All images © Snøhetta
Set to open in 2018, a new flagship public market has been unveiled for the city of Portland, Oregon. Designed by Snøhetta, the scheme is named after James Beard, a famous chef, writer and Portland native who helped start the movement for fresh local food in the United States. After the city’s original market closed its doors in 1942, a non-profit venue was established to restore a daily, year-round, indoor-outdoor location at the heart of the city.
The James Beard Public Market commissioned Snøhetta, in collaboration with local partners, Mayer/reed, SERA architects, Studio Jeffreys and Interface Engineering to transform a neglected and underutilized site in downtown Portland into a bustling center of community and commerce. Connecting the city to the river, the hub will provide for both residents and visitors, featuring more than 60 permanent vendors, 30 day tables, full-service restaurants, a teaching kitchen and event space.
Located on the Willamette River, the site straddles a distinctive drawbridge and sits adjacent to a waterfront park. Currently, the Morrison Street Bridge and automobile ramps divide the site into two symmetrical halves, consequently barring pedestrian access from three sides. The scheme will introduce a pedestrian through-road along the western edge of the market in order to increase the overall buildable site area, while ensuring that the site remains accessible and safe for pedestrians from all four access points.
The building will rise up in a wing-like form that acts as a gateway to downtown Portland and creates a point of reference at the center of the city. Large doors open up along the entire façade to a widened sidewalk, allowing guest seating to spill out during good weather. Individual stalls are arranged along a pathway that connects the main entrances to the outdoor market and pedestrian street.
Internally, soaring ceilings clad in natural wood are supported by exposed structural steel columns and trusses, reminiscent of the neighboring bridges. A generous pedestrian street runs north and south, swelling at the sunniest portion of the site to create an outdoor room for vendor stalls, seating, and green areas for native vegetation.
On top of the structure, an inhabitable green roof splits and folds, forming large clerestories which naturally illuminate the volume below. From this upper level, visitors can access the large rooftop terraces with views of the Waterfront Park, Willamette River, and Mt. hood in the distance. A hydroponic garden is located on a sunny, terraced portion of the green roof, adjacent to the demonstration kitchen and event space.