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Dennis H. Coalwell

I appreciate the KOIN tower, also. I don't care for the top. I think more thought and design could have gone into the final product hiding the mechanical operations of the tower. Blue is cool but it looks like they used the same type of sheet metal used on farm/industrial buildings. Replace the top with something akin to the Chrysler Building or clad the top with the same brick color/pattern utilized throughout the tower.


I've had more than one out-of-towner friend tell me how much they like the KOIN tower. Part of it was the smoke bellowing out of the top and the night lighting, but one friend referred to it as "sinister looking". I suppose it's a welcome departure from the typically flat-roofed high rises everywhere else downtown.

Dennis H. Coalwell

I like that it comes to a point but don't care for the metal design.....should have been more stylish, imo.
It looks cheap.


My favorite part of the KOIN tower is the stepped brick angled corners, near the top, especially the southeast corner at sunrise.


I will have to agree with the mechanic regarding the Jefferson Condos. When I first saw the design, I thought "that's it?". Located at the bottom of an upscale neighborhood, I would have expected to be more impressed by the design (I do like modern buildings though). Maybe they will add some art sculptures on the sidewalk or plant trees to bring in some color and hide the lack there of on the building. I also agree with other postings regarding the top of the KOIN tower; take the sheet metal back to the farm!


No wild about Koin Tower. It seems dated and built on the cheap. The colors are odd. . . the blue glass and orange brick makes the building seem unstable and an oddity on sunny days. Can't make up it's mind interior spaces also.

When my son was little he called it the 'Tin Man' building because of the top and the steam rising from it. Toot toot. . !


I think it's the pointed metal cap that gives the KOIN tower its distinctive character. While the blue does look a little faded, I think the top needs to contrast with the brick, though personally I agree that a shiny metallic top like the Chrysler Building wouldn't be bad. I think it's interesting that Brian's mechanic seemed so focused on color - something that most architects think of as a secondary decision to make after the really important ones have been made.


Legos! The Koin Tower looks like a clever child built it. Looking at it yields the delight of childish wonder. It should put a silly grin on your face, and you shouldn't be too sophisticated to deny the grin!


I don't know what's happened, whether it's been painted or naturally weathered, but the koin's tin hat used to be much uglier. I kind of agree with anon that the building looks like it's built on the cheap. Too bad, because the tapering shape is good.

I'll agree with the mechanic that the new Civic looks pretty good. That's my impression viewing it from 19th and Salmon. The skyline is more interesting for it.

Not too impressed with the busy, green-glassed Mosaic. I still think it was a mistake failing to devise additional distance for a little breathing room/garden between it and the Old Church. Decision having such long-term negative effects really detract from Portland's character.

I often wonder if architects in Portland are thinking about the potential for allowing something artistic to occur when a building design comes to mind.


Funny, I find the Mosaic one of the best new buildings around because it actually has some detailing (you call it busy). A lot of newer architecture tries for that sleek, flat, boxy modern look (because it’s cheaper? or cool?) which only works as a contrast to more detailed buildings. I think this has been the biggest mistake architecture has made over the years. Architecture has embraced a form that only works in moderation and as a stark alternative to older more detailed buildings Too many architects are trying for that look and have over built using this modern language. Put a sleek flat modern building next to a detailed old church and it looks interesting, put one next to another and it’s down right depressing.

Dennis H. Coalwell

I like the Mosaic as well...

Skinny City Girl

The contrast between the Mosaic, the Old Church, and the Benson is beautiful. It's one of my favorite views walking down 11th. (Unfortunately, the units in the Mosaic are cave-like and use space inefficiently, despite all the design features.)


I'm glad you people like the juxtaposition of those buildings. That's different tastes for you. I like detailing too, for example, some of the Mosaic's street level details. It's the green glass on the upper stories creating a foreground for the church that I don't like. I wonder if it will be there a hundred years from now. Maybe I have something against green glass, because I don't like its effect on PAM's Mark building as used in the south vestibule either.

Does the mechanic work at Rasmussen? I wonder if he has any thoughts about the dealership building. Its unique parking canopy plus the corresponding white fascia for the building exterior makes it work fairly well for the area.


well said craig, i agree


the only thing i can say memorable about the mosaic was that initial rendering that everyone raved over. shards of glass...how sexy it was going to be. NOTHING like what it became! this building is already being pulled apart and problem solved. it does not appear very well put together. The layperson probably likes the playfullness, but the craftsmanship and the spaces themselves have a lot to be desired. as architects we certainly have to find some balance between the sublime, the playful and the functional.


The original design of the KOIN Center building top was supposed to be stainless steel. Once that was costed out it was changed to bare copper. Then it occured to someone what happens when copper corrodes in Oregon weather. And, probably the effort of maintaining it. Rather than go ahead and use copper it was changed to approximate a sky blue. Now it is an oxidized blue sky.

When directing out of town visitors to the building I tell them to look for the brick sheaved ICBM with the blue nose cone that you can see driving in from the airport.

Alex Pop

People say it is a matter of taste. I say you can educate people. Your mechanic might also have an opinion about music, art,etc. And that is fine, little they know why there is a pyramid in top of a building, why that building was the Empire State,etc. There are books about symbolism in architecture. The corners are the negative of the same pyramid or crescent which is a art-deco motif.

Michael Hale

I dislike the KOIN building - it blocks the view of Mt Hood when coming out of the Sunset tunnel. Major loss for the city.

[name removed]

I think that the design is great, and tremendously enjoyed the post.

Keep them up!

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