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Bart King


Joshua Daniel Franklin

More renderings here: http://www.worksarchitecture.net/html/project7_7.html

Any details on floor layouts?


I am actually impressed with this idea, I am happy to hear that they actually took the initiative and went to the PDC to propose something on their land rather than sit around waiting for work to come their way.

At first my only real issue is that the facade didnt make any sense and that their description on their website sounded like architectural poetic garbage, but hearing the reasoning for it as a reflection of spaces more public and more private makes sense...of course there is a hundred different ways one could express this in the facade, but I do like the way they chose to express it.

I do hope to see this come to be a real building for the city. I think we have been moving in a good direction with actual quality architecture these recent years and it would be a mistake to let that go by the wayside.


This is beautiful. Give those trees lots of soil and water them from the top, like rain.


The idea of an expansive, upper level outdoor space is great; a selling point to persuade people to live in towers. I'd love to read the structural engineers explanation of how the structural integrity of a building with that much cantilever supported weight can be viable. The outlying support columns don't appear to be very big.

Of course, the simpler, cheaper to build strongly design for an outdoor space incorporated into a building, would have the outdoor space on the roof of the building. Wouldn't be unconventional though.


If anybody in this city can pull this off, I'm sure these guys can. I think that elevated covered park/social space is very different than a roof garden (and not just because it is unconventional), and who knows, maybe it has one of those too.


The design looks great and I really hope they can get this building built.

Scott R

Wow is right. This is top drawer design. Brian, I couldn't agree more that all too often the tendency to worship the public process for its own sake has in turn yielded some less than glorious results. Really hoping this project gets beyond the concept stage.


So far everybody on this blog appears to love this building. Sorry to disagree.

When was the last time we saw a tower with a vertical bands bent and buckling, a section of floors removed, and the top portion of the tower disjointed? 9-11! The association is uncanny, and disturbing. Not a visual reference we need to construct and live with in our city for generations to come.

The mid-story community space is a perfectly fine idea, which was lifted from the early works of Arquitectonica, which in turn may have been born of Corbu's Marseille Block. But to call refer to it as a courtyard is stretching it. A courtyard on the ground is a very different place that can be entered by the public directly form the adjoining street, which this building does not offer.


i really like this! randy rapaport seems to have a "go big or go home" type of attitude which i kinda dig.

too bad about the comment from laurence comparing this building to the burning wtc... because now that is all i can see.


Hey, Works. Rem Koolhaas called. He wants his building back.


Sorry Laurence, I really dont see the 9/11 reference to it...or at least that wasnt the first thing that popped in my mind when I saw this...but I guess I was paying more attention how the top half transfers its weight to the bottom half, which looks fairly simple.

If I were at Works and had someone compare my building to something Rem Koolhaas would do, I would be impressed, even if it was an attempt to be an insult...You should see his building he did at IIT in Chicago, that is such an amazing Student Center building.


I like the spatial massing, and agree that the mid-level park idea is super Dutch looking in execution (though not specifically OMA). But I don't think I'm buying the conceptual reasoning for the vertical ribbons yet. Maybe it's that they're not quite variegated enough yet, that might just reflect the cost constraints though. It still just feels like a slight nudge away from 70s office tower. It would be nice to see how these undulations actually affect the interior spaces.


For an article supposedly about affordable housing, its sure short on any deals on what makes this concept affordable. Neat architectural sculpture, yes, but what makes it less expensive to build (and thus less expensive to rent) than a very efficient slab or midrise building? What is the building efficeincy? Net to gross? Skin area to livable area? Cost per foot? Cost per unit? Public subsidy per unit? Any details at all other than calling it "affordable"????? You can't just call somethign affordable and pretend that it is. Show me one quarter block building anywhere in the world that costs less per unit to build than the larger, efficient midrise buildings that everyone on this blog loves to hate. There is a reason why building look the way they do, and its not for lack of imagination by developers or architects. The reality of construction costs and financing requirements can't be solved by some clever renderings. Please tell us how this building get's built for anything close to an affordable rent (and don't exclude the massive public subsidy involved). Details please, details...


jeez , it is totally WTC

bob d.

I agree it looks very much like the World Trade Center, which was never known as a well designed building other than being an engineering marvel. It also looks much like a clever re-model of the drab buildings depicted in the background of the renderings. The scheme seems like Standard Insurance or AIG should office there, rather than where a young family might have Thanksgiving.

Essentially, this concept has 2 big ideas: It is clad in wavy vertical bands and has a cut-out. Neither idea is groundbreaking enough to warrant the cost of complex glazing and the lateral resisting structure necessary for that intermediate outdoor space. Particularly, when public funds are at stake.

I am also not convinced that moving the outdoor space to the roof with a big cantilevered roof does not offer the same visual and spatial experience, but without the added structural complexity and cost.

Brian Libby

I agree that the concrete panels do seem reminiscent of the World Trade Center. I actually made this point to Works Partnership when we met.

At the same time, I disagree with the idea that this resemblance is a hindrance to the project or should have been done differently. In fact, what better tribute to the legacy of 9/11 and the WTC than to build an affordable housing project?


Actually looking at the images, the structural complexity really isnt that complex. In the section it shows the placement of the piles, which you just have to follow the lines up to see how the weight of the building transfers. So this building falls well within the standards of cantilevering, and the facade really isnt the most important thing to this building, if they felt that it would have a negative effect, it could easily be changed.

Though I must say, I am more interested in the units this building would be providing and how they plan to keep the costs within an affordable range for people seeking a 3 bedroom unit within the building.

The idea of putting the community space in the middle of the building is probably the best idea about this building because often times it is either stuck somewhere near the base and always has a weird effect or put on the roof, which in Portland isnt the best place to be much of the year. This covered outdoor space could be used by its tenants more throughout the entire year.


I liken this exercise to the new RAC. It seems way overpriced for the affordable population it claims it will serve. At a direct construction cost of $321 a SF for the affordable component (as per HAP website) it is nearly double the cost PSF of a typical 5 over 1 building.

I have to imagine when one considers the structural gymnastics, non-repetitive skin elements and high rise cost premiums, that this project will be even more money than the RAC.

When one realizes that nearly twice as many units can be constructed in the 5 over 1 model for the cost of these projects one really has to consider the validity of this approach.

So please, if you have truly created a new economic model for affordable housing, show us the data to back up your statements. I can't help but be reminded of similar statements Frank Gehry made when he was approached to do an affordable block in the Pearl District and we all know how that turned out.


I am glad someone else saw the WTC resemblance. It was the first thing that came to my mind when I saw the renderings. I don't like the similarities, and this is hardly a fitting tribute.

It may not have been intentional, but some changes will be made before this gets built to make it less reminicent.


Uhhh, yeah, you're missing about a 100 stories for the WTC comparison. I do think it evokes the Standard Insurance Building, Well Fargo Building, and the Lloyd district towers. I'm generally not a fan of that look, but it depends what the vertical elements are made of. One of the renderings made them look like wood, which would do much to soften the look. The Standard Building has the most brutal look with the rough concrete grid. Very depressing in overcast Portland.

I think the mid-level common area is genius. I live in an 18 story building that has a patio on the 3rd floor. It's cool, but you feel the presence of the entire building looking down on you. I like the privacy of this space, as well as the interplay between some covering and some openness to the sky. It's good for plants to get some real Oregon rain.

Finally, we need dense living space that can accomodate moderate income levels. Thank you.

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