Oregon Square, part V: Block 103

This post is the fifth and final post in a series on Oregon Square, focusing on Block 103. See also Part I about the urban design and landscaping, Part II about Block 91, Part III about Block 102 and Part IV about Block 90.

Rising to a height of 340′-6″, Block 103 would not only be tallest of the four buildings planned for American Assets Trust’s Oregon Square development, but would also be Portland’s tallest building east of the Willamette.  The architects for the 30 story tower are GBD Architects, who are working with PLACE for the landscape design. The building will include 347 residential units and almost 12,000 sq ft of ground floor retail. A rooftop terrace is proposed for level 6 of the building, on top of the lower sidecar portion of the building. The 30th floor is proposed to be entirely given over to amenity spaces, including a community room, demonstration kitchen, private dining room, a fitness center, spa, and kung fu room.

Oregon Square Block 103

Block 90 is located at the southeast corner of the development, directly to the north of the Oregon State Office Building. An existing building, built by the Lloyd Corporation in 1947, is currently located on the site. To the east of the site is the 911 Federal Building, which was originally built as the headquarters for the Bonneville Power Administration to a design by John Graham & Company, the architects of the Space Needle.

The tower element of Block 103 has two distinct floor plans, both roughly lozenge shaped. The two plans swap every four floors, creating a pleated effect on the elevations. The building’s skin is proposed to be composed of curtainwall, with floor to ceiling vision glass and spandrel glass at the slab edges. White metal panels would also be integrated into the curtainwall system, in a vertical pattern that emphasizes the building’s height.

Oregon Square Block 103

Oregon Square Block 103

Block 103 was approved as part of the entire development at the November 5th 2015 meeting of the Design Commission. While the building’s major concepts remained consistent from when it was presented at the first Design Review hearing, a number of refinements were made to the design during the Design Review process. As noted in the Final Findings and Decision By The Design Commission [PDF], these included: the addition of more curtain wall at podium and sidecar, so that the podium is more integrated with the architectural expression of the tower; and the realignment of the vertical white stripes so that they no longer stagger and are aligned vertically.

Building permits will need to be obtained before construction can begin. As reported by Next Portland in February, the existing buildings on site are still partially occupied, though leases are being allowed to expire to prepare the site for redevelopment. CEO and Chairman of the American Assets Trust Board of Directors Ernest Rady stated in an earnings call that they are studying options for how to move forward with Oregon Square, which could include changing some of the program to office uses, or phasing the development. A decision was expected to be made by September 2016.


5 thoughts on “Oregon Square, part V: Block 103

  1. The existing 4 buildings on this site are my favorite in the Lloyd. This redevelopment is super important and I like the designs, but it is a shame to lose those buildings. I have fantasized that they could have become an amazing cultural campus housing an art museum, sculptural park, library, performance space….It would have been great if at least one of the 4 could have been re-purposed. On balance, the benefits probably outweigh the losses, though. Any idea when demo
    might begin?

  2. Supposedly the project has been put on hold as the owners explore other options. What that means is anyone’s guess.

  3. It’s frustrating for those of us who enjoy watching tall buildings go up. The last time we had any real progress was back in the early eighties when the Koin tower, Pacwest and Big Fink were built. The next tall structure, Park Avenue West, (and I’m being generous in my use of the term “tall”), took forever to finish because of the recession, and it only achieves a height of 501 feet if you count the silly box and needle combo on top. So, it really only stands at 460 actual feet in height. And that was a THIRD of a century after the afore-mentioned towers went up.


    It would almost be worth the nightmarish traffic jams to live in Seattle and see REAL tall buildings erected, instead of the pint-sized towers of Portland. They all but hauled out the brass band to celebrate the construction of that funny looking brown box-thingamajig at the end of the Burnside bridge that fills the the view out of my condo window. Ick. Seriously? Oy. And don’t get me started on the dumbell-flower-box combo that will go in next door.

    Does anyone remember the flack and eternal scorn Portland has endured because of the Portland building? I’m not an architect, but when did ugly become good?

    Off my soap box.

Leave a Reply