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Interesting that there are no photos of the ground floor showing off the main complaints with the building.

Brian Libby

Hi Allan,

Thanks for your insightful comment. I have just added to the post a photo that includes a view from inside the loggias. You're right that it's useful to have this visual aid. I might also respectfully add that this blog is basically a one-person operation handling most all of the writing, editing and photos, so your patience is appreciated. Additionally, a Google images search may be helpful in providing hundreds upon hundreds of photos that show the ground floor of the building. Thanks for reading, and thanks again for writing in.


The building was an exciting "idea" of the age. Graves drawings are wonderful. However execution of the idea did not follow through. Any architect working has to deal with budgets and committees. To use this as an excuse, especially at 80 yrs old means Graves cannot admit to his failures. The fact is Graves was not mature enough and experienced enough to handle the project. It made history no doubt, but so did Pruitt Igoe.

B. Keath

Brian -

Very well written article. I too, am not a big fan of postmodernist architecture. With that said, however, I can't imagine the building, a historical asset, being torn down. I would love to see his firm team with a local firm and create a wonderfully adaptive, updated reuse for this building, while maintaining an honesty (or connection) to its original design.

David Dysert

I attended the talk and while I was pleased Mr. Graves was willing to participate I was rather disappointed in the lack of depth of conversation from Mr. Graves, Mr. Gragg and the audience. I found it intellectually dishonest of Mr. Graves to simultaneously exhibit hurt feelings over the hostility to his buildings and attack other architects work with vulgarity and venom. (Did the architects who gave a standing ovation in the room hear these?) I also find it a bit troubling a theorist of his caliber who describes his work in terms of historical reference and aesthetic choices as cultural dialogue to be utterly clueless why so many could have such a viscerally negative reaction to his work. In fact this was the very question that needed to be discussed: why would the use of color and ornament produce such hostility? Why is Mr. Graves hostile to modernism? I suppose for some it would be unseemly to engage an 80 year old in a wheelchair whose self-effacing charm made us feel a bit guilty by challenging our assumption we are a “gentle” city. I was surprised by the standing ovation for an architect whose answer to most of the buildings issues was to put a GAP in it. He mentioned the store by name 3 times. Did they underwrite the event? Personally I believe we should renovate and not tear down the Portland Building, but I am not confident Mr. Graves should be asked to lead this task. Perhaps a father is just too close to operate on his own child.


"$24 Million" says the Architect.

All the more reason to resist throwing good money after bad. Level it and build a truly great building in its place.

Save the statue.

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