flow | The Columbia Building is the result of collaboration between The Felt Hat, 2ink, Skylab Architecture, and the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services to detail the narrative of Portland’s watershed. Through that integrated effort, a once-routine bar building has evolved into a campus-wide ambition to serve staff, community, and surrounding wetlands.

  • Establishing and sustaining intent.
    The Brand Platform and establishes intent for the Columbia Building project. It ensures that all design decisions are made according to the mission and strategic goals of the building.

  • The diagrams illustrate the impact of potential strategies on overall project goals. For BES, this means all strategy is deeply invested in the creation of optimal working conditions, LEED Gold Certification, enriched public education, and, ultimately, clean rivers.

  • It is equally important that this design narrative provide guidance for the client as they encounter obstacles that can distract from initial intention.

  • At the welcome desk, visitors are presented with a satellite image of the entire Bull Run Watershed, which the Bureau of Environmental Services is charged with stewarding, is printed directly onto glazed ceramic and extends across the entire wall.

  • Principal wayfinding begins at a ten-foot-long, stainless steel monolith anchored in the landscape and lit from within.
    The front of this structure introduces a local wildlife motif, its silhouette etched into the surface. This provides a secondary reading for pedestrian traffic – a theme applied throughout the project.
    A map on the other side of the sign directs visitors along a forty-mile wildlife trail that skirts the facility

  • The silhouette motif is incorporated into
    secondary wayfinding along walkways. Descriptions and hand-painted illustrations
    of species found in the adjacent landscape
    are set into the signage, so as not to disrupt overall architecture.

  • Translucent glass doors promote the same
    silhouette motif represented in the Wayfinding Monument. Massive-scale international symbols are seen from a distance. Up close, visitors recognize tiny silhouettes making up these symbols in mosaic etchings.

  • Suite signs are integrated into anodized aluminum panels. Note holders are built into the panel design, for functionality and as an elegant design detail.

  • Images from the first days of Columbia
    Boulevard’s Wastewater Treatment Facility
    are arranged to create a custom wall-covering in the communal kitchen.

  • A history of wastewater treatment is chronicled through a series of ten-foot-wide, stainless steel blades that have been placed into expansion gaps along the circular walk.
    These culminate at an apex, with the outdoor room created by a section of the Big Pipe.

  • An outdoor room constructed from segments of The East Side Big Pipe.

    These two tunnel rings, manufactured for the East Side Big Pipe, are made of eight concrete segments, and weigh in at about 68 tons. It took more than 5,800 rings to construct the East Side Big Pipe.

  • The exposed edge of the concrete pipe is capped with quarter inch steel plates, etched with the story of the East Side Big Pipe – which was the largest infrastructure project in the City’s history.