Pietro Belluschi’s Modernism in Portland, with special guest tour guides

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It’s the anniversary of architect Pietro Belluschi’s 120th birthday this summer and we’re celebrating with a special architecture walking tour on Saturday, August 17!

This birthday tour visits some of Belluschi’s greatest modernist buildings in Portland and includes access inside a few. We’re pleased to announce that the tour is led by special guests architect Anthony Belluschi, FAIA, and architectural historian Eric Wheeler. They are joined by Pierluigi Serraino, AIA, a practicing architect, author, and educator based in the San Francisco Bay Area whose work focuses on modernist architecture.

The birthday celebration weekend continues with a public talk by Mr. Serraino hosted by the Oregon Historical Society on Sunday, August 18. The talk, called “In the Mind of an Architect: On the Inner Workings of Pietro Belluschi’s Creative Process” takes place at OHS and is free and open to the public. Read more here.

Tour Description

Perhaps no other architect had a greater impact on Portland in the 20th century than Pietro Belluschi (August 18, 1899 – February 14, 1994). His early projects, like the Portland Art Museum (1931) and the world-renowned Equitable Building (1948) took an otherwise architecturally conservative city in a new direction that brought together modernism with regional materials and style.

Belluschi was at the forefront of this Northwest Regional style of modernism. This approach is embodied in many of Belluschi’s residential and church designs from the late 1940s to the early 1950s. After spending two decades in academia and architectural consulting, Belluschi returned to Portland in 1973 and continued his design work in the city. Belluschi’s late career involvement in projects like the U.S. Bancorp Tower (1983) and the Chapel of Christ the Teacher at the University of Portland (1986) capped a brilliant career.

The tour will take you to a range of Belluschi’s buildings in downtown Portland completed during the course of his career, including a special visit inside the Oregonian Building (which now includes the offices of SRG Partnership). An optional “add on” at the end of the tour is a visit to Zion Lutheran Church, where tourgoers will get access inside the building.

Tour Guides

Pierluigi Serraino, AIA is a practicing architect, author, and educator based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has lectured on architectural photography, digital design, and California modernism at numerous universities, institutions, and museums. His writings and projects have appeared in the publications Architectural Record, Artforum, Architectural Review, and A+U, among others. He is the author of several books, including Modernism Rediscovered (2001), NorCalMod: Icons of Northern California Modernism (2006), and The Creative Architect (2016). His forthcoming book is Ezra Stoller: A Photographic History of Modern American Architecture (Phaidon, 2019).

Anthony Belluschi, FAIA, has over 45 years of experience in the planning and conceptual design of commercial, residential, retail, office and mixed-use developments for owners, developers and design firms. As the son of Pietro Belluschi FAIA, Anthony has established his own career and reputation. He also collaborated with his father on numerous projects over many years and he now consults often on the restoration of his father’s churches, buildings, and homes. Mr. Belluschi’s former firm, Anthony Belluschi Architects, founded in 1984 in Chicago and merged in 2000 with OWP/P Architects (Chicago), won numerous design awards from the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Urban Land Institute (ULI), and others. In 2003, he formed Belluschi Consulting, an international architectural consulting practice, and soon entered into a strategic alliance with Perkins Eastman Architects. Also in 2003, he was honored with fellowship in the American Institute of Architects. Mr. Belluschi moved back to his hometown of Portland in 2012.

Eric Wheeler is an AHC tour docent with over twenty years of experience as an architectural historian and heritage consultant in Wisconsin. He has written numerous National Register nominations, taught graduate level classes in architectural history and designed and led walking tours of historic residential and commercial neighborhoods in Portland.

This program is part of the AHC’s “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. The AHC also thanks the Oregon Historical Society for their contributions to the Pietro Belluschi 120th Birthday Celebration programming.

Note: This is a two-hour tour that covers approximately 0.7 miles on foot and is one way.

Space is limited. Pre-Registration is Required.

Image: Equitable Building designed by Pietro Belluschi, 1948. Photo by Brian Johnson.

Event Detail

August 17, 2019 10:00 am
August 17, 2019 12:00 pm


Architectural Heritage Center
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