Snøhetta has released new renderings for the firm’s ambitious reimagining of the Willamette Falls near Portland, Oregon. The project aims to restore public access to the waterfalls by stringing a long, sinuous path through the formerly industrial site. (The Architect's Newspaper first covered the development when it was unveiled in 2015.) The Willamette Falls is the second-largest waterfall by volume in the United States and has been cut off from nearby downtown Oregon City for over a century. The falls are currently flanked by a collection of decrepit industrial buildings and a hydroelectric dam; some of those industrial buildings will be removed and replaced with native riparian landscapes while others will be redeveloped to accommodate new uses. The new renderings for the project depict a simply-articulated path connecting the various elements along the long, narrow, and linear site leading up to the falls. The proposed pathway—which has been designed to accommodate cyclical and historic flood levels and is seismically resilient—starts at the northern end of the site, where several old industrial buildings will be cleared away and a flour mill from the 1890s will be restored. The path here will connect to an old fuel dock that is being repurposed as a public vantage point and dock. After wrapping around the mill, the path transforms into a wide boardwalk overlooking the river that spills out onto a large public plaza framed by historic and new structures. A portion of the plaza wraps over the boardwalk to create a vantage point over the river. At the eastern end of the plaza, the elevated path picks back up, crossing over a creek in order to reach the a complex made up of more restored mill structures. Here, the mill structures—including antique boilers and other original machinery—will be preserved and opened for public use. The path splinters at the mill complex in order to provide elevated vangates and access to public terraces and groves of coniferous trees. The path ends at a broad promenade at the falls, where visitors can peer out over the dynamic landscape. Here, visitors can observe 360-degree views of the waterfalls and experience the cliffsides from pathways engineered to be supported by existing structures. The Willamette Falls proposal is scheduled to be unveiled June 3 at a public ceremony, and construction is expected to begin June 2018.
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It seems that almost every major West Coast city has a public market. Seattle has Pike Place Market (construction is underway on an upcoming expansion now set to open in 2016), San Francisco has the Ferry Building Marketplace, Los Angeles has Grand Central Market, and Vancouver has Granville Island. And San Diego may get a public market in Point Loma this summer. But the city of Portland—the small but mighty West coast food hub chock full of inventive restaurants, abundant farmers’ markets, and food trucks—has gone without a public market since the Portland Public Market closed in 1942. Until now. Portland's new food hall is set to be called the James Beard Public Market after the famous Portland-born chef and writer, whose name is also lent to the eponymous annual awards that are like the AIA awards or Oscars for food. Snøhetta is leading the design and working with SERA Architects, Mayer/Reed, Studio Jeffreys, and Interface Engineering. The conceptual designs publicly released last week depict a pair of two-story market halls totaling 80,000 square feet. The two wings would fill two almost oval-shaped downtown parking lots currently hugging the western end of the Morrison Bridge. Pedestrian safety will be critical at a site that abuts a major Portland artery carrying about 50,000 vehicles a day. “Currently, the Morrison Street Bridge and automobile ramps slice the site into two symmetrical halves, barring pedestrian access from three sides,” said Snøhetta in a statement. "Two broad moves are proposed—realigning the Morrison Bridge ramps and introducing a pedestrian through-road along the western edge of the market in order to increase the overall build able site area, and make the new Market accessible and safe for pedestrians from all four sides.” The designers filled the renderings with lots of natural wood, exposed steel, ample seating, and glazing. There are outdoor and indoor spaces with areas for over 100 market stalls, special events, restaurants, and even a teaching kitchen. There are also plans for a green rooftop terrace overlooking the Willamette River so market visitors can get glimpses of Mount Hood on a clear day. While Portland rarely has to contend with snow, a covered public market will allow venders and other merchants to sell their produce and wares out of the rain year-round. The project is currently in the community outreach phase. Construction is slated to start in the fall of 2016 and the market is expected to open in the spring of 2018. While the local nonprofit organization that will operate the market, the Historic Portland Public Market Foundation, has not yet revealed the cost, the project is expected to draw on a mix of public and private funding.