Holst Architecture wraps curvaceous facades of Portland office buildings in cedar

US firm Holst Architecture took cues from Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí while conceiving a pair of commercial buildings in central Portland.

Called One North, the project consists of two sculptural buildings organised around a central courtyard, along with a third, rectilinear building by a different architect.

One North offices by Holst Architecture

Built on a former brownfield site, the complex is located in the city’s Williams District – an emerging area known for its breweries, eateries and coffee shops.

The four- and five-storey buildings by local studio Holst Architecture contain office space and ground-level retail. Together, they total 85,540 square feet (7,946 square metres).

One North offices by Holst Architecture

The complex is occupied by several tenants, including digital creative agency Instrument.

The buildings feature curvaceous facades clad in cedar. Influenced by the famed Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí, the facades are meant to convey a sense of movement and energy.

One North offices by Holst Architecture

They also help reduce energy usage. “Uniquely accentuated window frames jut out from the buildings to provide exterior shading and reduce the need for cooling,” said the firm.

Sustainability was a driving concern for the architects, who incorporated a wide range of eco-friendly strategies.

One North offices by Holst Architecture

Wood used throughout the project was locally sourced and sustainably harvested. “Material selection was critical, and we emphasised low-carbon footprint techniques, such as wood cladding, cellulose insulation and mineral wool insulation,” Holst Architecture said.

To help reduce energy usage, the team incorporated exterior shading devices, airtight building envelopes, and highly efficiency mechanical systems. Photovoltaic arrays help generate power for the development.

One North offices by Holst Architecture

The buildings “were modelled to perform 50 per cent more efficiently than a typical new building in Oregon“, the team said. “They are also expected to be 60 per cent more efficient than the average US office building, including existing buildings.”

Minimal on-site parking encourages walking, cycling and the use of public transit. The central landscaped courtyard, which covers 14,000 square feet (1,300 square metres), is open to both tenants and the public.

One North offices by Holst Architecture

Other projects in Portland include a commercial building by Works Partnership Architecture that has an engineered timber frame and glass curtain wall.

Photography is by Andrew Pogue.

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