April 7, 2013 by John Chilson
I work in Belluschi’s wonderful Equitable, er, Commonwealth on SW Sixth in downtown Portland. Across the street and with a direct view sits 400 SW Sixth. Originally constructed and designed by Stanton, Boles, Maguire and Church, at five stories, the building saw a major renovation in 1980 and was expanded to 11 stories. It’s an interesting section of the street, and the two aluminum-walled buildings create an interesting space (and some amazing light and shadows) between Washington and Stark on Sixth.
Like James Stewart in Rear Window I had a front-row seat from my office and watched 400 SW Sixth having its lobby renovated most of the fall and winter. A few weeks ago, the large boards were removed to reveal the new lobby, complete (one assumes) with retrofitted (and stylish) lighting in the interior.
However, what struck me the most was the blank, lit display screen facing the street. Was it going to be a billboard? Ad for Mountain Dew (Do the Dew!)? Coke?
Nope, last week it was unveiled and it looks like it’s going to be some sort of art installation- an art wall? Whatever it is, it’s cool. It adds to the streetscape, gives the building a bit more life and gives me something to look at during dreary drizzly days. According to the paperwork filed for the project:
The proposal includes an internally lit art wall to be located in the center bay between the two entries. The art wall will create a focal point and add interest to the streetscape and will be lit from behind. The lighting is proposed to be integrated into the design and the light source will not be visible.
One of the installers mentioned to me that it was going to cycle out with the seasons- different colored leaves for different seasons? Even better.
And, here’s a video of the lobby where a hologram repeats the seasons. The leaves grown, sway in the wind, fall off and re-grow: