a.k.a. Western Forestry Center
Discovery Museum (a.k.a. Main Exhibit Hall)/Cheatham Hall (a.k.a.
Architect: John Storrs, 1971
For many years, the world's largest log building was Portland's Forestry Building. Designed for Portland's Lewis and Clark Expo in 1905, it burned down in 1964, and a new facility was needed to house Portland's lumber treasures. Two buildings were designed to highlight the roles wood can play in construction, so let's talk lumber.
The Cascadian-style Discovery Museum is the Center's most dramatic building. It highlights the use and properties of woods like white fir, teak, Douglas fir, western red cedar, ponderosa pine, sugar pine, western hemlock, pecan, and everybody's favorite, damar min yak (a tropical species.) A 2005 interior renovation of the museum began with the replacement of the 70-foot, multi-lingual Talking Tree with a more realistic exhibit. Trees now stretch dramatically upwards to the skylight, but look out for the artificial poison oak. (Don't touch it, or you'll have an artificial rash.)
* John Storrs (1920-2003) studied architecture at Yale. Inspired by a lecture by Pietro Belluschi, Storrs moved to Oregon, where he became known for his mastery of the Northwest Regional style. Storrs' other local buildings include the Catlin Gabel School, the Portland Garden Club, and the Oregon College of Art & Craft. Despite his success, he grew frustrated with architecture and became an accomplished chef later in life.
Cheatham Hall is a mushroom-roofed, octagonal building that is notable for its extremely thick shingles. To the east, Merlo Hall (1989) is a daring departure from the Center's earlier buildings. Architects John Storrs and William Church collaborated on its Japanese-style entrance. The wing-shaped roof is made of a translucent substance called "Kalwall," composed of two layers of white fiberglass sheets with a bit of insulation in between. Merlo Hall's interior paneling is imbuia (a yellow-olive streaked Brazilian wood), alerce (a Chilean wood), mahogany, and chanul (a chocolate brown Ecuadorian wood with interesting grain patterns).Less Text