Portland Art Museum Expansion Enhances Accessibility and Connection to City

By Hennebery Eddy

Sketch of one conceptual option for the Rothko Pavilion.
Sketch of one conceptual option for the Rothko Pavilion

Portland firm Hennebery Eddy Architects draws on local urban design, regulatory and historic preservation experience, collaborates with Chicago-based Vinci Hamp Architects for design of Rothko Pavilion


The Portland Art Museum and its acclaimed collections will become more accessible to both visitors and passersby through the design of its new Rothko Pavilion. The pavilion, an addition announced in 2016, will connect the Museum’s existing Main and Mark buildings and add 30,000 square feet of community and exhibition space. The updated expansion design concept incorporates the existing Madison Street passageway between 10th and Park Avenues into a sheltered, public passageway with views into the community commons and Museum gallery spaces. Portland architecture firm Hennebery Eddy Architects is collaborating with Chicago-based Vinci Hamp Architects on the design; their work evolves the original 2015 concept to advance the museum’s goals of new and enhanced art, program and public space, and increased accessibility within and through the museum, as well as support Portland’s urban landscape.

“This expansion is an exciting opportunity to add and improve spaces for art and education as well as increase access to the renowned cultural treasures and programs of the Portland Art Museum,” said Brian Ferriso, The Marilyn H. and Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr. Director and Chief Curator of the Museum.

“As we begin the next phase of our planning for the Rothko Pavilion and campus expansion and renovations, we are thrilled to add Hennebery Architects, a celebrated firm with relevant, local experience navigating the intricacies of Portland urban design and regulatory processes, to our design team. Architect Pietro Belluschi designed the Portland Art Museum’s original buildings in 1932, 1939 and 1970. Hennebery Eddy is an ideal partner on this project due in large part to their deep knowledge of Belluschi’s work, demonstrated by their skillful renovation and expansion of Portland’s Federal Reserve building, also designed by Belluschi, and current work on the Belluschi Architectural Resource Center at the Oregon Historical Society. The firm is also highly skilled at sensitively integrating universal access into culturally significant historic buildings. We look forward to working with Hennebery Eddy and Vinci Hamp to finalize a design on this landmark project that will serve our community for generations.”

The design concept for the Museum expansion articulates a connections-driven campus with the new Rothko Pavilion at its center. The Pavilion will incorporate a community commons with a central museum entrance, a roof terrace, a sculpture garden, the Crumpacker Center for New Art, and an education and design lab. Additional elevators and enhanced above-grade connections between the Main and Mark Buildings further the physical and intellectual connections between the Museum’s collections and programs. An open-air passageway at Madison Street will go through the new pavilion, supporting the Museum’s vision of providing a welcoming and beautiful space to experience art for everyone who passes.

In addition to urban design and historic preservation expertise, Hennebery Eddy also works on academic, cultural and civic projects, and is the architect for the Terminal Balancing and Concourse E Extension at Portland International Airport, now under construction.

Vinci Hamp’s previous work includes projects for the Art Institute of Chicago, the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum and the Neue Galerie in New York, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and the Oriental Institute, Smart Museum of Art, and The Arts Club in Chicago, among others.

Hennebery Eddy and the Portland Art Museum are working with owner’s representative Urban Resources, Inc.; mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering firm Interface Engineering; civil and structural engineering firm KPFF; and Portland landscape architecture firm Walker Macy, teamed with Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture from San Francisco. The museum has selected Mortenson Construction as its construction manager/general contractor.