Strangest thing being built in your city!?


So I see this all of the time while driving around in Portland. It is under construction and I am very interested to see it completed. It is...well...weird! What is the strangest thing being built in your city?

Sep 19, 19 4:58 pm

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All 26 Comments

Keep Portland Weird!

Sep 19, 19 5:06 pm

Where's the damn 'like' button?


Hmmmm..... did OBAE just begin licensing pre-school and kindergarten age children as architects?

It's something I'd expect to see a child draw in crayon. Weird.... likable in a weird way.... perhaps.

Sep 19, 19 5:52 pm

It's almost done lol

Dec 5, 19 2:31 pm

It. is. not good

Dec 5, 19 2:33 pm

Ugh.... anyone thinking in terms of landscape time? Important aspect when you are using plants. Has there been consideration in how big and tall those plants will grow and in turn the depth of their roots? Either the plants will die by being root bound or it will grow too tall. In any situation, it is still a problematic situation. Access to the plants seems to be awkward.


I trust they thought about it.


Can you tell me what the species are? I probably can find scientific information about the root depth and growth height but I think those will grow a bit. How tall will they be in 30 years? 15 ft? How deep would the roots be? It probably will die in the "pot" before hand.




Pretty sure the architect knew how to google too.


Ok, got it. Strawberry trees is what I could so far find. ( ). These trees grows 10-15 ft. and sometimes 20-30 ft. in height. There are of course a variety of species that will grow to about 5-10 feet. Is it an "Elfin King" variety which would work great in that pot size and planned growth. "Compacta" would work size wise but also the 'Oktoberfest' variant. You would have to choose a species variant that has a compact growth.


Tduds, I don't hate the design. I may have criticized it but it doesn't mean I hate it. It might not be on the most favorite designs but I seen stuff far f---ing worse.


That's a strange building indeed.


I'm ok with the Charlie Brown trees in sap buckets.  But what's with the graphics? It looks like the architect inherited a lot of Pennsyvlvania-Dutch-inspired Contac shelf paper from his hoarder grandmother's 70s stash.

Dec 5, 19 2:38 pm

May end up literally becoming dead Charlie Brown trees in those pots once they are root bound. Trees have died for that reason.


Oh unclench Rick. They had an arborist and an irrigation specialist among the consultants on this.


We will see if they did a good job but in a matter of time.


PS: I don't hate the design.

Featured Comment

Disagree. I think it's fantastic

Guerilla / Kevin Cavenaugh is one of the few developers working in Portland who's taking risks & keeping a sense of whimsy in what's becoming an increasingly buttoned-up design culture. It's not his best building, but it's a great experiment. 

I'm excited to watch these trees grow.

Also hello fellow Oregonian. Didn't realize you were in my hood.

Dec 5, 19 2:41 pm

I live two blocks from it and every time I drive by it makes me cringe. I do agree though, Guerilla does push boundaries which I love, but unfortunately, this one isn't successful. Portland in the house!


It's no Dumbbell, that's for certain.


Cavanaugh is just in charge so the buildings are more modernly design-y because he, as the developer, has his own finger in the design effort. But, meh, the design work is purposely thin...much like any developer, it's about the pro forma, with design as a tack-on. Anyone else see similarities to the Portland building on this tree appliqué confection box?

Agree with you, tduds. It's a very cool building, and all of the other work by Guerilla looks great too!


I like it.  But I designed it in 1980 with some scissors and a Kleenex box, as my Smurfs' city home.  I'm suing.

Dec 5, 19 2:43 pm

I like it. It's simple and executed well.

Dec 5, 19 2:55 pm

It's 100x better than this fucking garbage:

Dec 5, 19 2:56 pm

Well.... hmmm.....


Holy crap that person must be huge.

atelier nobody

This is Los Angeles - we don't build anything strange, we just export strange architecture.

We used to build strange things, like giant doughnuts, but not anymore...

Dec 5, 19 4:10 pm

Guerilla Dev is an awesome little company, one who's model I wish will be introduced throughout the country.

Dec 5, 19 4:26 pm

Did anyone ask the trees what they think?  Those trees look really unhappy.  How would you like to be crammed into a galvanized steel bucket and strapped to the side of an ugly building?

Plants want to be in the ground. 

Dec 5, 19 5:24 pm

Let's not forget the purpose of this thread... I wanna see strange construction in other cities too!

Dec 5, 19 5:29 pm

an erection

Dec 5, 19 6:55 pm

I drive by this ugly thing every day on Lincoln Blvd., here in Venice.  Lincoln is maybe the ugliest street in LA, so it fits right in.  And it's covered by this "scrim" (architects seem to love that word, "scrim") that's made of some kind of expanded plastic egg-crate material that has fried and warped in the sun, and is now a kind of sickly orangy-beige.  It's nauseating.

Dec 5, 19 7:03 pm

it's interesting though how it actually looks exactly like a crappy rendering of an interesting idea. also the scale is strange - it seems like it's much too small in person.


