Best Offices 2017: The Gamble

A Radical New Portland Office Blends Work and Nature

Project^ and Hacker Architects join forces on a $61 million gamble.

By Marty Patail May 15, 2017 Published in the June 2017 issue of Portland Monthly

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A rendering of Field Office's 320,000-square-foot campus in Northwest Portland

Every plane of Field Office’s two oddly shaped buildings will offer access to the outside: a plaza-level park; lush, green balconies on every level; third-floor trees; and, six stories up, a massive rooftop skypark.

“It’s a regionalist approach to design,” says Tom Cody of Project^, who’s developing Field Office with Hacker Architects. “Why, when you go to work, should you feel like you’re hermetically sealed from nature? That’s bullshit. We don’t accept that. Why not, when you go to work, amplify the relationship to nature? That’s what Field Office is attempting to do.”

The block-size “urban campus”—with 320,000 square feet and an estimated price tag of $61 million, a significant speculative play in Portland’s office market—will bring this vision of nature to buzzing Northwest Portland’s forest of construction cranes. Cody and Corey Martin of Hacker are using steel (instead of concrete slabs) and open-column spacing to form the six-story buildings’ supports, creating spaces that can be customized for whoever wants to move in.

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“Why, when you go to work, should you feel like you’re hermetically sealed from nature?" asks Tom Cody of Project^. "That’s bullshit."

“Nobody’s really purpose-building the next generation of office space,” says Cody. “How would it look like and how would it feel? We’re trying to purpose-build the future creative office space, instead of trying to take the previous generation’s idea of office space and adapt it, and, as best you can, perfume the pig. And throw a Ping-Pong table in the corner and expose the ceiling and ductwork and polish the concrete floor.”

Field Office aims to lure some sizable fish—large, established employers, possibly even from out of state. But with one of the buildings opening later in 2017, the question remains: will there be tenants to fill it?

“We’re betting there will be. But that’s a $100 million question for us,” says Cody. “Historically, Portland has not been a big Fortune 50 or Fortune 100 market. But we believe that Portland, as you’ve seen in other sectors of the real estate market, is in a growth stage, moving from a secondary market to a primary market.”

Field Office

Square feet
Employees Room for 1,500–2,000
Key amenities Parks, commuter lounge, yoga studio, 300+ parking spots
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The question remains: will there be tenants to fill Field Office?

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