Dezeen Magazine

The Portland Building by Michael Graves added to National Register of Historic Places

Dezeen Wire:
The Portland Public Service Building by Michael Graves & Associates has been added to the USA's National Register of Historic Places.


The 1982 building was credited with helping to usher in postmodernism and still houses municipal offices.


Michael Graves & Associates have completed a new building for the Dutch national automobile museum last year - see our earlier story.

Here are some more details from Michael Graves & Associates:

Designed by international architects and designers Michael Graves & Associates (MGA), The Portland Public Service Building, known simply as The Portland Building, was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places.

“It pleases me tremendously that the Portland Building has been given National Historic Register designation,” said Graves. “The building occupies such a pivotal place in the architecture of the last quarter of the 20th century and its appropriateness for historic status has now been confirmed. The building represents the first of many which have helped redefine the traditional urban fabric of our cities.”

Graves’ design for The Portland Building was selected in a 1980 design-build competition sponsored by the city of Portland, Oregon, and it immediately became a subject of national debate for the architecture community. Occupying the entirety of a 200-foot square block in downtown Portland, the 15-story building houses the city’s municipal offices. It is adjacent to City Hall and County Courthouse buildings on two sides, and the public transit mall and the park on the other two sides. The design emphasized engagement with the site’s physical and historical context and its stylized references to local colors and historical symbolism were among the earliest examples of tactics now considered definitive of Postmodern classicism.

Construction was completed in 1982, and according to Graves, its opening marked the “first built example of a building that tried to break loose from the strictures of commercial modernism.” It is widely credited with ushering in the rejection of modernist styles and pioneering a return to classicism in architecture.

About Michael Graves & Associates

Michael Graves & Associates has been in the forefront of architecture and design since AIA Gold Medalist Michael Graves founded his practice in 1964. Today, the practice comprises two firms run by 8 Principals. Michael Graves & Associates (MGA) provides planning, architecture and interior design services, and Michael Graves Design Group (MGDG) specializes in product design, graphics and branding. MGA has designed many master plans and the architecture and interiors of over 350 buildings worldwide, including hotels and resorts, restaurants, retail stores, civic and cultural projects, office buildings, healthcare, residences and a wide variety of academic facilities. MGDG has designed and brought to market over 2,000 products for clients such as Target, Alessi, Stryker and Disney. Graves and the firms have received over 200 awards for design excellence. With our unique, highly integrated multidisciplinary practice, the Michael Graves Companies offer strategic advantages to clients worldwide.

About the National Historic Register

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.