The AIA Center in Portland was formerly a livery stable, and is thought to be the oldest surviving structure in Portland’s now-thriving Pearl District, a former industrial zone. The building was also used to advertise for a chocolatier and the new chocolate covered exterior was likely inspired by this. AIA chose the building because of its location in the Portland’s now-thriving Pearl District with convenient access to the streetcar line, and proximity to architecture offices. Holst Architecture’s renovation of the brick and timber building placed a strong focus on flexibility in space as well as energy efficiency. The 5,000-square-foot center is used as office and administration space for AIA Portland as well as a gallery and expanded community gathering spaces that can be rented by the public.
To achieve energy efficiency and low utility costs, the building features a sophisticated heating, cooling and ventilation system. Natural ventilation with the help of operable windows and roof vents takes advantage of the moderate climate. An energy efficient mechanical system kicks in when it is needed, and sensors installed on the windows turn off the building’s HVAC system when the windows are left open. Underfloor air ducts deliver cool air more efficiently. Skylights bring in natural daylighting into the interior space. The south facade is covered in a open steel “garden wall” covered in creeping vines that soaks up the sun and shades the building from excess heat. The roof has a reflective, cool membrane and also harvests rainwater for landscape irrigation and toilet flushing. Completed in 2007, AIA Portland has since received its LEED Platinum certification.
Images ©Michael Mathers and Holst Architecture