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Chris Smith

Brian, I believe than in an historic district, the design commission also has a duty to protect the character of the district as a whole, so may judge that the design of a new building detracts from the district's character.


I agree with Brian. Both commissions may have an obligation to protect historic structures although the design commission also has an obligation to assure that new buildings are the best the City can get. Rules for new work in historic buildings is most always to distinguish what is old from that is new rather than having the new work 'look' old. This allows the historic work to be seen and respected for what it was and it and it also allows new work to be the best we can do in our time. I don't see the historic district differently. We should protect historic resources and when there are opportunities for new buildings lets do the best we can. Holst's Apple store should be a great addition to the neighborhood in metal or stone.


"Would the Historic Landmarks Commission have preferred Brad Cloepfil’s gorgeous building have a white picket fence around it? How about a pitched roof with shingles?"

Yes, the commission would have prefered this by there actions of adopting the alphabet district design standards and the overall community design standards in 2000 which outlawed all future buildings of this type in any historic or conservation district or neighborhood plan district that approved them (like albina).

Look around portland and notice that new "modernist" buildings (not single family houses) are basically only in the pearl district, downtown, and areas of SE portland not in a historic district. This is because of the community design standards.


Stop progress. No new designs allowed. We'll just build everything old like.


An englishman would say, "This isn't historic or old, it's just 100 year old crap!"

I guess it all depends on your opinion! I always say if the neighborhood can't survive 200+ years, let it go, it obviously isn't all that worthwhile to maintain it's current stature if after only 1-2 generations people want rid of it.



This whole idea of 'fitting in' - kind of ridiculous for a company like Apple, eh? Architecture should reflect the qualities and inform us, in my opinion, of what goes on in the spaces it defines.

Did people in Victorian Portland (how ironic) purchase laptops and iPods in 1875? Since we restrict architecture in the district - even new architecture - I would argue that, to maintain the historic 'theme' of the neighborhood, people should not be allowed to drive cars, unless they look like 1890s carriages, nor should they be allowed to use laptops, cell phones, or portable music devices - unless they have 'historic detailing' - ie, made of stone, wood, powered by waterwheels, etc. This would be more 'appropriate.'

Tongue-in-cheek aside, this describes the ridiculousness of historic design standards being applied to new structures.

mike conroy

I love older architecture. some of the stuff coming out now seems to lack whimsy and prefab has such a souless quality. there is some interesting new architecture but there are very few firms that do "old" very well. so to enforce historic guidlines on new structures is somewhat redundant but I do believe that new buildings should fit in with the character of a historic district. you wouldn't want something garish like the Lloyd Place Apartments or Caesars Palace for that matter shoved in the middle of northwest 23rd.


the state of architectural design should be allowed to progress, not be tied down by the old (just because it is old) and relegated to mediocrity at the hand of the public's uneducated desire for fake nostalgia. architects have the ability to be those of vision to make conjecture in form of what the future can be.

building to look old or historic or to fit in (subjugation of the new to the old because it is old) is of low quality and creates a shallow architecture. some people desire this subconsciously to perhaps validate the the shallowness of their lives, some just no clue, and others are repulsed by these actions... building with old/traditional methods because they are of high quality or just work well is a different matter (ref the work of gion carminada in switzerland).

i think that the historic character of 23rd (whats left of it with its trendy corporate stores) is threatened and degraded when forcing modern architecture to look like the old without being old. it creates a homogenization that detracts from both the historic and the new. what matters is building a building of high quality to complement the old buildings that have been judged good enough to preserve

as long as the design for the apple store is of quality, represents the era, and is built in proportion to the existing historic context, then it should be allowed.

i like to think that portland is a progressive city. we need to embrace architecture and design that reflects that aspect.

with all that said, i have seen neither the design nor the context.

woody allen

"tradition is the illusion of permanence."

matt johnson

I took a walk down 23rd Street just last night, and most of what is built there is fake traditional. A Pottery Barn with columns made of plastic is NOT an historic building. Nor are the badly planned and now defunct seventies buildings along the street, or the Plaid Pantry parking lot.

What we need in Portland is GOOD DESIGN, period, not historicism. Bad historicism is bad design, and looks bad, and ruins communities, just as bad modernism does.

23rd Street, despite other comments here, is not an historic district. It's a vibrant district with a few good old buildings, a few good new buildings, and a few bad ones.

A well-designed Apple Store, whether metal or stone, would be a huge asset to the street. Unless you live in the 1870s, you'll never again build a Victorian house. The only thing you'll build is a FAKE Victorian house. We live in the 21st century and are fully modern, so why not build that way? Modern buildings are not inherently bad, and they can enhance neighborhoods as well. The openness of the facade of the 2231 Glisan Steet Building is proof of that. It brings tremendous life to that street-corner.

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