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the words towered and two story should really never be used together....that is like saying a two story home towers over a single story home...

But it is good to see there is still some activity going on to prevent the school from being torn down.


If they are going to tear the building down it seems a tad insulting to replace it with a larger, uglier near-replica.

I assume this was the result of the district trying to be "sensitive" but 1) it looks bad an lacks any originality and 2) creating a false sense of history is at best a useless endeavor.


is that the design in that rendering? or is that a joke?


Sad design but true. It was included in the Notice sent by the City. Seems like adding insult to injury.


Why are they building so large when their enrollment it stable or in decline?

I feel one of Riverdale's unstated goals is to attract tuition paying students who live in the Portland Public Schools catchment area, which clearly harms PPS.


On the subject of unwarranted destruction of historic schools:
Language of Oregon House Bill 2834 was released today which states “Prior to September 1, 2009, the Board of Directors of the Oregon School for the Blind, in collaboration with the Department of Education, shall close the Oregon School for the Blind.

On April 7th there will be rally on Salem’s capital steps to save the historic Oregon School for the Blind.

For 136 years, the Oregon School for the Blind has been a leader in applying assistive technologies and accessible design, and has reached out to a broad spectrum of Oregonians. OSB families and supporters have been constantly on the front line, advocating for the both the blind and deaf communities locally and nationally. With the development of new communication tools increasing exponentially, and the population of Oregon rising, it is unwise to close vital schools that teach and promote the fundamentals of accessibility.

To learn more and get involved call the National Federation of the Blind of Oregon at 503-585-4318.


I don't have enough of a sense of the location to know if size of the new building would overwhelm the neighborhood.

Visually, and based on just a superficial first glance of the rendering above, if that truly is the design that would replace the Doyle if efforts at renewal do not prevail, I'd say it's worth some thought. Already though, I'm not thoroughly thrilled with it. The windows look kind of small and skinny compared to that of the Doyle's.

The main entry composition of doors and windows relative to overall facade area of that portion of the building look kind of small too. I guess the designers are trying to maximize interior space. The cupola looks kind of small too.

If the district is prepared to build it with materials as good or better than those used in the Doyle, it could be a good design.


this has to be an april fool's joke a day late. you can't be serious.

this is the most ludicrous thing i've seen in a long time.

i was ambivalient about the demo of doyle's school - times change, there can be room for improvement, whatever. but this is a mockery.

where's val? val! this is something modernists and preservationists can agree on at least, right?

you can't just hit the scale button in autocad and replicate good design. holy cripes. thank goodness potestio left mahlum, if they did indeed do this, because this is just so...wow.


Honest to God, the very first image that came into my head upon seeing the proposed new school was of a bloated corpse.

I sincerely hope we can find a way to save the school, but if we fail, can't they at least give it a decent burial?


As historicist design goes, I think this looks pretty good. (At least in so far as one can tell from a 1/4" tall rendering.) I like how the larger bays of windows break down the scale to transition from building scale to human scale, and how they go all the way to the ground, completely separating the areas of brick and subtly signally the modern design's difference while still using the historical language. No, it's not cutting edge modern, but does everybody need to be Howard Roark?
This would be a great building for the proper historic context. Unfortunately there won't be any historic context once they tear down the Doyle building! It is insulting to imply that you value historic architecture so much that you're spending millions on a new building 'in the manner' while tearing down a truly valuable piece of history with the other hand. I understand the need for improved facilities, but how about a renovation and addition? It's doesn't have to be complicated or expensive, and it be an invaluable teaching tool for the students about how to preserve the things you value in what is otherwise typically a throw-away society. Please help save this building.


Hey , why not build a glass box around the historic building to increase space , save a famous legacy , and create a 'Teachable Moment' about historic and modern design for generations of impressionable young people !

Oh , it would save a fortune in demolition costs in tough times , eh?


