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The Portland Building

Michael Graves & Associates, Emery Roth & Sons


1120 SW 5th Avenue


City of Portland


  • Structural Engineer: Desimone Consulting Engineers

Project Status


Year Completed


Construction Cost

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Project Description

The Portland Building is a 15-story municipal office building located in downtown Portland, Oregon. The building opened up in 1982 with a $29 million construction cost and was considered groundbreaking for architectural design, along with the statue of the goddess Portlandia atop its entrance. The site is now a Postmodern landmark, but has been faced with controversy in the past couple of years with possible demolition because it needs renovation that could cost up to $95 million. At the time it was built, Graves also took up design during an energy crisis, incorporating small, tinted windows instead of large, transparent ones which were preferred during that time.

Graves spoke up about this controversy, and in his defense cited his love for color and symbolism in carchitecture, with garlands along the building’s façade that symbolize a sign of welcome.

"It was shimmering. It was so uplifting," he said when he visited the building in Oct. 2014. "I had the biggest smile on my face. It was joy."
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