By Jack Rubinger

The District Office, at the corner of Stark and MLK, is one of Portland’s first cross-laminated timber buildings; a new and exciting innovation using decarbonized methods and materials, which significantly lowers the carbon footprint.

This type of timber lends itself to create high hopes for timber jobs and sustainable forestry.

Cross-laminated timber is a wood panel product made from gluing layers of solid-sawn lumber together. Each layer of boards is usually oriented perpendicular to adjacent layers and glued on the wide faces of each board in a symmetric way so the outer layers have the same orientation.

This building took about eighteen months to build, and was entirely pre-fabricated off site. This increased the speed of putting the building up. Because the bones of the building are constructed of wood, the interior is also beautiful and natural.

“This is a good template for developing the next round of commercial real estate in SE Portland,” said Brad Nile, Andersen Construction and District Office builders.

At six stories, the building includes five floors of new office space with ground-floor retail and restaurant space along an active multi-modal thoroughfare. Glue-laminated columns and beams, and cross-laminated timber floors, are fully visible throughout the interior – a nod to the timber-heavy industrial past of the neighborhood.

Double-height spaces lend volume and circulation to the interior, and allow tenants to create more intimate office layouts than a typical single-floor plan.

The Office features large clear spans, open floor plates, and flexible office floor plans that can be reconfigured in numerous ways over time. The architecture and design will incorporate exposed beams, and large sun-filled windows.

“This is where the construction industry needs to go,” said Leonard Barrett, project manager, Beam Development. “The building is an excellent example of biophilia, a concept that links the way people, work, live and operate within the built environment, nature and the natural environment.”

Barrett explained that these types of buildings are more common in Europe, and that here in the US, many buildings still utilize massive amounts of steel and concrete which are not as sustainable as wood. Ironic, since the Pacific Northwest’s timber industry is well-established.

The 90,000+ square foot building has been leased to two companies, including Hacker Architects, who designed the building and Spaces, a co-working operator.  Both have substantial footprints in the building.

Hacker Design was charged with creating a dynamic and forward-thinking creative office building to provide flexibility, openness, and adaptability, while taking advantage of city views and connection to the active urban environment.

One of Beam’s goals was to attract creative types who gravitate towards these types of buildings. Beam’s partner on the project is Urban Development Partners.

The District Office, at the corner of SE Stark and MLK

The building was originally home to Portland Music.  Plans call for the development of ground floor retail stores, to serve as amenities for the building’s tenants.

Opening is scheduled for January 2020.