The Portland Building, home to the administrative offices of Oregon’s largest city, is facing a $95 million overhaul to address extensive water leaks and seismic improvements. Designed by Michael Graves—Contract’s 1981 Designer of the Year and 2013 Legend Award recipient—the postmodernist structure opened in 1982 as a colorful architectural landmark. It joined the National Register of Historic Places in 2011.
Over the years, however, the building has experienced structural deficiencies. In 1998, the city of Portland spent $9 million to repair sagging floors, and officials say that a moderate or major earthquake would lead to significant structural damage. What’s more, “city employees have long complained about sloping floors, small windows, and lack of natural light,” according to the Oregonian.
The renovation announcement has prompted discussion among architects and preservationists on whether the building is worth saving. Although some city commissioners have weighed in on the subject, officials say they will take their time to make a final decision.
Photo by Steve Morgan