Portland, Ore.

Key Players

Owner Pacific Northwest College of Art

Design Firm Allied Works Architects

General Contractor Howard S. Wright, a Balfour Beatty Co.

Structural Engineer KPFF Consulting Engineers

MEP Engineer Glumac

Theatre Design/AV Consultants Shalleck Collaborative Inc.

The Pacific Northwest College of Art, a private college in Portland, has been working with Allied Works since 2005 to update its campus facilities. Instead of opting for new infrastructure, it decided to restore an historic former post office and federal building into the college’s main campus building, the Schnitzer Center for Art and Design.

The project team faced the challenge of turning a 100-year-old federal office building into a vibrant open art college and anchor for the campus. Necessary alterations included interior demolition of drop ceilings, replacing outdated heating and cooling systems and upgrading other components that had not been updated in more than 40 years.

Seismic retrofits included 38 fluid viscous dampers, making the building the fourth structure in Portland, and the sixth in Oregon, with the protective technology. The seismic upgrade was revised to brace the pile caps and support an all new foundation structure off the existing pile caps after soil issues invalidated the original spread footing and grade beam design.

The $20-million project also featured the re-creation of several historical elements, such as millwork, glazing, stone panels, tile and doors that were reproduced in custom shapes. Thousands of feet of wood base and trim were replicated and installed, while radius millwork was turned for the oversize radius corners.

The team also was challenged in transforming century-old spaces into modern high-tech classrooms. Several conduit and piping mockups were performed to maintain the historic fabric of the spaces and thereby obtain tax credits.