This month Portland Public Schools, community leaders, current and former students, designers and contractors celebrated the groundbreaking for a major renovation of Portland’s 105-year-old Benson Polytechnic High School.
The specialized school draws students from all over the city to focus on career technical education (CTE). Funded by a 2017 voter-approved bond, Benson Tech is undergoing a massive modernization led by Bassetti Architects with site design by Mayer/Reed. The design team is collaborating through an integrated project delivery process with Andersen Construction.
Mayer/Reed’s site design respects the historic school’s classic symmetry while incorporating accessibility and flexible-use spaces throughout. Connected to the student commons, an internal courtyard provides a plaza and stadium seating for dining, group studies and small events. On the building’s east side, the CTE courtyard is a multi-faceted, programmable space that prioritizes student work areas and outdoor classrooms.
The three-year construction process also includes an adjacent new 85,000 SF multi-story building to house the school district’s Multiple Pathways to Graduation (MPG) program. The school will be a distinct learning community designed to support various alternative education options. With a focus on providing a safe and secure facility influenced by trauma-informed best practices, the MPG building and site create positive social connections and special school identity through a connection to nature and biophilic design. Mayer/Reed’s site elements include an outdoor classroom, science-oriented roof terrace, a daycare play area and connections to Buckman Field Park.
The Benson Polytechnic High School campus projects are expected to open to students and faculty in the fall of 2024.
This Wednesday, May 26th, Portland’s Morrison bridge will illuminate with joyful spring colors. In support of the Willamette Light Brigade, Mayer/Reed is sponsoring the bridge lighting to celebrate Northwest parks, open spaces, forest, trails and gardens in bloom. We invite you to catch the Wednesday night bridge glow and explore the outdoors to discover spring delights – rain or shine!
Need some color and light in your life? The Portland Winter Light Festival heeds the call, this year as a dispersed, free “non-festival” that allows plenty of social distancing.
Come experience Mayer/Reed’s Kaleidoscopic Canopy installation at Oaks Park. We’re painting with a big brush, utilizing the 80 ft. tall trees as a canvas. Within this arboreal canopy of color, illuminated mylar curtains reflect a kaleidoscope of moving color, picking up accents from amusement surroundings like the aurora borealis. Down on the ground, we’ll stoke a glowing fire pit in a historic picnic shelter to warm visitors. We thank our partners at Oaks Park for welcoming this display amid its stalwart oak trees.
We’re helping to light up downtown as well. If you’re near the Morrison Bridge, look up to see our 8th floor studio windows aglow at SW 3rd and Washington. We call this display “Wish You Were Here.”
Visit Kaleidoscopic Canopy at Oaks Park this weekend and next, 6 to 10 pm, February 5-6 and 12-13. And check the map to find all kinds of other dazzling light exhibits throughout the city. See you from a distance!
We’ve reached a major milestone in the design of the Southwest Corridor Light Rail Project with the release of the draft Conceptual Design Report, 14 months in the making. The proposed 11-mile extension of the MAX light rail system will connect Downtown Portland, Southwest Portland, Tigard and Tualatin.Leading the conceptual design, a joint venture between Mayer/Reed, ZGF and VIA Architecture prepared an overview of the corridor context and history and developed proposed urban design concepts including biking and walking improvements, stormwater strategies, station configurations, structures, streetscape and system elements summarized in the report. Special strategies such as tunnels, flyovers, elevators and even an inclined elevator – a modern type of funicular – are proposed to respond to the more challenging site conditions along the route.Throughout the process we’ve enjoyed interacting with the communities along the line. A recent series of open houses shared the concepts and collected community input which the team will use to finalize the report in anticipation of a funding bond measure. There’s still time contribute your thoughts until March 27 through TriMet’s online open house.