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April 17, 2015

Renovation/Restoration (Oregon)
PGE Rose City Printing building

Photo by Gabe Hurley
A dilapidated 1950s building was renovated into sleek offices for PGE.

Location: Portland

Contractor: The Harver Co.

Architect: VLMK Engineering + Design

Team: Ames Taping Tools, Armstrong World Industries, Georgia-Pacific, GTS Interior Supply, Scafco Steel Stud Co., USG Building Systems

This project took a formerly uninspiring and dilapidated structure and transformed it into a modern state-of-the-art office space complete with an employee lounge, fitness center and spacious shower and locker rooms.

Built in the 1950s, this single-story building was originally built and occupied by General Motors. It also housed a handful of other tenants such as a mattress company, Rose City Printing & Packaging, and most recently, a studio for the television series “Grimm.”

Portland General Electric decided to salvage the building for new office space, and it was an obvious challenge from the outset.

A large amount of engineering was required for the metal-stud framing alone. The brittle state of the roof decking meant the abundant curtain walls and soffits needed to be supported from existing trusses. This meant heavy-gauge, steel-stud framing was to be added between parallel and perpendicular trusses for support while still looking aesthetically pleasing in the open structure.

Because of extreme settling of the entire foundation, the interior perimeter walls were engineered and framed not only as a seismic upgrade to the insubstantial CMU-and-brick exterior but also to cosmetically level all the uneven interior windows. The entire interior slab­-on-grade had to be replaced as well as the underground electrical and plumbing.

Finally, as the interior walls were being erected, it was discovered that the roof decking was corroded to the point that it had to be replaced. The fully erected walls terminated into thin air and had to be supported and braced to nearby trusses. Replacing the decking added five weeks to the schedule, which logistically was resolved through extraordinary levels of cooperation from all trades.

Judge’s comment: “The Portland General Electric Rose City project is a dramatic renovation from a dilapidated 1950s structure used as a set for “Grimm” into a state-of-the-art office, fitness center and lounge. Mid-project the roof had to be replaced resulting in erected walls being braced to nearby trusses and terminating into thin air. Eventually, The Harver Co. installed ‘free-floating’ acoustical clouds mimicking the serpentine floor for a remarkable contemporary ambiance.”

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