SRG Partnership has recently completed work on Portland State University’s Vanport Building. Four important Portland institutions—the PSU Graduate School of Education, the OHSU|PSU School of Public Health, the PCC Dental Programs, and the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability—join forces at the Vanport Building to share workplace resources as part of a shared commitment to improve the city of Portland through sustainable and responsible development. Each tenant can become more than the sum of its parts by working to expand community impact and enhancing each other’s programs under one roof. The seven-story, 175,000 gsf, LEED Gold project, which is situated at 4th Ave and Montgomery St and is serviced by public transportation, thoughtfully positions outdoor areas, the landscape, and the building form and expression to anticipate potential future expansion.
Four key Portland organizations come together at the Vanport Building to share workplace resources as part of a joint effort to improve the city of Portland through sustainable and responsible growth. Each tenant can become more than the sum of its parts by working to expand community impact and enhancing each other’s programs under one roof.
The Vanport Building in downtown Portland is a seven-story, 175,000 GSF building that houses this diverse group of building occupants, including the PSU Graduate School of Education, the OHSU|PSU School of Public Health, the PCC Dental Programs, and the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. The project, which is situated at 4th Avenue and Montgomery Street and is surrounded by public transportation on all four sides, strategically positions outdoor areas, a landscape, and a building’s form and expression to foresee potential future development.
The project adopted a profoundly integrative process that favored effective decision-making because it incorporated numerous stakeholders. We created a set of universal principles, or guiding principles, in collaboration with important stakeholders that served as the foundation for all project choices. Tools and procedures for Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) improved collaboration, produced results, and stimulated creative thinking.
The site of the Vanport Building is distinct from all others in the City of Portland because a curved streetcar path grazes its northeast corner. As a result, the building’s massing curves with the streetcar line to express the site’s movement and to recess the first floor to make a broad, safe walkway for pedestrians.
The sidewalks and entrances to the busy building are wide and open, encouraging pedestrian-safe public pathways along all transportation frontages.
At the fourth level, the building goes up in scale to intelligently adapt to the scale and nature of these surroundings in response to the nearby historic apartment building to the south. It is set back from the apartments’ north side to create a spacious, welcoming courtyard that is used as a public amenity between the two structures. A sequence of landscape walkways, stairs, walls, benches, and planters flank the courtyard space to define its limits, provide scale as a wayfinding reference, and offer different routes of entry in order to manage the large grade change.
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Retail spaces and a lobby are located on the first floor, and a pleasant central stairway welcomes visitors to the second story, where classrooms and shared resources for the three educational institutions are located. On the second floor of the PSU Graduate School of Education are a number of classrooms and student programs, while on the fourth floor are the Dean and faculty. The third level is home to PCC’s dental programs, which also offer clinical hygiene services to the needy community. The top story houses the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, with the fifth and sixth floors housing the OHSU|PSU School of Public Health. Each program’s goal is to serve the public, and the new building’s co-location offers chances for cooperative outreach.
The building, which bears the name “Vanport,” features a mural and exhibition in the lobby titled “The Spirit of Vanport.” The mural was painted by Portland artist Alex Chiu, while the exhibit’s components were created by Bryan Potter Design and Vanport Mosaic. This mural honors the historic city of Vanport, which was destroyed by a terrible flood in 1948 that claimed 15 lives and left thousands more homeless. Due to Portland’s discriminatory redlining policies, Black Americans made up one-third of Vanport’s population at the time of the flood, making it the second-largest and most ethnically diverse city in Oregon.
This heartfelt memorial pays respect to the tragedy’s victims and survivors while also serving as a crucial reminder to adhere to racial fairness and equity.
There are numerous environmentally friendly elements in the LEED Gold Vanport Building. The majority of the water that falls on the property is treated by a sizable stormwater planter in the courtyard, while a green roof absorbs rainfall and promotes biodiversity. Energy expenditures are reduced via solar panels on the roof; daylighting techniques include solar tubes and a slender building design. Users’ thermal comfort and efficiency are promoted by a dedicated outside air system (DOAS) with radiant heating and cooling and a strong building envelope.
SRG design team:
Laurie Canup, AIA – Principal-in-Charge
Steve Simpson, AIA – Design Principal
Scott Mooney, AIA – Project Designer
David Webb, AIA – Project Manager
Susan Gust, AIA – Project Architect
Emily Wright, IIDA – Interior Designer
Kevin Chavez, Assoc. AIA – Designer
Bjorn Clouten, AIA – Dental Programmer
Sam Stadler, AIA – Project Architect
Chris Kline – Designer
Jessica Mistretta – Interior Designer
Laurel Danielson – Interior Designer
Eric Wilson, AIA – Project Architect
David McCarthy, AIA – Construction Administration
Keasa Jones – Programmer
Trevor Lavoie – Project Architect
Jon Mehlschau – Project Architect
Dan Davis – Designer
Jim Wilson, AIA – Specifications
Zoe Sadorf – Designer
Kirill Ryadchenko – BIM Manager
Architecture and Interiors: SRG Partnership
Contractor: Andersen Construction
Civil Engineer: Humber Design Group
Structural Engineer: Catena Consulting Engineers with James G. Pierson, Inc.
Mechanical Engineer: PAE
Audio Visual and Information Technology: PAE
Electrical Engineer: PAE with Samata Consulting Engineers
Landscape Achitect: Mayer/Reed
Lighting: Biella Lighting
Acoustical Engineer: Listen Acoustics, Inc.
Accessibility: Studio Pacifica
Code: Code Unlimited
Building Envelope: RDH Building Science
Sustainability: Brightworks Sustainability
Geotechnical Engineer: Geotechnical Resources, Inc.
Muralist Painter: Alex Chiu
Exhibition Components: Bryan Potter Design, Vanport Mosaic
Lincoln Barbour Studio (Lincoln Barbour and Dan Cronin), Sally Painter
Find more projects by SRG Partnership – www.srgpartnership.com