Modernism Meets Portland

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After years of downtown stagnation, Portland began a slow reinvention in the decades following World War II that included the arrival of new Modernist architectural landmarks, such as Pietro Belluschi’s Equitable Building (now the Commonwealth), the Veterans’ Memorial Coliseum – one of many large buildings designed by the Portland office of the world-renowned firm Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill (SOM), a series of fountain-parks in an urabn renewal area, and the city’s tallest building – the First National Bank tower (now the Wells Fargo Center).

Please join us as the AHC welcomes Roger K. Lewis, F.A.I.A. to Portland for a presentation and moderated panel discussion in which we’ll examine how Portland fits into the broader picture of Modernism in the United States – a movement that clearly left an indelible mark on the Rose City. Lewis is a fellow of the American Institute of Architects, an author and journalist, and is professor emeritus of architecture at the University of Maryland College Park. He is perhaps most well-known for his award-winning illustrated Washington Post column “Shaping the City,” in which he tackles a variety of subjects, including urban design, historic preservation, sustainability, and transportation.

Joining Lewis for the panel discussion will be Becca Cavell, F.A.I.A., Bob Hermanson, A.I.A., and Randy Gragg. Cavell is a practicing architect with BORA Architects in Portland. She has taught university-level courses on architecture of the mid-20th century and helped co-found the Oregon chapter of DoCoMoMo an organization dedicated to the documentation and conservation of buildings, sites, and neighborhoods of the modern movement. Hermanson is a retired architect and architecture professor and a member of the AHC education committee. Early in his career, he worked in the SOM Portland office. Gragg is the executive director of the Portland Parks Foundation and has been directly involved in Portland’s architecture scene for nearly three decades, including efforts to recognize the historical significance of Lawrence Halprin’s Open Space Sequence – the series of parks and fountains that include the Keller Fountain.

This program is part of the “Modernism Talks” series, which explores the complicated legacy and preservation of modernist architecture in Portland. This series is funded in part by a grant from the Pacific Northwest Heritage Fund of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.


This panel discussion program is held at the Architectural Heritage Center – 701 SE Grand Avenue

Seating is Limited. Pre-Registration is Highly Recommended.

Parking is on-street (free on Saturdays) or in the parking lot on the west side of Grand Avenue between SE Yamhill and Belmont Streets – just to the north of the Urbanite. Thank you to Bolliger and Sons Insurance for sharing their lot with us for our evening and Saturday education programs.


$20.00 – General Public
$12.00 – AHC Members


About the Architectural Heritage Center
The Architectural Heritage Center’s mission is to “inspire people to conserve the art, craft, and context of historic buildings and places to promote our cultural heritage as a vital element of livable, sustainable, communities.” We seek to preserve the historic character and livability of our built environment, and to promote sustainability through the re-use of period homes and buildings.

Owned and operated by the non-profit Bosco-Milligan Foundation, we empower people in the Portland region to preserve both landmark buildings and the regular “vernacular” vintage homes and storefronts that collectively define our neighborhoods, traditional downtowns, culture, history, and quality of life.



Cover image courtesy Architectural Heritage Center/Cacophony.

Event Detail

May 25, 2019 10:00 am
May 25, 2019 12:00 pm


Architectural Heritage Center
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