Lead Designer: Kevin Cavenaugh/Architect: Francis Dardis, 2007
From its fire-engine-red color, one
would never know how "green" the Burnside Rocket is: LEED Platinum, baby (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). This concrete building has other contrasts: it is obviously a modern structure, but it has old-fashioned operable windows and its old-school arcade-supported awning over the sidewalk fits in with the historic Burnside style.
Wondering about that clunky name? It's a food reference; arugula salad greens are sometimes called "rocket" because of their shape, and they are one of the key ingredients of the building's namesake restaurant. You've heard of "green roofs," but the Burnside Rocket's roof is both green and edible, as arugula and sage are grown on it.
* In 2006, GoVeg.com ranked Portland as America's Best Vegetarian-Friendly Large City.
From start to finish, this building has been an innovative original. The start: Construction began with the work on a ground-source heat pump. The idea was to circulate water through underground pipes beneath the building. The water would cool, and the building could "borrow" the temperature difference from it by running it in pipes throughout the building. But a ten-thousand-year-old aquifer was tapped 300 feet below the building; this supplies the building with its own pure water for all uses, heating and cooling included.
As to the finish: Sliding art panels decorating the face of the building also operate as shutters. Made of marine-grade plywood, they allow the Rocket to take advantage of its southern exposure. Hot? Close the shutters. Cool? Open them. That's technology for you.
Be sure to enter the open stairway on the east side of the building. This "Birdcage" serves as the common area/lobby for a building that's looking to maximize space on a lot that's 38 X 100 feet.
From here, take a walk west to form your own opinion of the Burnside Bridgehead Redevelopment (2010). Portland commissioned a "gateway development" (code for "an actual neighborhood") on a five-block area to the north of the Burnside Bridge's base. After an acrimonious competition, Opus Northwest got the job, and designed over half a million square feet of office, residential, retail, and "incubator work space."Less Text