The old Days Inn Portland City Center is currently undergoing a transformation into an upscale boutique hotel called Hotel Modera that will also bring the work of one of the city’s best firms, Holst Architecture, to downtown.
The intent is to embrace the original mid-century modern original architecture. The five-story hotel has 174 rooms and suites and takes up nearly an entire city block between SW Fifth and Sixth and Columbia and Clay. It will feature an outdoor courtyard that includes a “living wall” of vegetation, fire pits and plenty of seating. The plaza courtyard will integrate the indoors with the outdoors and is intended to provide guests and Portlanders with a place to gather and unwind in downtown. It’s also a big improvement on the ugly surface parking lot that’s been there.
Holst created a new motor entrance and lobby off SW Clay Street to accommodate for the condemnation of the SW 6th Street motor entrance due to the new TriMet MAX light rail lines that will run adjacent to the hotel. Led by project manager Kevin Valk, the architects chose to extend the lobby out of the SW Clay Street entrance and design a courtyard with the extra space.
Through the Percentage for Art Program, TriMet has commissioned Michihiro Kosuge to install his artwork on the downtown transit mall. This will include three sculptures fronting the courtyard of Hotel Modera. The artwork will be created from granite that has been recycled from a fountain that previously existed along the bus mall.
Specific green features of Hotel Modera include a stormwater filtration system in the courtyard, upgraded windows and HVAC, occupancy sensors, added insulation to exterior building shell, and a new reflective roofing to reduce heating island effect.
Perhaps Holst’s biggest project planned to break ground this year, however, is the new Pearl District headquarters for Ziba Design. More on that soon. But for now, it’s great to see that eyesore of a motel downtown be re-imagined, and by Holst to boot.
UPDATE 2/29: It just occurred to me that there are a couple other aging chain hotels in the downtown area that would seem ideal candidates for such a makeover. How about the Sheraton along the waterfront beside the Morrison Bridge? Although my parents spent their wedding night there 40 years ago, I never have once heard of anyone else staying there or even going there.
Perhaps another riverfront hotel, the Marriott, could also stand an upgrade. In its way, it's kind of an iconic building for Portland given its scale and site. But even Bob Frasca of Zimmer Gunsul Frasca, who designed it, has said it's not exactly the firm's proudest accomplishment. What could they do to give this place a fantastic design makeover?
UPDATE 3/5: I've replaced the images with larger, sharper ones.