Portland chooses Gerding Edlen for $80 million living building

A proposed living building in Portland is moving along. This week, the Portland Development Commission announced its plans to award the project’s feasibility study to Gerding Edlen Development.

A living building is a building that meets the Living Building Challenge. The challenge goes beyond LEED platinum. A living building is self-sustaining, and aims to produce and reuse all its resources like energy and water. Since the concept was introduced by Jason McLennan of the Cascadia Green Building Council in December 2006, a number of projects have taken the challenge on. Most of them are on the smaller side, or are residences.

What makes the Portland project unique is its size. The building would be around 220,000-square-feet.

The project, called the Sustainability Center of Excellence, is on a super fast track. It received proposals two weeks ago and held a public meeting last week. Yesterday, the PDC announced it intends to award the project to Gerding Edlen, along with SERA Architects and GBD Architects. The three main partners in the project are the PDC, the Oregon University System and the Living Building Initiative, a consortium of organizations focused on sustainability.

Gerding Edlen and its team will investigate whether the project is feasible. If it is, it will have the option to move ahead with project development.

The goal of the building will be to attract other sustainably-minded businesses to Portland and to Oregon. Do you think this is a good way to attract business? Should Seattle be following in Portland’s footsteps, or are we too different to compare?

Locally, the Phinney Neighborhood Association hopes to turn the Phinney Neighborhood Center (everyone’s favorite giant blue building) into a living building. The Bullitt Foundation has also purchased a property and is just in the beginning stages of considering whether to do a living building or not. Am I missing any local living building projects? If so let me know.

For more information or some interesting local opinions on this project, visit Portland Architecture here, the Burnside Blog here, or read this article in the Portland Tribune. Enjoy!