Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design

Brad Cloepfil on PNCA’s new Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design.

A vision of the future of Portland’s original U.S. Post office at 511 NW Broadway is written in its magnificent bones: the numerous skylights, expansive windows, lofty ceilings, and open spaces. As President Tom Manley notes, “It’s as if the building always aspired to be a college of art and design.”

During the 2014–15 academic year, this historic building—identified as the geographic center of Portland by a U.S. Geological Survey marker—will re-emerge as PNCA’s Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design, a new hub for creativity and entrepreneurship.

Architectural rendering of the atrium in the new Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design. Courtesy of Allied Works Architecture.

PNCA is working with acclaimed architect Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works Architecture to transform the former post office into a conduit for a world-class curriculum of experimental, leading-edge work emerging from studio process, a commitment to craft, and the practice of design and fine art thinking. The design preserves key historical features while creating a new realm of public interface and arts education with beautiful spaces for art exhibitions, lectures, and events in addition to classrooms, production facilities, and an elegant library and object studies collection space.

Architectural rendering of the library in the new Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design. Courtesy of Allied Works Architecture.

PNCA’s Campus Master Plan recognizes that this 134,000 square foot building will provide elegant functionality in design and capacity enabling the College to shed expensive leased spaces and to continue the growth of our student body from 600 to 1,000 by 2018, joining Museum of Contemporary Craft and the future ArtHouse residence hall on the North Park Blocks.

The open and interconnected spaces in the core of PNCA’s Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design will create an environment that fosters cross-disciplinary collaboration. The building is designed to grow and change to meet the emerging needs of one of the country’s most dynamic, fast-growing, and forward-thinking colleges of art and design.

The building’s dramatic historic creative corridor opens onto public galleries and a light-filled atrium and performance court in the heart of the building. Just off the atrium, the new Mediatheque is a 200-seat black box theater that supports College programs as well as welcoming the public to artist talks, performances, and exhibitions. The Solheim Library is filled with light and houses a reading room, writing center, study rooms, and carrels. BridgeLab, within the Dorothy Lemelson Innovation Studio, provides a space for the exploration of objects, ideas, and practices that inspire creativity, foster innovation, and assist students in their transition to professional practice. The Hallie Ford Tower holds dozens of studios, classrooms, labs, offices, and a center for student services. And finally the 5,000 square foot new Commons is lit by a spectacular system of sawtooth skylights original to the building.

PNCA has retained a project team with extensive experience that includes Gerding Edlen as project manager, Allied Works Architecture, and Howard S. Wright as general contractor.

Creativity Works Here

PNCA is now embarking on our boldest venture yet: a $15 million campaign to transform not just a college, but a city, by establishing the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design as an anchor for the College’s vision of a new campus home on Portland’s North Park Blocks, thanks to a lead gift from The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation of $5 million to name the historic former post office at 511 NW Broadway.


 

    

Architectural renderings of PNCA’s new classrooms, state-of-the-art blackbox theater, commons, and object studies library in the new Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design. Courtesy of Allied Works Architecture.

 

Brad Cloepfil on PNCA’s new Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design.

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