The Columbia Building is an educational demonstration of sustainable building techniques. Designed in a radial fashion to track the sun, this single-story concrete building folds seven cast-in-place concrete roof forms to channel the stormwater down a green roof system into a swale and back into the Columbia Slough. The saw-tooth roof form also allows for the building to be flooded with natural light, while the jagged façade has a series of stainless steel solar shades over the clerestory windows to modulate the light throughout the day. Skylab Architecture’s design was “inspired by native landscape and its industrial past … (and) is an elegant combination of landform, indigenous planting, formal geometry, and durable construction systems”.
Other sustainable systems included in this elegantly dynamic design include a heat pump mechanical system that taps into the plant’s processing water source for heating and cooling, a photovoltaic system, an onsite co-generation plant, and a central green space. Skylab Architecture provided the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services with a wonderfully scaled facility that adds creativity and public education to the wastewater service industry.
Photos by Jeremy Bittermann for Skylab Architecture