a.k.a. Standard Plaza
Architect: Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill (SOM), 1963
This Standard Insurance
Building heralded in an age of SOM-designed structures that began sprouting in Portland in the 1960s. With the Standard, an attempt was made to integrate an open plaza design with the building in order to make the skyscraper itself less forbidding. This was a great idea. In contrast to the similar seventeen-story Standard Building, the Standard Plaza sports curves, water features, a bridge, and a ceremonial entrance.
* There is a hexagonal, black weather-forecasting beacon on top of this building. Green lights indicate the weather is holding steady, white signifies a cooling trend, and red is a warming pattern. If you see it blinking it's going to rain or already is raining.
Randy Gragg of The Oregonian thought highly enough of the Standard Insurance Building's melding of art and structure, and its efficient and civic-minded construction, to rank it as a perfect "10," one of Portland's only buildings worthy of being called "great." The Standard was ahead of its time in a couple of areas. The reinforced-concrete core gave the Standard Plaza a fireproof interior stairwell, eradicating the need for exterior fire escapes and heralding in an age of modern buildings with unblemished skins. The second innovation was to put the parking garage below the street level.
German-born Leo Samuel (1847-1916) came to the U.S. only to be deserted by his uncle at the age of thirteen. He had one dollar. He went on to found what became the Standard Insurance Company in 1906.Less Text