Best of the City 2016: Four Great New Spaces in Portland
Park Avenue West
This gleaming tower spent more than four years as a hideous brown hole in the ground before finally rising from the ashes of the Great Recession to become Portland’s third-tallest building (so far). Designed by TVA Architects and clocking in at 31 stories (two fewer than in the original design), the high-rise offers floor-to-ceiling windows and panoramic views of skyline-porn. Retail, luxury apartments, and amenity spaces—including a fitness room, community kitchen, and outdoor terrace—occupy the first 18 floors, with the top floors being used as office space.
The Cully neighborhood’s first developed park opened last summer to rave reviews. The name, pronounced KAHN-ah-mockst, means “together” in Chinook jargon. Surrounded by a circular concrete walking and jogging path, the core of the park features a large, picnic-ready lawn, a traditional playground with swings and a slide, and a “rain garden” that allows kids to scramble over boulders and rocks.
This brand-new NE Sandy Boulevard sports bar comprises four distinct boozing spaces: a rooftop bar, a diva-proof VIP room, an indoor/outdoor lounge, and, the real star, a three-tiered miniature basketball arena. Concealed LED lighting in the custom woodwork speaks to the grand ambitions of the owners. Neon colors shift with the mood: a blue or white theme might accompany a wedding reception; yellow and green could host a Timbers viewing party; an impromptu Prince remembrance could draw a vivid purple.
For some product design firms, moving into this 9,427-square-foot, SW 10th Avenue space might foretell an aggressive expansion. For Industry, it simply means more room for existing employees to play. (They’re sticking with a staff of around 30—the sweet spot, they say, for productivity, efficiency, and morale.) The design team divided the skinny space, opening to natural light at both ends, into conceptual thirds: Inspire, Collaborate, and Make. The Inspire section includes a giant projection screen and 30-foot marble bar for employee happy hour and, eventually, community events. Collaborate is anchored by a rectangular fishbowl cofounder Oved Valadez calls the “war room”—complemented by a private “cry room” nearby. The Make section houses the 30 workstations (no private offices here) and the firm’s state-of-the-art 3-D printing lab for Industry’s trademark rapid prototyping. “This building is an icon,” says Valadez of the 1962 Modernist three-story structure, known for its multicolored checkerboard façade. “So we used steel, cement, glass, marble. The materials are honest.”