Portland architects: We want to build two towers almost 1,000 feet tall

The Portland architecture firm’s proposal would dwarf US Bancorp Tower, currently the tallest at 536 feet

This simulated montage (from the Broadway Bridge) shows the approximate scale of the proposal in relation to the 42-story US Bancorp Tower, which at 536 feet is some 144 feet lower than the skybridge between the two proposed towers.  The taller of the two buildings could accommodate approx. 74 stories. Photo: Cord Rodefeld, Wikimedia Commons. Rendering by William Kaven Architecture via The Oregonian.  Simulation montage by Michael Mehaffy.

A recent article in the Oregonian provided evidence for the growing perception that much of the pressure for taller buildings in Portland comes from boosterish members of its architecture community.  A local architecture firm  is proposing twin towers almost 1,000 feet tall for the old US Post Office site adjoining Union Station.

Currently the site has zoning to allow a maximum height of 75 feet.  The Central City 2035 plan would deregulate that restriction and allow 400 feet.   However, architect Daniel Kaven was quoted in the article saying that there should be no height limit for the site. His firm has proposed two blocky buildings reminiscent of the original 1,368 foot World Trade Center buildings in New York.

From the article:

William Kaven Architecture wants to design the tallest building in the Pacific Northwest. And it wants to put it on Portland’s Pearl District Post Office blocks, the site the city offered to Amazon for its second headquarters.

The concept, released by the Portland firm on Monday, proposed two skyscrapers, one of which would rise 970 feet. Together, the highrises would provide about 5 million square feet for retail, office, hotel rooms, apartments or condos. Accord ing to the announcement, the two buildings would be linked by “a glass-enclosed botanical bridge spanning 236 feet across the North Park Blocks some 680 feet in the air, providing dramatic aerial views of the entire city.”

The proposal would also be able to accommodate a transportation hub for highspeed rail or a Hyperloop, the news release said.

But proposed height limits for the site would allow buildings as tall as 400 feet.

In an email, Daniel Kaven, a partner with the architecture firm, acknowledged the constraints of the height limits. But he said the city, which is considering zoning changes in its Central City 2035 plan, should think big.

“City Council is able to amend this if needed/ desired,” he wrote. “It is our belief that there should not be a limit on the height and that vertical development on this scale is necessary.”

In the firm’s announcement, it said its proposed towers would be large enough to serve as a headquarters for a Fortune 100 company like Amazon. In early September, the e-commerce giant announced it was in the market for a second company headquarters, one that could accommodate 50,000 employees, and that it was prepared to invest $5 billion in construction alone.

But Portland, so close to the company’s Seattle headquarters, is viewed a long shot. Last week, Prosper Portland, the city’s urban renewal agency, called on developers to submit applications to craft a master plan for the Post Office site and the surrounding blocks, dubbed the “Broadway Corridor.”

William Kaven intends to submit a formal proposal to Prosper Portland early next year.

Read the full article at http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2017/11/portland_architecture_firm_pro.html

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