There are three separate, although related issues discussed here:
1. Scale and proportion of a new building proposal compared to an existing building
2. STYLE - Modern versus Traditional
3. Preservation - an historic building designed by a revered local architect

My thoughts:
1. Scale - The proposed building is not in my mind out of proportion within itself. It's two stories tall, a common height for schools. Civic buildings, such as schools, are often proportioned larger than their residential neighbors. I don't think scale alone is the most effective argument to use for preserving the Doyle school.
2. Style - Several commentators above who are the most flamboyantly flabbergasted appear to be of the opinion that architects should not learn directly from the past, that tradition should be shunned as retro, and that the Zeitgeist requires all new building to be sleek, edgy, abstract glass and metal experiments. This newly proposed school appears to have learned from the era of Doyle, and that in itself is a valid way to honor his legacy (although not as honorary as restoring the old building). But it's just silly to believe that great new buildings cannot be steeped in tradition, and must only be 'cutting-edge' modernism. There should be no argument between Modern or Traditional - both are perfectly valid today and in the future.
3. Preservation - i still think in the end the best argument for preservation is preservation itself. If the Portland society values Doyle, then preserve his legacy in this building, AND build upon it. Is there not enough space on the site to both restore the old building, PLUS build a network of new buildings with courtyards between them, thus expanding the campus with buildings closely compatible to the old? A series of smaller one-story buildings would be better scaled to the exisitng Doyle school, and truly build on his legacy. A network of smaller buildings and courtyards better integrates indoor and outdoor, and establishes its own urban form.

(Oh, and the idea of a glass box encapsulating the old building sounds like a freshman architecture project.)


in no way does the new school need to be a sleek, edgy, abstract glass and metal experiment. but to simply take the old building and say it works if you multiply it by 1.5 is an insult to the original and an insult to the general concept of design as a whole. to go into why this is true would take more time than i am willing to dedicate to such a bad idea, but you can't tell me that the best solution to the new program just so happens to look just like the old building, only bigger. sun, wind, light, new building techniques, new programmatic elements, and new philosophies about educational design all coming together to what? to be the same thing only with two stories? this is cheap pandering to an uneducated public that just likes the shape of the old school. mahlum should be ashamed.


Architectural plagiarism. It's one thing to be influenced by someone's prior work, but to destroy the original only to replace it with a steroid version is, IMHO, pathetic.

yes ben, it is a mockery.


"bloated corpse" indeed.

Eric Cantona



Mr. Cantona,
Would you mind if I were to put a capital "S" in front of your most eloquent response?

eric cantona

be my guest.


Hey Laurence , try to be nice , eh. Calling someones idea 'freshman' puts a lie to all your big fancy Achi-jibberish.


I've always been a fan of freshmen architecture projects... maybe it was a compliment? Besides, it looks like the architects at Mahlum need to go back to school themselves.


Two-story elementary schools have NOT been commonly built, since decades ago we learned the difficulty of evacuating hundreds of children in an emergency.



Before ripping apart and insulting the new building design please know that the following information was not included in Jewell's information above:

The new building will educate grades K-8. The old building was for grades 5-8.

The current K-4 structure is literally falling apart and is un-safe.

The new building will have a larger library which will replace the current under-sized library

The new building will serve to move out door covered hall ways indoors and bring current indoor cramped hall ways up to code.

The new building will provide a larger space for special needs kids, which is too small currently.

The total available acreage which can be used for school buildings is less than 4 acres which greatly limits the options for anything but a two story building. The preserved Doyle option, which was strongly considered, had an equally tall two story building adjacent to the existing building.

The decision to replace the building was the result of making education at Riverdale the single most important priority now and in the future.

Every rendition (evaluated so far)of a campus which featured a saved Doyle building and fit within the budgetary constraints from the bond proceeds resulted in sacrifices in programmatic elements which was not acceptable to this School Board.

A tremendous amount of effort went into this decision and I encourage all that feel the need to participate to do so with all of the facts which Jewell does not provide.

This is about a school, a school district and the education of hundreds of students now and thousands to come in the future. Please keep that in perspective before taking sides. It is not just about a building!


I said this before, but again, if the above small rendering of the proposed new building, that visually shares some close similarities to the original Doyle design is what the district intends to build, then replacement seems like it could be a fair proposition, and one that shows some respect to the original. Especially so, if starting from scratch allows the district to use its land more effectively for students best interests than it would if confined to building around the location of the existing Doyle building.

For some reason though, the proposed new building design doesn't look as good as the Doyle's. The Doyle's design seems to convey an inviting, pastoral, rural friendliness. In comparison, the design of the replacement proposal seems more severe and institutional, Victorian. Maybe the windows tall and narrow proportions are part of what gives this feeling. Some fine tuning might make the new design better.

That's just my 'man on the street' thoughts.

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