Originally built in 1889, the Overland Warehouse is located in the heart of Portland’s Chinatown. This 40,000 sf building has seen life previously as temporary immigrant housing, a neighborhood market, and a nightclub. We restored its historic beauty while adding modern features to today’s creative office tenants. Major seismic upgrades allowed us to open up the floor plan, adding skylights and atrium cutouts that bring daylight into the spaces below. Exposed structural steel, wood beams and trusses create a NW industrial feel that speaks to the building’s history. Residing in a neighborhood on the cusp of revitalization, these tenants are establishing themselves in a beautiful and vibrant space for years to come.
We began by unearthing the bones of the building. Exploring the space from roof to basement, we discovered huge trusses and knew we would be tearing out the ceiling to reveal this amazing structure. By showcasing that structure with a shaft of light, it became part of our daylighting strategy. The ends of the old-growth, heavy timber trusses were rotting from years under a leaky roof. Some were twisted, some were damaged more extensively than others, and the loads on each truss differed. Custom metal gusset plates were designed and implemented throughout. Looking across the airy expanse now, the metal detail and the trusses all read the same, creating a unified design element serving a vital support function. But up close, inspection shows that each metal piece was designed to accommodate the different twist, turn, distance, damage and load of each truss. Overland Warehouse’s gorgeous third floor is a marvel of engineering, beautiful strength that floats.