In an unsurprising 4-0 vote, Portland City Council tentatively struck down a condition of approval attached to the Historic Landmarks Commission's approval of the "Reconstruction" of the Portland Building. City Council also voted to deny Peter Meijer's (Peter Meijer Architect, PC) appeal of the decision without a word of debate.
While City Council's vote was expected, the Historic Landmarks Commission's initial conditional approval of the project was a blow to historic preservation efforts for modern and post-modern resources, offering a truly troubling perspective that even buildings that have reached the higher bar of meeting National Register criteria before the age of 50 can be treated as less important than buildings of stone or terra cotta.
The Portland Building is not the exception to preservation standards, which advocate for retaining materiality. The preservation approach for this building is precedent setting, and unfortunately the distain for the aesthetics of post modernism is clearly driving the preservation approach.
Aesthetics cannot be the pretext for significance or the preservation of architecture. Letting aesthetics judge value will strip our architectural history of some of the most influential and innovated examples of modern and post-modern architecture. If aesthetic preference continues to get in the way, what use is there for the architect or an architectural legacy?
How you can help
• Email comments to City of Portland Senior Planner Hillary Adam, at hillary.adam(AT)portlandoregon.gov
• View the mock-up of the aluminum rainscreen cladding system proposed for the Portland Building. The mock-up is installed at the top of the 14th floor parapet at the south end of the east facing façade.