Pearl District

An Elegant Slice
Our involvement with Vera Katz Park started with a phone call from Alan Beard of GBD Architects, a firm that has been responsible for designing several signature buildings in Portland, Ore. The project at hand was the complex renovation and transformation of the city's National Guard Armory into a modern theater and the new home of the Portland Center Stage Theater Company.  After an energetic interview process, we were selected to design the site's landscape.   We were enthusiastic about the project from the start.  The sidewalk area we were designing is an integral part of the redevelopment of what's known as the Pearl District, a former industrial area now being revitalized with mixed-use buildings and high-rise developments.  At 200 feet long by 20 feet wide, the space presented an interesting design challenge in an area much in need of parks and public places. The city's goal is to establish pedestrian connections throughout the neighborhood while creating a sense of community within the district.  For our part, we saw the site, which was to be named in honor of former Portland mayor Vera Katz, a devoted supporter of the arts who had been instrumental in the repurposing of the Armory Building, as an opportunity to create a