The Portland Problem: $95 Million for a Hated Building?

  • 10 Jan 2014
  • by
  • Architecture News mini
The Portland Building in 1982. Image © Steve Morgan via Wikimedia Commons

In a provocative article,The Atlantic Cities explores the dilemma which Portland currently finds itself in: the -designed Portland Building, one of the most important examples of early postmodernism, requires renovation work to the tune of $95 million; unfortunately, most residents of Portland “really, really hate” the building – as they have since it was constructed in 1983. Should the city spend so much money renovating a building which is unpopular, dysfunctional and poorly built just because of its cultural significance? Read the original article for more.

Cite: Stott, Rory. "The Portland Problem: $95 Million for a Hated Building?" 10 Jan 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 May 2015. <>
  • kdap

    Cultural significance as written seems to mean “Architectural Cultural Significance”. If the vast majority of residents hate it (and I can easily see why) then its actual significance has run its course. Personally, 95 mil for that thing would be a shame. It may have been interesting to a select few, at one point in time, but come one now….what’s it do for the experience of the current city.

  • noname noname

    That building needs to come down, that would be a true waste of money. Take that cash and put it towards a beneficial contribution for the Portland economy and community.

  • Barry


  • Heywood Floyd

    I didn’t like this building 30 years ago and I like it even less now. It represents the dawn of the “look at me please look at me” age of architecture that we currently find ourselves mired in thanks to the tyranny of the computer. Graves was a precursor to Hadid, Gehry, Libeskind, and the rest of their ilk, architects whose work is conceived from the outside in, where functionality is sacrificed in favor of the abstract pursuit of a their own stylistic or formal investigations. That we heaped praise on Graves and the Portland building more for its palette of exterior granite colors instead of considering the quality of the spaces created inside is no one’s fault other than our own. Keep it and fix it only if the construction of a new building with the same amount of space would cost more than it would to demolish it, otherwise hit it with the ball. Better yet, up the budget to whatever it would require to fix it, not just mechanically, but spatially–architecturally. That would require an architect with some talent.

  • Jason Wagner

    I hate the building too, but that’s not the point. It’s an important building that should be saved if possible. Preservation isn’t about personal opinions or trends.

  • Cynde Delaina

    If you could email me with a few ideas on just how you made your website look this great, I would be grateful.