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While you are on Broadway you need to point out the Union Bank of California and the Old Imperial Hotel building across the street. You also should make it to 3rd Ave. and show them the Dekum Building which is a great example of how "downtown" moved progressively westward.


I love the building of the Temple Beth Israel on NW Flanders. The Byzantine stule dome and the landscaping are very satisfying. A surprise in a city that does not have a lot to show by way of impressive church architeture (churches made of wood do not impress me unless they are a Stavekirche.) Would be a shame to omit the "Big Pink", that changes so nicely with the change of the light and the sky (reminds me a little of one of my all time favorite skyscrapers, the Hancock tower in Boston with the reflective glass skin) and gives the skyline a little panache, like the church steeples of yore in European cities. American architecture=the skyscraper, be proud of it!


Make sure you correctly tell them it was the Portland Hotel where Pioneer Square is now. The Multnomah Hotel is now the Embassy Suites down between 3rd & 4th on Pine St. A nice building in its own right with some interesting history.
Absolutely the Dekum Bldg. should be pointed out as should Skidmore Fountain and Portland's cast-iron buildings. At the other end Halprin's Forecourt (Keller) Fountain shows the city's more modern side.


the Eliot Tower/ John Ross/ Tram
The towers aren't the most exciting on a world scale but they're the most exciting of what has gotten built recently in Portland. It would also show them what is being built today.

Duncan Kerst

Hi Brian,
I would spend some time on how the public/private process has produced some of the "the good, the bad, and the ugly" in Portland. Two that come to mind are the GSA's Design Excellence Program" with the resulting KPF Federal Courthouse, and the design/build competition for the Portland Building - talk about contrast! Also I think it would be good to talk about Portland's design review process - not many communities have this degree of scrutiny. How effective is this review process? One could go on at length, but my phone is ringing.
All the best,

Agustin Enriquez V

When I give architecture tours to my nerdy architect friends from out of town, I try and always point out our downtown parks, fountains and street trees on the way--compared to other American cities those three things are quintessentially Portland.

If time is there, additional buildings I'd try and show the high school students would be the Central Library, the recently moved Ladd Carriage House, and the nearby churches--I think they'd all make an interesting contrast to the modern and contemporary architecture on your list.

PS I'm not sure I'd include the Thomas Mann Building you have the photograph of for the yamhill District. Its a nice, simple building but not terribly significant architecturally.


The 3 three plazes in the South auditorium area. Most of the "named" buildings are totally overrated. Stick with the buildings PEOPLE actually like, rather then what Architects think are classics. The wisdom of the masses tend to be a better judge.

Agustin Enriquez V

The three plazas are a good idea (but unfortunately probably out of the way).

However, following mass appeal for architecture is a dud of an idea. Follow that train of thought for any other creative discipline: in music you'd treat them to a concert of Brittney Spears, maybe a DVD of Pirates of the Carribean for film, and how about handing over a novel by Stephen King (or make likely a tabloid about Paris Hilton's latest escapades).

I think showing what you like and explaining your opinion will work out very well. Good luck.


Check out AFO's Look Around guide at: http://www.af-oregon.org/pdf/lookaroundguide.pdf or pick up some copies of the brochures from AFO.


If you're going as far afield as the Pearl, you might as well include some of the old-Portland style houses (1890-1920) in Kings Heights above the MAC.


Because I've been giving amature architecture tours to my friends for the last two terms (i'm a PSU student/architecture enthusiast), I'll just give you a quick run-down of a loop I've been doing (that starts where you wanted to start):
Pioneer Square, with surrounding terra cotta, etc.
north on Broadway (on the west side of the street), with various buildings (Union Bank of California, etc)
cross burnside into NW, go one block west on burnside, go North on the North Park Blocks to Davis, West on Davis, see the Armory,
NOTE: time permitting - sometimes i'll take people down 10th to see the eco-trust, Jamison Sq., the Metropolitan (which I love...), and Tanner Springs, then up to 13th, and South on that street to the Brewery bocks, and go East on Couch to 11th.
no time permitting for that big Pearl loop, just looping up Davis, by the Armory, and over to Couch for the Brewery blocks, and then cross back into SW on 11th.
loop continues south on (the west side of the street) 11th, and up to Clay, to see the Museum Place devlopment, the Old Church, the Benson Tower, and then East on Clay to the South Park Blocks. Then to the Museum, Mark Building, etc. Then by the Arlington Club, next to Mr. Moyer's hole, down one more block to the more notable mid-town blocks, then back to Portland's 'living-room'.

Take it or leave it, but it's a pretty nice loop, just in general esthetics, and giving a good sense of the city's old, and new architecture - and what the city is trying to do with development (also, it provides a context for the built envrionment resulting in the Portland Streetcar).
However, this loop does not take into accound the wonderful Italianate structures closer to the river, which are some of the more fantastic older Portland structures... However, the loop could be widened, and in the beginning, rather than going down Broadway, going down to 3rd, and North on that, to Davis in Old town, and up to loop back that way... That would put you right in the middle of some really wonderful buildings on SW 3rd, and in Old Town.

Good luck!


Portland holds many interesting and some provocative buildings. I think the tour should include (in addition to the point out buildings) LEED certified buildings, as well as, buildings that have shaped Portland's past and future skyline. For example, the Wells Fargo Center and the hight limits set after the building was built (the reasons).

This (hopefully) will make the students think a little bit about what the future has in store and what are the social aspects and responsibilities of architects.

You might also find other possible interesting buildings here:


You could include some examples of what residential houses looked like in downtown: the Morris Marks house, the two on the north side of the library (now a cafe, salon, prof. offices) - I don't know if there are any others left near the downtown core.

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