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Ben Waterhouse

Gehry's Guggenheim is striking, but it's a failure as a museum. The spaces don't serve the exhibits, and the showiness of the building eclipses the art within. I visited the new de Young in SF last week, and was impressed with how successfully the architecture served the mission of the museum. Imagine that.

I love the shorter tower. It looks like you might cut yourself on it.


was in SF a few weeks ago and I would have to agree, the de Young center was amazing both architecturally and how it served its spaces. It was definitely produced from a firm that understood how buildings should work.

While I am sad this will no longer be the 27 stories, I am quite happy to have Kovel in Portland trying to push his ideas through as an architect. Minus the firms that were mentioned in this article, so few firms in Portland and in general have the balls to try and push though good functioning architecture that really takes design to the next level. Many of our big firms are happy to do the bare minimum when it comes to design, only doing what the client asks for, thus giving the city more sub par architecture.


I'm just amazed how much that area has taken off in the last few years.


i find it ironic that the repeating theme about, "isn't it about time some big local developer handed the keys to and his crew?" above the post about TVA and EVO on National Geographic. I wonder how many of the readers of this post watched that program. Architecture actually has a pretty heavy side to it. It is not about being the cool breeze of the day, or having the hip crowd in tow. Architecture has a real serious aspect to it that could take a company down. A developer or an architect for that matter could be put in a lawsuit over millions of dollars. The casual way that a big developer should give commissions to smaller firms is not very practical and is getting a little trite. The small firms that have succeeded have certainly done so on creativity. i can't help but think how wonderful Holst has solved this problem to make them a stand out firm. After a few of those smaller projects, then you might find a chance for those firms to try the big league. 937 success or failure - you cannot remove Ankrom from the equation - there was certainly some risk mitigation in that choice. Just a little cold water about what architecture is - it ultimately puts millions of dollars at risk - architecture alone is risky, then put a tight knit structure of investors with a small firm at the helm and you have the equation that could ruin any good firm. Architects today are more than just designers, they take care of your money without putting the team in court. Both architects and developers have to make these decisions with caution.

Mike Thelin

Well put Brian. It's interesting that the latest incarnation of modernism in our country is making itself manifest in non-civic projects. The recent wave of so-called "starchitect" towers in New York's Chelsea and Lower East Side are proof that the highest and best use scenarios are calling for a little more flair than usual. I hope it's only the beginning of something.


It looks nowhere near as exciting as if it were 22 (or 44) stories high...A firework that fizzled.


I guess at this rate we'll forever be stumptown, with stumps for skyscrapers.


That is really too bad. The design is amazing. I think you have to go to Skylab's page to do it justice. I wish it were one of the tallest buildings in the city, rather than only 9 floors. I get apprehensive when I feel that people aren't taking a long term view of a project. I know that shrinking the project makes the numbers work. I just think that in the not too distant future we are going to look at this beautiful, short, relatively new building on prime real estate and wish that we had expanded upon it when we had the chance.


"amazing" is an overstatement. a badly proportioned shifted grid with diagonals over a rip-off holst base. i would hate to have to detail that PT beast - is myhre group still on the hook for the waterproofing?


nice looking building, although i think it would be much more powerful if it were taller like originally planned. portland needs this kind of architecture, at the very least so we can all stop whimpering about how we don't have any dramatic buildings.

HOWEVER, does anybody care that there is a perfectly good building already in its place? i also just heard that the old eagle building used to be a jazz club and recording studio (if i am not mistaken). although the eagle is not listed as a historic landmark, it still offers quite a lot to the street. look at what happened when that dusty old bookstore opened up its windows and became an american apparel (bam! - the city feels young again). and the same thing is about to happen next to the annex.

have you looked at the contextual renderings of the 409 (ironic name) on the skylab website? its frightening. this building completely ignores the historic context all around it. there isn't even any real communication between floor heights to the crystal adjacent. and then a completely blank facade extending 4 to 6 stories straight up along the east side of the crystal. i guess mcmenamin's could project movies onto that wall, but come on. this is not how we are supposed to treat our neighbors, especially neighbors classified as landmarks. i expect better from jeff kovel. if you insist on building on this site, purchase the air rights above the crystal so that you can have openings on the west wall (hello sunsets!) and build a masterpiece that is beautiful on all sides. if you build a brand new blank wall free of historic advertisements, portland will never forgive you even if one side is pretty.

better yet, go build on the burger king site and leave the eagle to somebody who wants to restore it.


fyi- kovel is seeking design advice today at 1:30 for this project.


yeah he could use it. this is almost as hideous as 937


I like 937!


i like the 937, but even with all of the windows it feels very heavy and imposing, almost like a communist fortress (except that not everybody appears to get a balcony). i don't know - maybe its the brick or maybe its because its trying so hard to not be heavy. its also being held together by duct tape.


It's the brick. The building has a nice proportion, but the materials are kind of depressing. It's the great building that wasn't in my opinion.

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