Since the 1980s, Ankrom Moisan has watched—and helped—the city grow from its offices in John’s Landing. The architectural, interior, and urban design juggernaut has sprouted some of the most visible new buildings downtown (such as Hotel Lucia), in the Pearl, and in the now-gleaming South Waterfront district, as well as new headquarters for Vestas and Daimler. Today, the firm has 350 employees spread over its Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco offices.

Three years ago, the firm began looking at options to give its 250 Portland employees some much-needed elbow room, and relocate them to its escape relative isolation in John’s Landing. After considering 25 different options around Portland, the firm finally set its gaze on a block of Old Town at NW 1st and Davis, steps from the cherry blossoms lining the west bank of the Willamette.

Working with developer Gerding Edlen and Andersen Construction, Ankrom Moisan erected a six-story dream playground there, which opened this month as the first new Old Town edifice in a decade.

While finishing touches are still being made, three stories and 58,000 square feet will be taken up by Ankrom Moisan, allowing the company to eventually expand—comfortably—to 280 people. “38 Davis” will also be home to University of Oregon classrooms (the school occupies the neighboring White Stag building, too) and retail on the ground floor. The top two floors will be affordable and market-rate housing. The hard-deck roof, when finished, will be a shared gathering space for the building’s occupants and events.  

Besides having room to grow, the new building allows for more warm, collaborative work spaces and casual interactions between employees, meaning project teams are no longer siloed. In the lobby and kitchen area, Ankrom Moisan replaced the cold reception desk with a deskless host who immediately welcomes you into the living room. The building’s aesthetic embraces that same openness, with as many building components exposed as possible, from the glue-laminated timber beams and concrete floors to the glass and steel. Even the piping and electrical lines on the ceilings are laid bare, forming a chaotic but satisfying visual jumble. 

The building will likely earn LEED New Construction v4 certification, the first building in the city to claim it. 38 Davis also boasts gray water reclamation and an innovative fan system for circulating air.

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