When Portland-based Skylab Architecture was asked by the City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services to design an extension of a wastewater treatment facility, sustainability was immediately identified as a key priority. Not only did the architects need to design the public project to meet a minimum of LEED Gold certification, but the building would also have to serve an educational purpose by providing a working demonstration of onsite stormwater filtration. Completed in 2014, the award-winning Columbia Building successfully meets its design targets with an attractive green roof and a visible stormwater management system. Located south of the Columbia River and about 9 miles north of downtown Portland , the 11,640-square-foot Columbia Building primarily serves as a workspace for the wastewater treatment’s engineering department. The building also includes a visitor reception area and public meeting spaces. Large windows with operable air circulation vents and mirrored glass along the north facade frame views toward a partially enclosed Commons area and the riverine landscape beyond. From afar, the single-story building draws the eye with its seven folded, cast-in-place concrete roof forms designed to channel and filter stormwater into a visible water collection system. After passing through the series of green roofs, […]


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