Architect: Richard Sundeleaf, 1930
This is the only building in the Pacific Northwest where
swimwear and terra-cotta collide. The Jantzen Organization (originally known as the Portland Knitting Company) got its beginnings by designing swim trunks for the Portland Rowing Club in 1913. By the 1920s, Americans were taking a greater interest in recreational bathing, and Jantzen became the world's leading manufacturer of swimwear.
* The first swimsuit made for the Portland Rowing Club by Jantzen was nearly eight pounds when soaking wet. "Man overboard! Er, never mind."
During a frenzy of corporate expansion, Jantzen hired Portland native Richard Sundeleaf to design the firm's factories, warehouses, and administration offices in Portland, Australia, and England. The Jantzen Building is an example of what an open-minded architect working in conjunction with an architectural sculptor (Gabriel Lavare) can accomplish in making a company's corporate image delightfully concrete.
* Richard Sundeleaf (1900-1987) worked for local giant A. E. Doyle's architectural firm from 1923 to 1925, whereupon Doyle made this suggestion: "Give up architecture." Thankfully, Sundeleaf didn't, and went on to create a firm with more than two thousand commissions.
The brick building is trimmed in terra-cotta decorated with the Jantzen's trademark "Diving Girl" arched across medallions and interspersed with seashells and briny creatures of the deep. The design of the brickwork, particularly at the front entrance, is stunning. The terra-cotta details are exotic, but tastefully rendered, and the net result is a building that manages to be both stalwart and whimsical at the same time. It is a unique building, well worth a look.
While you're here, note the attractive Jantzen Inc. building behind this, between Glisan and Irving; it was designed as four different units behind one uniformly decorated wall. And just a few blocks east on Sandy is the obscured Battery King Station (1940, 2311 NE Sandy Boulevard, Associated Oil Co.). This charming Art Deco gas station with its pottery-style tower is now a drop-off spot for donations.Less Text