The Columbia Building supports the City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services. Housing workspace, a visitor reception area, and public meeting spaces, the 11,640-square-foot building not only supports the engineering department of the wastewater treatment facility but also functions as an immersive educational experience, all integrated within a sustainable landscape.
Designed by Skylab Architecture
Photographed by Jeremy Bittermann
The new single-story building features seven folded cast-in-place concrete roof forms that channel stormwater through a planted roof, which drains along the berms into a visible collection system that leads to the Columbia River. The project accomplished three unique objectives in one single campus site: the creation of a vibrant and efficient workspace; clean on-site stormwater filtration; and a dynamic building that stimulates conversation about the health of the region’s watershed and rivers.
The transparent north facade focuses attention towards a central and partially enclosed Commons area, as well as to the habitat that surrounds the building. The serrated curtain wall features operable air circulation vents which enables the interior spaces to be natural ventilated. Mirrored glass reflects and refracts light in the Commons, merging the building into the landscape. The building is LEED Gold certified.