Since Scott | Edwards Architecture was founded in 1998, the firm has grown a lot.
“I tracked the history of our firm and every office we’ve been,” principal Sid Scott told an assembled audience last week. “There have been 10 derivations of this office. It started 22 years ago in my basement in a 150-square-foot space, and 150 square feet might be generous.”
By now, the firm has 85 employees – so many that the headquarters at 2525 E. Burnside St. can’t comfortably accommodate them all. But that is about to change.
Scott spoke Friday during a ceremony celebrating the start of a project to update and expand the headquarters to hold slightly less than 17,000 square feet. Joseph Hughes Construction will serve as general contractor for the project, which will include a three-story addition.
The remodeled space will feature cross-laminated timber panels made by Canadian firm Structurlam as well as a photovoltaic-ready roof, a roof garden and a new outdoor patio area. The existing building, meanwhile, will gain improvements including a new entry vestibule, glazing, stucco, paint and more.
Joe Hughes’ firm first remodeled the existing building in 1998. It has since been renovated three more times.
“It is complicated, but it’s like exploratory surgery – we’ve got good shoring and good surveying to keep it safe,” Hughes said. “This roof structure will stay the same, so when we open this part up we’ll have new stairs and an open stairwell to the upper floors and then we’ll have plenty of natural light coming from above.”
Also, the existing structure will receive a seismic retrofit.
“It’s a total remake,” Hughes said.
Peter Grimm, a principal with Scott | Edwards Architecture, said it’s important to continue improving the Kerns neighborhood.
“Really, the biggest thing for us on what is driving this project is we’ve already been here for close to 15 years,” he said. “We want to invest and make this showcase for the neighborhood to say, ‘Look, we’re going to stay here.’ We’re part of the community and we’re tied in and we want to continue to be good stewards of our little piece of the block and be present while the neighborhood continues to evolve. That’s probably the thing we’re most excited about.”
Grimm noted that the firm could have built a larger addition, but chose not to. The team simply wanted to ensure stability for the long term.
“We’re not maxing out the site,” he said. “We didn’t have any desire to do that. No doubt there will be larger buildings that continue to pop up around us. I think a lot of design firms have chosen to locate on the inner eastside for the same reasons. There’s a lot of energy, but you can still have a good quality of life, if you will. It’s a little bit easier than being downtown, so we feel like it’s a good spot for us for the next generation of this company.”
No green building certification will be sought, but the office will serve as a living laboratory with sustainable features to show potential clients.
Title: Portland architecture firm expanding its headquarters
Author: Josh Kulla
Date: January 29, 2020