This is an updated version of a post originally published on December 18th 2015.
Construction has started the Field Office, a pair of 6 story office buildings planned for Northwest Portland. The two building development by Hacker architects for developer Project^ will total 304,530 sq ft, including 7,086 sq ft of ground floor retail space. Landscaping by Lango Hansen will feature prominently in the design, with carve outs at the upper level of the building that create “high parks”. Parking for 355 cars will be provided in a below grade parking garage spanning beneath both buildings. 270 of the spaces will be provided in a mechanized parking system. 96 bike parking spaces will be provided, with adjacent locker rooms.
The project site is a 91,540 sq ft strip of land sandwiched between NW Front Ave and the BNSF railroad tracks. The site is currently vacant, and has never been intensively developed. In 2013 the site was rezoned from Heavy Industrial (IH) to Central Employment with a Design overlay (EXd). A previous scheme for the site, Front 17, had two advisory Design Advice Request hearings, but was never submitted for Design Review.
The massing for the two buildings is based on the intersecting grids of Northwest Portland, and of the Riverscape development which runs perpendicular to the river. Where the extension of the two grids collide in between the two buildings a landscaped plaza is proposed, oriented to the south for maximum solar access.
The new plaza will be created between the East and West buildings. The plaza landscape will extend into the ground floor, a move intended to blur the boundary of indoors and outdoors. The landscaping extends up the buildings, with exterior spaces created at every level. The roofs on top of the 5th and 6th floors will have ecoroofs planted on them.
The primary material for the buildings will be a charcoal gray metal panel with a chevron corrugation. Reclaimed wood, potentially from the Centennial Mills, will be used at the building entries, canopy soffits and the upper floor exterior terraces. Aluminum storefront and curtainwall glazing will be used at the lower levels, and fiberglass windows at the upper levels. Structural steel columns at the exterior will be clad with cold-rolled steel plate and provided with cable guides to enable vines to grow up the columns.
The Field Office was first presented to the Design Commission for Design Advice in September, and again for a Design Review hearing in November. Issues remaining to be resolved from the first Design Review hearing were largely technical in nature, and included Oregon Department of Transportation requirements for development near the railroad and Bureau of Environmental Services requirements to the West Side Big Pipe.
At its December 17th hearing the Design Commission unanimously and enthusiastically voted to adopt the Staff Report [PDF] and approve the project. Before casting her vote, Commissioner Livingston noted her appreciation for the design:
I think it’s just really a lovely building — everything from the massing to the materiality of it. I think the landscaping is just really a knock out. So thank you very much.
A foundation permit for the Field Office was issued in late July 2016. According to an article in the Portland Business Journal the buildings should be complete “in late 2017 or early 2018”.