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Didn't we already do this, and decide the building is not all that great?



Brian, you make a great point about how generations view the architecture of their predecessors. Buildings from the mid-20th century are in grave danger across the country because it is a tough sell convincing people of their architectural value. In the very least it is important to photo document this building - in detail - prior to any work being done on it or before it is demolished (let's hope it isn't). Maybe the building owner will be open to allowing such a project. There are a few ways to draw attention to buildings of the "recent past," check out what the National Trust for Historic preservation has to say about such buildings at this link: http://www.preservationnation.org/issues/modernism-recent-past/.
Another site that helps document endangered buildings is the Recent Past Preservation network: http://www.recentpast.org/index.html


The building isn't that great. Still, I'd be in favor of keeping its square and rectangle facade design for what it adds to the area's context. There is something really simple and cool about being able to do something fresh with a combination of basic shapes. Being sandwiched between buildings of other more traditional facade styles really perks the area up.

I say enjoy it while it can last there as a low level structure. At some point the vultures of enterprise and profit will swoop down on the lot and insist that a much taller building makes far more sense.


Well stated. Last weekend I took a friend from Melbourne on a brief walking tour of downtown. As we strolled down Second and First Avenues toward the hopping Saturday Market, we passed a number of small storefront buildings of the 1870s/80s cast-iron era, and I felt both grateful and amazed that they had survived to the present at all - they certainly weren't Blagen Blocks. They are exactly the kind of unremarkable and easily dismissed sub-great architecture that the Checkerboard represents - period-expressive fabric buildings of contextual character that carry within them an essential part of the city's architectural and cultural story while sitting smack dab on real estate that represents a different kind of value altogether. While Portland's downtown has perhaps 20 or so buildings of the cast-iron era woven into it's fabric, I wonder how many it has right now to carry the mid-century message to future generations?


As you all discuss the merits of preservation, please take this comment from the last time this building was discussed on this blog into consideration...

The quirky checkerboard colors aren't original, but were added in the early 90s. When Paul Gold (a prominent downtown landowner from 1951 to his death in 1981) built (rebuilt) the building in about 1962, he put in uniform orange panels. There was a building near PSU that used the same wall system and orange panels below the windows.


The checkerboard colors aren't where this building's fundamental strength is. In real life, they're actually faded and drab, not like what you're probably seeing in the pic above.

The building's strength is in the appearance lent it through the use of the modular construction system incorporating simple squares and rectangles of opaque and glass material.


The building should communicate that the lot it sits on cuts through the entire city block with only a quarter block exposure on either side.

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