It’s not everyday that I get to photograph views from the balcony of one of Portland’s most beautifully architected buildings. 937 Glisan Street Condos, the 16-story LEED Platinum Certified highrise between 9th and 10th is more than the apple of my eye on a morning walk to Pearl Bakery. In fact, is, it has been lauded by Portland’s architectural and design God, Brian Libby, as “…one of the best highrise condo designs of its era”[Click for full article]. Whether it’s the fractal design of its cream brick exterior punctuated by sizable windows and vertical stacks of translucent red balconies, or its pioneering eye for residential sustainability, there are many elements of praise to throw at this 2008 design venture.
Until recent years, Portland was a town of largely low and mid-rises. But burgeoning interest in our bushy beards, free range Thanksgiving turkeys, and poly dating scene has shifted that considerably. Due to the explosion of new construction, it’s increasingly rare to witness uninterrupted views.
This particular condo, a 10th floor one-bedroom facing north onto Hoyt Street and beyond, treats balcony-going visitors to a veritable tour of Portland, all while sipping a red on the cleanly presented patio. It boasts 180-degree views showcasing Portland icons.
This western facing image captures the evening outline of the forested hills of Northwest Portland, where we flock to walk our furry friends, have a picnic, or just a good ‘ole convening-with-nature hike. In the lower elevations are the historic brick townhomes from the early 1900s on NW 11th Avenue.
From these townhouses up to the half-moon arc of the famous St John’s bridge, this northerly view is by far the best for people watching, with its sea of lit home interiors.
Perhaps a more “in” image of the Portland nightscape, here we see a touch of the central branch of the United States Postal Service here in town, whose not insignificant patch of land—14 acres!—will eventually be part of a significant revitalization effort. The string of Christmas lights is the Broadway Bridge, probably carrying one of a number of fans to a Trailblazers basketball game at the Moda Center. And then of course, there’s the pyramidal tower with a flag and memorable “Go By Train” sign marking Portland’s Union Station. An Amtrak train departing below can get you to Seattle in three and a half hours for $35.
Perhaps it’s true of all cities, but to me, the nighttime views in Portland seed a rather unexpected romance, one that might otherwise be lost in our love of functional footwear and natural deodorants. We may not be a city of outstanding architecture or centuries-old history, but this shoot was a welcome reminder of the eclectic distinction that draws newcomers while anchoring residents.