned confection was value-engineered to a graphic study of color and pattern. The interior is a miserable place to work: the tiny windows yield little natural light (Johnson’s Arab-Oil-Embargo-era competition prized energy efficiency which, with the technology of the time, was a building with no windows.) And then there’s the building’s urban design: city officials wanted the main entrance to face the then-new transit mall, but ironically, still wanted parking in the building for themselves—thus, a cavernous garage door faces a city park. As one architecture critic wryly put it: “Where you expect dignity, you get the building's anus.”

daniele scarpa kosdaniele scarpa kos
Jan 15, 14 7:10 am

>>>to get a better understanding of the importance of this project it's really necessary another step: it should be compared with Graves drawings

Graves: “Architecture cannot divorce itself from drawing, no matter how impressive the technology gets"

Jan 15, 14 9:10 am

The great part about that is we will always have the drawings.

Miles JaffeMiles Jaffe
Jan 15, 14 10:05 am

<sigh> The single biggest problem in architecture is that so many architects don't understand that their drawings are abstractions. Which often explains why their buildings are such worthless pieces of shit. 

Strike that, even shit has more value. It can be used as fertilizer.

Jan 15, 14 10:07 am

I have been told to design for the photograph. It makes me sad.

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