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Looking up at the copper repoussé statue of Portlandia above the teal tiled entryway of The Portland Building
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Second Time’s a Charm

Designed by the late Michael Graves and considered the building that solidified the postmodern movement in architecture, the leaking 400,000-SF historic landmark – whimsical on the outside but dubbed the tallest basement in the world because of its dreary interiors – had persistent envelope failures that started five years after it opened in 1982. It also had antiquated building systems.

View of beige building with red angular stripe, blue ribbon design at side, over a teal multistory base, surrounded by trees
The Portland Building in Portland, OR by DLR Group. Photo by James Ewing.

For Kathleen Brenes-Morua, the city’s design and construction procurement services manager, the HSW-DLR Group team won the job because of its collaboration skills – among the team members but especially with the owner – and its ability to think on its collective feet.

Now that the renovation is complete, the city is so pleased with the Portland Building makeover that it plans to use the collaborative delivery model again. “We are currently creating a playbook,” says the city’s Facilities Division Manager Kristin Wells.

Read the unconventional solution story in Engineering News-Record.

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