shu and joe

The Portland Building

Published on December 2, 2008

We’ve been staying a block down the street from Michael Graves’ Portland Building – considered one of the first and enduringly iconic large-scale expressions of stylistic postmodernism. The building was completed in 1982 and supplemented with Raymond Kaskey’s copper-clad Portlandia statue in 1985. The proportion of the statue to the entrance below coupled with the facades’ aqua blue concrete garland is definitely whimsical, but the functional interior space has been reviled over the years for featuring poor lighting, small windows and cheap finishes. (Though Brian Libby attempts to find redeeming qualities in the work in this Architecture Week review from 2002.

Filed under: Architecture, Portland
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  1. Brian Libby says:

    Thanks for citing my article. I agree that the Portland Building is mostly a failure, even though I wrote about some of its redeeming qualities. The building has a lot of color and energy to it visually, and I also like how postmodernism in general seeks to have a conversation with the past. But at heart I’m a modernist.

  2. […] this image of Michael Graves’ original proposed design for the Portland Public Service Building in a 1985 issue of Architectural Design. Interesting to note the original plan called for much more […]

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