West Burnside Street has long been a barrier between Portland’s downtown core and the Pearl District. Because it caters more to the automobile than the pedestrian, redevelopment on the street has had to focus north from the Brewery Blocks rather than in a typical radial fashion.
The Weave Building aims to surmount this impediment by stitching together the West End neighborhood south of Burnside with the Pearl District to the north. A proposed mixed-use, 9 story building consists of retail and office space that strives to connect tenants to each other, to their neighborhood, and to the city at large. The project site poses many obstacles to infill development including a small footprint (5,000 square feet), a national historic registry property to the west, a major traffic artery to the north, and the implausibility of parking on-site. The building design uses architectural innovation to meet these challenges by playfully reinterpreting the property line. This approach to form offers more sidewalk and landscaping to the pedestrian while adding space to the tight floor plates above. Such a trade-off benefits both private and public interests, resulting in a landmark design that creates a home for tenants, a connection between districts, and an identity for the site.