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"Fabric building." What an excellent term. The sort of building that creates the story of a place and adds to the overall sense of a well-lived community. I've admired that addition to the Culver building but never tried to articulate to myself why it is so pleasing. Thank you for an interesting post.


I was a bit confused at first, since the building seems to be at Park and Alder, not Washington.

Brian Libby

Thanks for spotting that error, Mike_p. I've corrected the post so it now list the address as Washington and Alder. Sorry for the mistake - I continually mix up those two streets even after 16 years in Portland. :)

David Dysert

Watching grandfathered surface parking lots stubbonly remain in tact as fabric buidings are torn down--often replaced by 5 over 1 wood framed buildings...a sad trend indeed (the Culver a wonderful counter to this). Unfortunately one of the biggest culprits is not the greedy developer...it's our fear of the big one--the cost to retrofit is too expensive and more creative solutions are required (greater public subsidy not likely)or we will lose more and more.

By no means does this let TMT off the hook. Granted their development has contributed to the economic vitality of downtown. (Let's not take for granted the risks taken--one only needs to see the hole behind Nordstrom) Unfortunately their aesthetic contributions have been less successful. Director Park however is a true urban contribution.

The Twelve West building is a large part of why the Culver building was redeveloped. And while the Food Cart Block is very Portland 2013, that surface lot redveloped could prove similarly catalytic for the Cornelius and similar adjacent buidlings.

The irony is Porland's lackluster economy is largely responsible for the amount of fabric buidlings still standing. That was luck. Let's use brains to keep them standing.


This building is a great little addition to the neighborhood and props to Lease Crutcher Lewis for realizing its value and locating their offices there. However, GBD Architects needs a serious lesson in how to do metal panels correctly on a building. The north wall looks horrendous, as does several other recent GBD projects. It really kills the building to have large expanses of blank wall covered in cheap, oil canning metal panel. At least this one didn't opt for the flesh colored checker board scheme displayed on the east wall of the Janey.

David Dysert

couldn't agree more Charles. Another project that is very interesting but suffers from the same panel problem in a big way is Bside6 on east burnside. The light is not kind to the west side of that building. re: the Janey when you look at the ribbon of metal panel just above the retail windows where the signage is i can't believe it was allowed to be installed in such a poor manner. surely there are superior options with similar cost.

Dennis L

I would rather see the Cornelius Hotel sit vacant for another 20 years than to lose another one of our middle blocks of the city. TMT has already torn down enough along that stretch without fulfilling their promise. I would hate to return home to find an empty lot where a beautiful building once stood, even if that building was nothing more a ghost of itself.

For the price that TMT bought the building for, it should be no big deal for them to do nothing with the building while they wait on their other hole in the ground to magically grow a new building.

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