Oregon Convention Center Interior Renovation

Portland, Oregon

Project Size:

Renovated area: 193,000 square feet

Project Status:

Completed 2019

In response to Portland’s rapidly developing Lloyd neighborhood where the Oregon Convention Center is located, the renovation of the facility’s original building reinforces circulation and wayfinding, transforms the Oregon Ballroom and connects the user experience to its place. Strategic architectural interventions incorporated into the daylight flooded spaces leverage the attributes of the existing building to a new level of experience. Redesign of the primary building entry and adjacent exterior spaces carry the enhancements into the public realm, upgrading the entrance sequence to the building and providing an inviting civic space.

Central to the 305,00 SFT renovation was the goal to create a stronger relationship between the convention center experience and the natural environment of Oregon.  Evergreen forests and lichen growth on stones are references throughout the renovation. Flooring is composed in a pattern referential to white lichen on gray stones and vibrant hues replace the white highlights at areas of punctuation; red at exhibit hall and meeting room entries and yellow hues at informal meeting and seating areas that also feature regionally harvested alder wood benches.

Punctuations of hue and pattern also serve as a strategy to overcome the split-level configuration of the building. Red hue and wall coverings at the exhibit hall entries feature large-scale patterns that reference the experience of walking through the heavily wooded forests dominant in Oregon and provide better visibility of the below grade exhibit halls from building entries. Large scale internally illuminated wayfinding pylons glow as landmarks within the large volume interior spaces. The updated wayfinding strategy clarifies destinations using alphabetical designations and a simplified map.

The Oregon Ballroom and Prefunction continue the themes developed in other functional spaces. The prefunction ceiling is a custom fabricated topography of the Cascade Range, spanning from Mt. Hood to Crater Lake. The ballroom ceiling features an integrated lighting system with a three-dimensional pattern of circular elements referencing the experience of walking under an illuminated tree canopy.

The new convention center site creates a welcoming environment for people to gather and enjoy events and activities. Designed to introduce visitors to the natural beauty and cultural heritage of the Pacific Northwest, the plazas utilize an informal layout articulated with weathering steel, regional stone and textural plants from Oregon’s landscape. 

A series of intuitive wayfinding cues guide pedestrians to the building’s main entry where an identity pylon of weathering steel and luminous glass complements the new entrance. The architectural glass canopy provides an inviting civic space for convention center attendees and the broader community. Designed to serve visitors and the surrounding environment, the project’s success is as much about how it engages the plaza as what happens inside.