Next week I will be meeting with a group of summer-school students from Catlin Gabel school in Southwest Portland to tour downtown's significant architecture. The teacher, Peter Schulman, has asked that we survey some different historical periods to give them a sense of the city's design diversity. I obviously have some ideas of what to show them, but also wanted to open this up to suggestions.
Here's what is tentatively planned so far:
The group and I will be meeting at Pioneer Courthouse Square. I'll talk about the old Multnomah Hotel that used to be there, point out the recently remodeled Pioneer Courthouse, discuss the square itself and Will Martin's design for 'Portland's living room', and point out some of the turn-of-the-20th-Century terra cotta buildings by A.E. Doyle and others such as the Meier & Frank building and the Jackson Tower.
I also plan to show the group Pietro Belluschi's Equitable Building (now the Commonwealth) at Sixth and Stark, not only because it's Belluschi, but also because the Equitable was the world's so-called 'first modern office building' with a seamless facade of aluminum cladding and glass. Nearby the Equitable building is also Doyle's US National Bank and the Benson Hotel.
Speaking of Belluschi, I'd also plan to show the kids the Portland Art Museum and talk about Frank Lloyd Wright's letter of support on that project, and point out the new Mark Building with its combination of admirable historic preservation and mixed-bag renovation.
The students will be coming from City Hall, so I don't need to show them that, but I think it's imperative to show them the Portland Building, not just in spite of its criticism but in part because of it. And since we'd be nearby, I'd also love to point out the Standard Plaza by SOM, which may be my favorite Portland building.
I'd also like to try and really point out MAX, even though it's not architecture. Rail transit is really our built icon as much as anything, right?
Some might find it funny if I don't show them any of downtown's tallest buildings, such as the Wells Fargo tower, the US Bancorp tower ('Big Pink'), or the KOIN tower. But Big Pink is the only one I like.
Time permitting, I could also show the group some Pearl District sights, such as the Wieden + Kennedy building, the Armory, Ecotrust and the Brewery Blocks.
Does anyone else have any additional suggestions?