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Burnside Bridgehead Urbanscape

Lead Designers
Prize(s)Gold in Architecture Categories / Institutional, Gold in Architecture Categories / New Commercial Building
Entry Description

A Proposal for the headquarters of a Portland-based clothing company.

Design: Because the site is trapped in a bowl, surrounded by a sea of perpetual motion, this “Zwischenstadt” cries out for a rehabilitative, catalytic hand. A divergent, curving form accelerates to the south with intentional movement, drenching the heart of the site in natural light and shielding its confines from the pounding noise of its surrounds.
Motion defines the building forms, facade composition, and circulation patterns of this project allowing the energy surrounding this site to flow directly through it. Planner gradients emphasize the directional changes and associated velocity variations contained within the façade. This notion is further substantiated by the horizontality of the sun shading devices.

The site is layered not only in a horizontal sense, but also vertically. Inhabited space dives into the submerged realm, equally balanced with the bridgehead tower that leaps from the site toward the sky. Parking levels experience the world above through cut-away decks, roof punctures, and transparent panels. A semi-transparent façade provides a visual connection between the private and public domains. Punctures and slices separating the building forms connect the perpetually dynamic context with the relatively calm confines of the site, not dominant enough to ruin the compelling mystery of the other’s space.
Program: This six city block site is optimal for the relocation of the headquarters of a large corporation. The concept does not end with this general intent however. In a city that prides itself on social responsibility, it is not suitable to merely design another expansive, horizontal corporate campus disconnected and insulated from the city. The proposed concept will integrate a sense of public ownership by means of an extension of a popular paved trail running through the site that terminates in the tower on the corner of the property. This terminus will provide expansive views of the city, a climbing wall rising through the core of the tower, along with trail and city visitor information. Public amenities such as auditorium space and a fitness center are shared facilities that serve both the commercial tenants and the general public. The site is well served by means of transportation. Vehicular traffic can easily enter the site off of MLK and/or 2nd Ave. Bicycle and pedestrian traffic have multiple opportunities to enter the site from virtually every direction. Bus and proposed streetcar stops are centered in the sweeping arc of the building on MLK, symbolizing their importance to the site.

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