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'Structurally unsound' Po-Mo heavyweight faces $95m overhaul

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Michael Graves’ Postmodern monolith, The Portland Building in Oregon is structurally unsound and in dire need of a $95million overhaul, according to reports from the US

The much-maligned 15-story office block completed in 1983 and is currently the city’s administrative HQ. City officials are reported to be concerned about how the block-shaped, biscuit tin-like building will perform in an earthquake.

The building has been plagued by problems since it opened, with staff complaining about sloping floors, poor light and mean windows but now local newspaper The Oregonian has also reported that it was suffering from water ingress, leading to a number of the floors sagging.  

According to the paper city mandarins have considered demolishing the 34,000m² structure and building a new office but the price tag has been put at between $100million and £400million, making an overhaul a more attractive option.

The original design by Graves, who went on to become Disney’s go-to architect, was ‘value engineered’ and features classical pavilions on the roof, flamboyant statues and ‘ribbons’ on the façade were ditched.

Nevertheless, architecture critic Jonathan Glancey said the much-published building still managed to sum up the Postmodern ethos: ‘… a rejection of humane, rational values in favour of a few laughs.’

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