With New Facades, Will the Portland Building Still Be the Portland Building?

The overhaul of Michael Graves’s postmodern landmark raises questions about how we define historic preservation.


When it was completed in 1982, the Portland Building (Portland, Oregon) was hailed as one of the first examples of post-modern architecture. Though the Michael Graves-designed structure has had its fans over the years, detractors derided it as a world-class eyesore. Now the landmark structure is getting a major overhaul in an effort to address the significant structural deficiencies that have long plagued it. Will the face-lift transform the Portland Building into a building the Rose City can be proud of, or will it destroy the building’s uniqueness, lovely or unlovely?


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