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Has the city, or could the city issue an RFP to see what kind of users might come forward to rehab this project? I'm thinking along the lines of the Centennial Mills RFP.


Nice building, crummy materials=high maintenance, but then, this building has been there for so many years. I suppose it's not all as bad as it seems to me.

The intensive restaurant/bar route seems to have been a bad one for this building. Something simpler, like the architecture of the building itself, would likely make more sense. I think I've mentioned in past, I wish that Portland garden fans would make a stand and call for some kind of display garden around the building. In fact, maybe the homebuilding industry and the nursery industry could somehow effectively use this building combined with inspired landscaping to promote their businesses.

The OSU event (tonight, apparently)sounds like a good one to attend.


The building has not weathered well with the restaurant in there. I looked in and around the building recently and it needs a lot of work/restoration to make it look nice.

Other than being a building by a noted Portland designer, I don't like it. I've seen other residential buildings by Yeon with a lot more interesting NW modern design than this.

I hope the architecture students at the University of Oregon come up with some interesting ways to preserve this building because I'm not seeing it.


I showed up at UO Portland Center and couldn't find the thing.

Anyone else have the same problem.

I might just be dumb.

Paul Falsetto

First off -- thank you, Brian, for posting the open house for my University of Oregon design studio, which went off well last night and was nicely attended. I apologize to Miguel – it was misreported that the event was to be held at the Portland Center. It was actually at the former Visitors Information Center itself, where students displayed historic images of the structure, along with large printouts describing their research on the building’s historical, physical, stylistic, and political context. Their work shows a structure who’s immediate context has changed quite significantly over the years (for images, please refer to Bob Zaikowski’s wonderful website: http://www.portlandmodern.com/feature_storys/Yeon_visitor_center/Yeon_gallery.html).
Originally bordered by the major circulation routes of Front Street and Harbor Drive, and set within a very industrial waterfront area, Yeon’s building was much more visible and noticeable than today. This building was considered to be the first, pure example of the International Modernist style to appear in the city (Belluschi’s work, some of which predates this building, didn’t tend to harken back as strongly to Mies, Gropius, et al). Its radically modern design allowed it to easily stand out from its background, and proclaim to all its visitors that Portland was indeed a progressive town, with eyes directed dead ahead to the future. Once inside the building, Yeon’s sensibilities take over in a manner easily evident in his residential work. The thoughtfully-detailed use of wood, the use of fenestration carefully distinguished for views/light/ventilation, and the connection to the outside via a sheltered patio with focused views of the Willamette and Mt. Hood make this a strong example of his recognized design sensibilities.

Today, very little of this is evident, but it is not all lost. A straight-up restoration could bring back some of that past glory, but I think only tangentially as the current context is so very different, with its own well-developed personality. As they begin the design phase of the studio, our students will need to address this issue and many others, such as finding an appropriate and (somewhat) feasible use of the building. Their explorations will most likely be freer than what one might find from professional design and development teams dealing with hard pro formas, but that should be expected and even appreciated. The final presentation for the studio will be on August 15th, and open to the public at 7pm.

Upon the studio’s completion, Portland Parks and Recreation will distribute a Request for Qualifications for development proposals, and at that time we’ll get to see ideas generated by the professional community. I could only hope that this communities’ noted sensitivity, ingenuity, and predilection for collaboration will produce worthy solutions, for I think the memory of Yeon and his little visitors center deserves nothing less.


Wow... I cannot win.

I followed the link Mr. Falsetto posted, nothin'! hehe

I think the proper link is as follows:


I got clever and went looking for it on my own. I wish i had been clever enough to figure out that the location was misreported. It sounds like it was quite interesting.



Ah, the mis-linking was not Falsetto's fault. Just a quirk of the blog format. Just copy and paste that and you should be good.


is it the building that is worth saving, or the fact That yeon designed it?


I'd say, for the design, the building is worth saving. If you take a look at some of those old photos of the interior, your appreciation of the building might improve.

I didn't take a look at the pics in the link above, but I've seen pics of the interior before. It was originally a minimalist treatment, natural woods, as they say, showcasing the northwest's natural resources. What I saw struck me as evoking a cool, contemplative and restful mood. In order to make it work with the exterior, it needs a setting to support its inherent character. That's why personally, I'd be interested to see some sort of a garden be developed around it. I really like the one just south of McCormick and Schmicks on the marina. If something like that were situated around the POVIC, the class this building has would be a whole lot more visible to most people.

I cant remember the view from inside the building to the east very well. Something I feel is really important, is for there to be as unobstructed view of the river and the riverbank to the east as possible. Vaguely, I seem to remember that from the old photographs I'd seen, this wasn't so much the case. The sea wall kind of stuck out there. Could be wrong though.

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