A Portland Pyramid, April 1987

Portland Pyramid

This idea started out around 1986 -- a pyramid in downtown Portland. I put Portland Pyramid on a 1987 John Miller Calendar, for April, with no other description than: Portland Pyramid, one block east of Justice Center.

Multnomah County Courthouse, 2006

After serious NW quakes, a report declared the historic County Courthouse unsafe, and therefore a new one would be required, somewhere, so I naturally felt this was an opportunity! A pyramid courthouse could have occupied one city block due east of the Justice Center, helping to complete a Government Center for Portland.

Unfortunately (?), the property was held as an investment by Japanese investors (I inquired). The whole block was a big surface parking lot, with one tree in the middle. I have no idea what was there before that time. Alas, the County did nothing, and the property was developed. I watched and photographed the construction of that building during the dwell time of my morning commute during 2009-2010(?).

Location: One block east of Justice Center
Size: One city block, ~200' base, 52° slope
Built: Never.

In 2006, the MC Auditor published the need for 300,000 square feet of space as follows:

It's exciting to think how all those functions might fit into a pyramid.

Multnomah County Courthouse, 2014

Sorry -- Drawing is Funky! Wrong Slope, etc

Location: One block east of KOIN Tower
Size: One city block, ~200' base, 52° slope

A three story pedestal would provide space equivalent to current courthouse. The pyramid adds to that space.

The base of the pyramid and lower floors would be for ancillary support functions. The floors above would be for courtrooms. Lower court functions would be lower in the pyramid.

Function and use of space can be optimized... public access gradients, security, and all that. The question of course is, what would the Apex be used for? The Multnomah County Boardroom? The Juror Assembly Room? The Highest Court? A lunch Room / cafe?

Final Report

Beginning on page 78, this AUGUST 2014 report details the various space needs for a the courthouse:

Multnomah County, Oregon, Circuit Court New Central Courthouse Planning And Space Programming

Reference: Oregon Live article

For a similar but smaller pyramid, check out the Ulm Bibliothek (Stadtbibliothek).

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© 2014, John E. Miller