63,000-square-foot warehouse has served as a "scene shop" for the Portland Repertory Theater, and as a storage space for both lumber and Westinghouse appliances. It was rebuilt after a fire in 1951, and nearly fifty years later, PNCA commissioned Holst Architecture to remodel the interior.
Working with the structure's simple form (concrete walls, timber posts), the new design was oriented around a central commons area, with various galleries and departmental offices opening off it. The punctuation of the open space with stairways and walls brings the industrial space together with flair, and it was all done on a smallish budget that would have made even a starving artist's eyes widen.
* The seemingly random rectangles of color painted on this building's exterior are actually poetry. Architect Randy Higgin designed it as a coded translation of the alphabet. When you put all the rectangles together, you have Arthur Rimbaud's 19th-century poem, "Departure."