Took a page out of Rem's book Rem Koolhaas cool house

admittedly, I think the LA building is an interesting building. I'm sure it's awful in person, but in the photo it looks awesome ha

Dec 5, 19 7:52 pm

Here's a shot of it I took this am as I was driving by. Note the "for sale" sign. Nobody's leasing the building because the thing is so damn ugly. Avant-garde architects experimenting with form and materials, and we all have to live with the consequences for years after they have moved on to the next experiment.


Why does it only have like 5 or 6 windows? What is it even?


Erik's right, it's awful. I've driven by it a hundred times and thought, "What the hell...?"   In stark contrast with a few blocks north, around Superba Avenue, and the hundred-year-old single-story, brick storefront buildings that are awesome.

it’s interesting, alright. :(

Dec 6, 19 12:09 am
Happy Anarchy


Dec 6, 19 12:43 am
go do it

This has been voted the ugliest building known to mankind by me 

it was put together with yard sales treasure finds

Dec 8, 19 1:28 am

If that's the urgliest building you've ever seen you've led a very sheltered life.


Looks like a repurposed Chili's

Pretty much every one of Gehry's buildings tops that. As do most buildings by Stern, Johnson, Nouvel, Mayne, Foster, Venturi, Graves, Meier, etc.


Couldn't disagree more Miles. That credit union is what happens when we design "memories" of places in which they don't belong. Like designing a Tuscan paradise in the middle of Lincoln, Nebraska... oh wait, that's Olive Garden nvm

It's a matter of scale. A large pile of shit is more offensive than a small one. Not that there is a shortage of either one. Reference Sturgeon's law.


Well in terms of shitness - there's definitely not much of a difference between that credit union and the Denver library but there's a universe of difference between that credit union and 41 cooper square.

Yeah, that building didn’t nearly bankrupt the credit union or cause thousands of students to lose their tuition aid.


Cooper union should have been more responsible with their money.. Thom Mayne isn't their lawyer, accountant or financial advisor, he's their Architect. Morphosis delivered a great building that will likely be there for another 75 years, adds benefit to the urban context and architecture as a whole. Whether you like the design or not, it's a part of architectural history. The credit union is a waste of resources that will be torn down in 15 years, replaced by another pos and adds nothing to the practice other than a lesson to not reproduce it. I get it, you don't like Mayne, but I don't get why you're defending the trickle-down cultured stone hunk of junk from suburban sprawl in spite of his work. To each their own man

And Mayne should have been more responsible with the budget. I’m not defending your shitty commercial building, as I said it’s a matter of scale. Multiply that credit union by a few hundred and you’ve got pretty much every crappy commercial strip development in the US. You really need to look up Sturgeon’s Law.


I know what you’re saying, I just don’t agree.

go do it

While I don't particularly care for the architecture of Gehry, Zaha, and Libeskind I can appreciate their efforts in producing "art" of a sort. I just can't see what they are trying to broadcast. Although I like the structure of the Samuel Freeman House by FLW the ornament is to much for me personally. The credit union I would argue is not architecture at all but a regurgitation of ideas and materials thrown into a garbage disposal and fished out of tank #1 at the waste water treatment plant then slapped onto some size D paper. But what do I know I can't even appreciate a banana duct taped to a wall !


is your link right Go Do It? what does this have to do with yard sale treasure finds. it's boring and tasteful in the careful way of unsophisticated people.

go do it

mid - poetry doesn't need to make sense :)


"Love this City Tower" in Denver... barf

Dec 9, 19 1:14 pm

Reminds me of Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom, I like it


That ARUP tower is a trip to see in real life. Always liked that one


I always thought this was the new Burger King headquarters building, but no....

Dec 9, 19 6:35 pm

It's as if God took a bite out of it.

LOL citizen. That's an excellent way to describe that building, which I've always despised.


Of course, He spit it out right away.


Unpopular opinion but I really like this building.

I kind of like it too. There was a drone fly-through video of the building prior to opening that I thought was great. If you get motion sick, I'd recommend covering the right side of the video ... actually, just cover the right side anyway:


I've always kind of liked it, too, actually. The scalloped roof is the least convincing part for me, though.

go do it

While I don't particularly care for the architecture of Gehry, Zaha, and  Libeskind I can appreciate their efforts in producing "art" of a sort. I just can't see what they are trying to broadcast. Although I like the structure of the Samuel Freeman House by FLW the ornament is to much for me personally. 

The credit union I would argue is not architecture at all but a regurgitation of ideas and materials thrown into a garbage disposal and fished out of tank #1 at the waste water treatment plant then slapped onto some size D paper. 

But what do I know I can't even appreciate a banana duct taped to a wall  ! 

Dec 9, 19 11:14 pm

Nothing there to appreciate. It’s an insult to working artists in the same way that outlandish designs and philosophies are to working architects.


this is one of those threads that brings out all the don't actually like architecture building designers...

Dec 10, 19 8:35 am

Noted. I’ve been trying to avoid those but here we are

We don't have any strange/cool things being built in Indy, but the newest bike lane (2-way, semi-protected, signalized, with parallel car parking between it and car traffic lanes) has people (by which I mean DRIVERS) absolutely losing their shit and THAT attitude is strange!

Dec 10, 19 1:05 pm

Ugh that bike lane is super dangerous. It's only a matter of time before someone runs a red left turn light while they and the bike both have green lights and someone dies.


Sounds like the car is super dangerous, not the bike lane.


For sure, But the bike lane gives cyclists a false sense of security.

I was in the same boat as JL when a similar lane was installed where I live. I avoided it at all costs, and when I needed to ride on the same street, I'd ride in the regular traffic lane to make a point (I too like seeing drivers lose their shit). There were even collisions from drivers left turning on red when the cyclists had green. After a while though, people have learned to adapt to the new signals (drivers and cyclists both) and it has demonstrably increased cycling through that part of the city in a way that is comfortable for the majority of users. 

I've even started riding in the bike lane. It helped when I realized that even though I was comfortable and felt safer taking a regular traffic lane because of my experience, most people who might take up cycling as a way to get around the city did not. It's pretty easy to tell a spandex-clad racer, or a tatted-up bike messenger, to take a lane ... it's different when it's a 10-year-old riding to school, or a business person on a bike-share getting across town for a meeting. 

I'd also argue that with cars parked in the open parallel spaces, it's no longer a false sense of security. Really anything that increases the number of cyclists on the road is increasing the safety for other cyclists. The security isn't necessarily from the infrastructure itself ... it's from the change in attitude the infrastructure causes. Sounds like it should work out well Donna.

I've ridden it a lot, on a bike share bike. I love it and feel much safer in it than in a car lane.


Would be nice to see some planters on that bike lane

I like the planters with incorporated foot ledges so when you're waiting for the light you can put a foot on the ledge and stay in the saddle.


^ those are cool.


I guess its just a growing pain of these structured bike lanes. once enough people get used to it it wont be as bad. I just don't like trusting that vehicles will obey the law and stop at that left turn light while everyone continues on green or with no signal. I would feel way better about the image Donna posted if there was a dedicated turn lane. I'm so nervous every time I ride in one of those cause it feels like the cars turn across two lanes and no one sees bikes. We try to mimic places like Copenhagen but without the bike culture. People just don't look and there is a point where parked cars, planters ect. are just concealing bikes more. It feels safe on the path, but in the intersection you have had less visibility and interaction leading up to it and more chance for collision. On a bike you lose.

Jonathan maybe it's hard to see but there's a green light for bikes that is on simultaneously with the red left turn light for cars. So, assuming car drivers are paying attention, there's no conflict. Of course, we have already heard people say "But I saw a green light!" as they turn across the bike lane - apparently they didn't notice the green was *in the shape of a bicycle* - they saw green and thought GO. It's all about unlearning habits - as you say, we don't yet have (in Indy) a bike culture that cause drivers to include bikes as rightful equal users of the space.

A sign indicating that the bike signal is a bike signal could be helpful. It also looks like the traffic signal is only for the left turn? Maybe it’s just the perspective of the photo.

Is it aligned with a dedicated left turn lane?


@Donna. I get it. My concern is primarily that bikes and cars get complacent thinking that everyone is going to obey the law. They don't. On a bike you cannot assume anything, and stay safe. Ultimately in a conflict the bike has far greater consequences because it is not protected by a steal cage. This bike lane set up does not allow for negotiation, there is no turn lane, traffic in the adjacent lane is traveling at speed, when they decide to turn and don't see the light, its going to happen quick. Blind spots are increased, and your safety depends on others to obey the law. The separation created by the parked cars can obscure yours and the cars view of you in the lane, which takes away the bikes ability to stay safe and avoid conflict. It may feel safer cause you have the "right of way" but the bike doesn't ever actual have a right of way in the laws of physics. Cars are more equitable in safety between each other, so we can rely more on agreed laws and traffic signals. I just don't like putting my safety in the hands of others. Stay safe. Stay alert. Don't assume you are safe because a light tells you you are.


They have them in Denver. My complaint is they use left turn lights to cross them regardless of the low volume of bikes (like Donna's photo; not a bike in sight). So... vehicle traffic backs up really bad blocking the through lanes. There needs to be some sort of control system or maybe a flashing red so you stop, look and go if the coast is clear.


Although this is not in the town I live in, it is in a town nearby.

Dec 10, 19 3:50 pm

Someone worked really hard on this


I got a solid giggle out of this one

go do it

not my cup of tea but if you like a bunch of vaginas on your all means


At least its not faux wood grain

atelier nobody

go do it - a bunch of vaginas would be a distinct improvement.




sure it's not mold?

In Denver, as I suspect elsewhere, the "winning contestant" it could be argued isn't one specific building but the FUGLY and generic 5 over 1 that runs rampant. As for the building I was most looking forward to in 2019, that is/was Platte 15 the city's first CLT-as well as an adaptive-reuse-project.

Jan 13, 20 5:56 pm

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